Emperors of the ice-cream

Our main-streamers usually talk big, walk big, promise moon and make us believe that they will steer us out of all agonies, pains, problems and troubles. But when it comes to proving we find them in no reckoning.
Emperors of the ice-cream
Representational Pic

Charles Dickens called the British Parliament the " The Great Dust Heap " down at Westminster and its members " The National Dustmen ". When we think  about the cringing appeals of our divided main- streamers for restraining the armed might of the State and their fawning petitions to their masters evoking no response, who instead   maintain a stony silence, how do we label them ?

Our main-streamers usually  talk big, walk big, promise moon and make us believe that they will steer us out of all agonies, pains, problems and troubles. But when it comes to proving we find them in no reckoning.

In the recent past we found ourselves triply jinxed by them as the harbingers of miseries and misfortunes. We voted for them in 2002 only to find ourselves caught in 2008 jinx, voted again in 2008 only to be trapped in 2010 double jinx and subsequently in 2014 to be mired in 2016 triple jinx. During all these troubled times we found our main-streamers helpless and begging for relief from their masters but every time they drew a blank. Their masters have always  rejected their impassioned pleas about restraining the mighty arms of the State growing more lethal with every passing day. The question is why should anyone care about their occasional shouts as they have all along been willing partners in the sordid drama of humiliating them and  their  electors. There is a law of nature that like begets like. Those who are insincere to their own people have only a use value and will always find insincere masters. Our skin  has grown so tough that no humiliation permeates it. With their moral apparatus in deep freeze they are  unmindful of their battered image and credibility in the eyes of even their ardent supporters.

Omar Abdullah has been crying hoarse, with exemplary eloquence  and  in  Kings' English to boot, that Kashmir is a political dispute. Who listens? His suave daddy, enjoying a support of more than fifty legislators passed a resolution. Who cared  ?  In 2002 a new political formation rose on the political horizon headed by the  most shrewd  politician having spent a lifetime in Indian Congress. With a carefully crafted slew of slogans like self- rule, double currency, peace with dignity, healing-touch etc. he successfully carpet -bombed the electoral landscape extending a helping hand to those in the " off-stream" as well. Though initially he created some positive vibes but soon the facade and the associated political sophistry started wearing out and we landed in 2008 land-row. We were again charmed by Sadak, Paani and Bijli. Bijili continued to fill the coffers of  NHPC, Paani inundated us in 2014 floods and the Sadak led us to 2010 killing fields. In 2014 we  rediscovered the grand party of 2002. Thus nothing changed from 1996 to 2014. What did change, though, was "haram" (illegitimate)  became "halal"( legitimate).

Politics is a strange realm where no premium is put on "halal" and "haram". It is said that a grand Mufti was once asked if kites meat is halal or haram.He unhesitatingly declared  it haram. When it was pointed out that it was his son who was spotted taking kite meat he changed the gear saying that he shall have to check his notes adding that under dire circumstances haram becomes halal.This is what precisely happened after 2014 elections. During Vajpayee era when NC entered into an alliance with the BJP the PDP leadership declared it haram and successfully exploited it in 2002 elections. To the utter surprise of all and sundry in 2014 the PDP alliance with the same party became halal without any kind of compunction and all kinds of reasons were invented to justify its need.

So far so good but what followed was so poignant, so intriguing and insulting and so

fast- tracked that even the ardent, but discerning, supporters of PDP felt annoyed and short-changed. Unmindful of what was in their election manifesto, objects like separate colonies for  Pundits, new Industrial Policy, Sainik colonies etc. were pursued with unholy haste. There is a threshold even for heaping insults and once the insults gather a "critical mass" only a spark is needed for an eminent implosion and that is what has precisely happened.

The most disturbing aspect of this 2016 implosion is the lethal use of bullets and pellets with pellets outdoing bullets. Bullets kill us once for all but pellets leave us less alive and more dead. The greatest gift of life is sense of sight. For a person, not a born-blind and having seen life in all its colors, losing sight means more than death. For a person, not a born- handicapped and having used his limbs throughout, losing them is more agonizing than death.

"The Emperor of the Ice-cream" is the title of a poem by Wallace Stevens. The phrase comprising five words defies all attempts to understand it in its first reading. The connection of an emperor, an all powerful entity, with an ice-cream, more suitable for boy,is quite baffling. On  closer scrutiny, however, it seems that there is a little boy playing king of the mountain and the mountain is nothing but the ice-cream that is melting as time elapses. Through this phrase the poet thus mocks at man getting him down the lofty perch for a reality check to make him understand his real worth. Thus the question of labeling stands addressed.

We are waiting for the day when the toughened moral fiber of our divided emperors wilts under  the weight of their acts of omission and commission, when their lust for power is satiated but power like saline water increases the thirst rather than quenching it.

Long live our emperors of  the ice-cream and long live their stony masters, after all a people get what  they deserve.

"Zindagi hai yahan marg-i-dawami key liyay"     (Hafeez Jalandari)
(The writer is a former College Teacher)

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