Much ado about nothing

Arshad Malik
Yesterday evening, I went shopping only to find myself burdened with the goods I had purchased as the shopkeepers would not give me bags to carry. I stuffed some in my laptop bag, some in my armpits, carried some in my hands and stuffed the newspapers I had purchased in my mouth. I was limping around in discomfort, trying to maintain balance, as sweat dripping down my spine emulsified with talcum powder. The best I could manage to do was wave at an auto rickshaw which screeched to halt. The rickshaw driver was very kind to me – a man in distress. I breathed easy as I boarded the rickshaw throwing my worries to the winds.
The reason for my distress was the polythene ban drive enunciated, promulgated and thereof implemented by the concerned government departments and functionaries in Srinagar. I find it to mention that I would be the last person who would like to carry on with polythene. I believe in preservation of ecosystems and do whatever little is within my personal and immediate control to preserve and conserve.  And even though I am very happy with this “ban polythene drive”, the “time of the tide” caught me on the wrong foot. I would be happy to change to some eco-friendly carry bags, but the future of this drive, based on my earlier experiences with such drives worries me sick to the stomach. All such drives, aimed at conserving and preserving the ecosystems put into effect here turned out to be ephemeral and transient.
We saw the drive to salvage the Dal Lake. But eventually all that fell out of the closet were dusty skeletons and the process is going on and on. Scams led to larger scams at the hands of the concerned authorities and eventually the Dal Lake was left high and dry. We heard about the aforestation drives which were outwitted by those involved in plundering the green wealth of Kashmir. The plunderers were aided and assisted by those who were getting paid for the protection of the same. There was a drive to cut electricity thefts and meters were installed against the opposition of the population here, but it never actually helped the cause of “poor” electricity. And again those who were supposed to safe guard the regulations were found aiding the loot. Recently a ban was imposed on cigarette smoking in public places. There was great hue and cry and people were caught smoking, but again in the city center Lal Chowk and penalties were levied against them, but only for some time. Talking of matters other than those concerning our ecosystems and their preservation, it has been observed that while the general public suffers largely due to the overcrowding or overloading of buses, the authorities affected measures every now and then to control this menace but to no avail. Till date no regulation in the interest of the public vis-?-vis the public transport system has worked and, ahem, yet again the authorities were found violating the principles they had outlined for the common people.
There are numerous other such examples where seemingly the public was being befooled. Now the matter of concern is that once you have acted out on a certain subject and have utterly failed due to your own shortcomings there is little scope left for you to effect the same thing and hope to achieve results. It simply kills the beauty of it, the very mystery that drives it.
The polythene ban for me is very irritating under the shadow of the knowledge of the fact that all “drives” in Kashmir never last long enough to actually change the public mindset. I hope I am wrong.

About Author

A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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