Mainstream, VOL LIV No 18, New Delhi, April 23, 2016
Why did Mehbooba decide to go with the Fascist Forces?
Monday 25 April 2016, by
I don’t believe in symbolic one-liners along the strain that a woman Chief Minister can do wonders for the women and men and children of the State. Women Chief Ministers in States other than J&K haven’t fared too well; not reached out to any particular segment… I’m of the opinion that you could have a ruler from any community or segment or class but he or she ought to be absolutely unbiased and straightforward.
Like many others I feel saddened that Mehbooba Mufti decided to go along with the fascist forces. There is a sense of worry and apprehension in the Valley. To quote some of my young Kashmiri friends, ‘She has once again opened the doors for the BJP to enter the State. And this in itself will have far-reaching consequences.’
Last year when the late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed had decided to go ahead with the BJP-RSS, there was unease-cum-anger-cum-disgust in the Valley. This time there is not just all of that but also a feeling of utter hopelessness. Do not overlook basic backgrounders—in the last several months there’s been no trace of visible development in the Valley or any noticeable gesture that could make the Kashmiri feel that the alliance had carried forth positivity. Coupled with this, the fact that there have been sur-charged communal attacks on the minorities in the country, with the BJP-RSS brigades in the forefront. Also, apparent it is that the RSS agendas are in full swing. More than subtle relays of the very shrinkage of the democratic space, of that freedom to talk and walk about freely. The ongoing hounding of academics and student leaders. Intrusions and interferences in the running of the educational institutions, universities and colleges. In fact, there are murmurs of the latest victim of these strategies is the NIT, Srinagar…
Yet, with these backgrounders in the back-drop or foreground, Mehbooba Mufti decided to go ahead with the BJP-RSS. Why?
WHY do we jump at the word ‘azaadi’! It’s the most potent of words, relaying so very much, offloading an abundance of emotions. Azaadi can be from just about anyone or everyone; be it from an oppressive government or an incom-patible mate or even an erring meter reader! In fact, last evening whilst commuting by the Metro I was drawn to a three-liner advertise-ment displayed along the interiors of the coach. Put up by Kejriwal’s Dilli sarkar, it went to say: ‘ghalat billon se azaadi/meter reader se azaadi/apne paani kai bill ab aap khud banao’ (azaadi from faulty bills, azaadi from meter readers, make your water bills yourself).
The very word azaadi has become fashion-able to such an extent that women are started cooing azaadi from mismatched marriages. Divorce is no longer the apt word. Azaadi is the apt word. Rightly so, for it hits the very crux. And ah, yes, it connects …spreading out, from North to South. Last week a Chennai-based friend called to say she is all set to get azaadi from her marriage and husband; soon to join the ever-expanding singletons club!
Today financially independent women are trying their level best to raise their voice… getting confident enough to say they want azaadi from their marriages and from their husbands! No, they are no longer hesitant in declaring their off-marriage status. In fact, whilst keying in, nostalgia hits—almost fifteen years back when I had decided to end my mismatched and with that incompatible marriage and opt for a divorce, there was the expected hue and cry… but I went ahead and ended the marriage. No, no regrets at all; in fact, my only regret is that I should have ended my marriage right in the beginning but I wasn’t saddled with the required confidence to cry out azaadi from a hopeless marriage. But today even middle-aged women are walking out of the harnessing powers of marriage, not giving a damn to the hackneyed social pulls and pressures, hues and cries.
But why harp on just incompatible husbands or marriages! More and more want azaadi from bad bosses, from office trappings, from the daily grind, from the polluting atmosphere, from bullying tactics, from the utter lies and deceit and bogus propaganda of this Modi Govern-ment. Azaadi from it!
And to drag this word—Azaadi—out of the closets, put it centre-stage, we got to thank JNU’s Kanhaiya Kumar and his comrades. Thank you, for making us chant azaadi along with an abundance of salaams! Red or the not-so-red matters little. Salaams are salaams, after all!