Trivia in Town: Clowns and Cheerleaders

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 Perhaps travesty was never so wild and widespread in the valley as it is in the ongoing poll season.

 By Mohsin Manzoor

SUCH is an obsession for what many call “the veiled glamour” that even a sightseer with a “change of heart” makes certain prints and webpages behave like Page-3 stuff these days.

After all, a tripper from Mumbai—along with her Mufti—whose namesake once wooed the ‘dream merchants’ for recreating the old romance in mountains—is in town, either showing up in some old city showroom, or taking a joyride on snowy slopes of Gulmarg where the frozen discontent feared to make winter chilling this plagued year.

Thanks to the growing tribe of dubious mike-wielders and Facebook pages, the honeymoon hangout is already a buzz in Kashmir’s virtual world.

Certain reincarnations are truly blessing in disguise. And the valley’s chronic and equally incorrigible bent for domino effect is only ensuring that charm to the sightseer and her skullcap spouse.

Latest entry of a singer and his appearance in a tea house has now become a new compelling content for social media and webpages.

The arrival is celebrated, albeit virtually, as if the wait for Godot has ended for some mountain-weary souls.

Not that entertainment isn’t any news, but one wonders at the shallow task-forcing probing someone’s private visit, and making it a festive event for the valley.

But then, such are some optimists, always arguing: Any departure from the distressing news is welcome. It gives people, they assert, some hope.

This mindset on the face of it is problematic. Not only it gives people a false hope, but also promotes mediocrity. No wonder that the tribe of false-hope peddlers, along with the twitter propagandists, is growing with smugness in Kashmir today.

But that is not all.

At a time when Budgam tribals are getting eviction notices and facing axes on their orchards, the mike-mockery of DDC partakers is hogging the limelight.

So, as news feeds have already become a scorn of everything Kashmir knew in its terrible past, the joke, it seems, is on the silent majority.

And yet, many tend to defend the indefensible by stating that the lockdown-battered Kashmiris needed homour and these ‘gung-ho’ contestants are only spreading some smiles.

But, it’s indeed laughable when some of these candidates can’t even deconstruct DDC, or can’t tell how they will bring the so-called change on ground. One confident contestant lately stated: “You just wait and watch, I will bring that change.” How? She won’t tell. Her tribe member has already placed a demand for big wagon and armed bodyguards, even before winning the ballot.

In this comedy of errors, some plain-talking voters are only stacking laughing stock, and becoming a telling comment on Kashmiris.

Imagine some of these naïve candidates ending up winning and holding charges of districts tomorrow! Are we really mindful what tribe is being let loose on us? How will these people tomorrow treat our educated unemployed youth in their chambers?

But perhaps, as long as jesters are on the job—entertaining us—much of this concern hardly seem to matter.

Over this ‘tamasha’, Kashmiris are breaking into fits of laughter. As most of us have become the living room cheerleaders, Kashmir’s farcical side is being promoted as the new difference-maker band.

This takes one back to the times when the Sheikh and Bakshi regime would promote their pawns—including street urchins, hotheads and musclemen—to create silence culture in the society.

Later, those men played an important part in Kashmir’s treacherous history. As reward postings, some of them were accommodated in police and administration. Others were given rights over commercial buildings and forest leases.

Subsequently, this politically patronized class became nouveau riche in the society and ended up inflicting a new lavish lifestyle, otherwise thought as rogue by Kashmir’s sane minds back then.

It’s the unchecked beginning of something which creates all the difference.

Interestingly, when we were buckling under these men of means, money and muscle, the young country like Bangladesh was rising above the war-abuses and throwing its weight behind Muhammad Yunus and his class.

Years later, in 2006, Yunus and Grameen Bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to “create economic and social development from below”.

While some of us are still wondering about our wrecked state and tastes gone poor culture, hardly anyone seems bothered about the course-correction.

Creating room for trivia, as currently is being witnessed, casts a long-term shadow on the society and its ideals.

And this is where, most of us remain oblivious.

It takes today’s preparation to bask in tomorrow’s glory.

While our skilled forefathers understood it and slogged during their lifetimes to leave golden hands as legacy for us, we’ve sadly ended up as smug captives of our make-believe world.

And therefore, it’s no wonder why we have become cheerleaders for clowns.

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