Vantage Valley: Of Billboard Daughters, PRC Passage, and BJP’s ‘Ragda’


In an otherwise dynamic news mill of the valley, not every event makes it to print or web. This is where the role of Kashmir Observer’s Vantage Valley section comes, where sidelined news find a creative lease of life.

By Fahad Amin

SOMEWHERE in Srinagar’s lifeless marketplace, a workless auto-driver has resorted to book reading in his largely halted three-wheeler these days.

If this is any sign of resilient life, then it’s equally springing from grassroots, where some specially-abled transporters are coming out with a vegetable handcart to counter the lockdown-induced destitution.

While a Karate girl of Sopore is trying to become a real life fighter by ‘taking drug mafia head on’, a family torn by the uncertain Srinagar-Jammu highway is fighting hardships to shoulder the crippled life in pandemic.

Amid distress, the promise of life comes from trippers’ expedition, and elevation outings. Bicycle riders, anglers and gamers are part of this adventurous crowd.

While all this appears a usual symbolism of life in the lockdown-laden valley, many events catch more eyeballs for their novel newsy nature.

Sheikh and Daughters

A random click by a roaming journalist in Srinagar has already brightened up the otherwise distrait cyberspace of Kashmir. The picture, for a change, shows daughters on the merchant’s glazing billboard in the heart of the city.

The shot was taken at Maisuma, the busy citadel of some reckoning traders of the valley, standing parallel to the city centre Lal Chowk.

What, for instance, used to be Farooq and Sons, has now become Javed Sheikh and Daughters for a welcome change.

As the photo made it online, it triggered a rousing reception, with everyone saluting the father for giving Kashmiri daughters’ their ‘long overdue’.

PRC Question

Raj Bhavan, it seems, means governance business, even as the Sino-India standoff has surpassed pandemic coverage for a change. It lately e-floated the domicile-procuring process after schooling Tehsildars, the certificate issuing-authority, in some workshops.

What’s amazing people is the “pressing resolve” for the matter at a time when successive lockdowns have badly dented the normal life in the erstwhile state.

As natives are now supposed to produce PRC or what many call the “dead document” called State Subject for becoming domiciles in their own homeland, many are exhorting the administration to consider the perished paper as an alternative for the new resident-ship criteria.

The demand is being raised to avoid pestering public queues for proving one’s identity as a Kashmiri.

Throwback 2010

What became a defiant huddle and street chant some decade back has now bounced back to life after finding some uncanny takers.

BJP’s foot-soldiers lately came out in loose numbers against the dragon’s storm-trooping of the cold desert.

But unlike their Bengali colleagues who ended up burning North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s effigy in a fit of rage, the Kashmiri right-wingers made no mistake while blazing effigies of Chinese premier Xi Jinping in many Kashmir towns.

With flames and kicks, came the frenzied fury, “Ragdo, Ragdo, China Ragdo!

Last time, it was Kashmir’s grand old party, National Conference chanting, “Ragda Ragda, BJP Ragda” in Srinagar’s trade heartland, Lal Chowk.

It was 2015, when NC’s rank and file led by Omar Abdullah came out to raise the familiar pitch he faced back in 2010. Omar’s controversial government heavily crushed the street huddle—recreating the 1857-circa lyrical demand.

With BJP now, the classic defiant anthem has only come of rage, if not age!

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