As we begin a New Year, it is time for us to think where our loyalties lie. I say this because as a people, as a society, as a nation; we have become a bunch of confused men and women who place loyalties before duties, exploit our positions, and strengthen and normalize the process of abuse and exploitation of the common people by a powerful State.
Last week, I met a man. Of late, a realisation had dawned on this unnamed man that the right to determine the future of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, political that is, rested with the people of the state. Now this change of mind would have been quietly ignored had this man been an ordinary man. Our unnamed man is a man of high esteem with connections with top politicians and bureaucrats. As is with true revolutionaries who join the revolution late, he found the ideology of one-man-standing-against-the-state most appealing and started firing verbal salvos against the State. At one point of time, he publicly endorsed this one-man-standing which put his well-wishers and colleagues in an awkward and somewhat uncomfortable position, so much so that some of them started distancing themselves from our new revolutionary.
The State used many ploys to control a vehicle that had suddenly lost the brakes, but to no avail. They sent emissaries to put blockades in the path of a mad vehicle but the damned car just won’t stop. Even the head of the State asked the man to come up to his bastion for a meeting which our man rudely turned down. This annoyed the State. How dare he!
When the State’s polite tactics failed to rein him in, it put into motion the vicious and most trusted tool – the security apparatus! It turned out that the man’s daughter had applied for a passport to go to a foreign country for studies. The documents filed for obtaining passport were at the last stage of clearance till it was discovered that the girl’s father was a ‘revolutionary’ man and hence a threat to the State. The poor man was made to beg before a petty police officer to issue her a security clearance certificate which the State did, but not before it dictated its terms and conditions. Our unnamed man has now decided to forget his revolutionary inclinations and lead a ‘normal’ life. Last heard, he was at Taj Vivanta for a New Year with a group of people having a penchant for optimism.
Towards the end of the week, I met a journalist friend who was invited to cover Winter Games coincidentally held on New Year eve in Gulmarg. The event, it seems, was less of games in their true spirit and more of a get-together by the State’s bureaucracy and security apparatus left behind by the Durbar who get bored of the banality of life in winters and decide to meet in the lap of Gulmarg for New Year celebrations. Hotels and huts are booked in advance for our bored men and it is ensured that they get best of New Year. My friend felt particularly bad at the treatment meted out to ordinary policemen who were made to assist the children of our bored men and carry their belongings as the excited kids rafted and skied down the slopes of Gulmarg. My friend couldn’t stand the sight of it and left the place. The dispatch he filed that day didn’t even mention winter games!
Submission must not be our answer. Our politics should be defined by our defiance!