Treating leprosy with cold cream

House Boats and cultural assets marking a rich past.Ghulam Nabi Azad added a multicrore wonder on the foothills of Zabarwan which could as well go into the book of records. Not only for its claim to be the largest Tulip Garden of Asia, but also for the contrast it has provided with the pathos and misery of its vicinity. Its comparison with Holland is, of course, in place but so could other parts of the city deserve a fresh categorization: Afghanistan, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Waziristan?
If the former chief minister created such a wonder which he, in his inaugural speech compared with the nearby Mughal Gardens, how could his successors remain behind? They are busy creating their own icons. Fountains across the city are coming up.
I went to the downtown Srinagar after many months the other day. At the square near Khanyar police station a strange, though impressive construction is going on. It remained a puzzle for me till I inquired about the plan. Of, course, it is a fountain.
Ali Mohammad Sagar, now the only political face of Sher-i-Kashmir’s party in its bastion, Srinagar is out to be one up on Azad. Through the NC dominated Municipal Corporation headed by his son Salman, the six times Khanyar MLA is obviously trying to create an impact on a city that is administratively out of bounds for him. No one can grudge him his effort and neither can one resist the good fortune of this city of million plus. Finally, Srinagar seems to have got its Messiah who could, with his fountain therapy bring it back to life. The rural development minister could just turn out to be his better known namesake, Dr. Ali Jan, for the dying city if he was not trying to treat leprosy with Ponds cold cream.
Give Sagar his due for the latest initiative. But look around the upcoming fountain in the constituency represented by him for as long as one can remember. Brar-e-Nambal or Bab Demb on whose banks the new construction is coming up provides an abject contrast. Water for the fountain would not be coming from this once clean lake. For it is left with none. The roads around it are half dug up and the remaining half occupied by Kabadis and dogs. It could easily compare with any picture of devastation from Afghanistan or Somalia.
    One wonders how an idea of a fountain could receive approval of the senior Sagar after having known how the cynics of Srinagar received the first ever gift of fountains from Sher-i-Kashmir? He is political enough to anticipate how a devastated people would respond to it in the typical Srinagar style at their social gatherings, Jumma Fatehas, weddings and shops. But, like all politicians he must have fallen to the zidd of his political heir. And one doesn’t have to be a fortune teller to know the fate of new fountains even if they survive the next Ragda.
How one wishes the money spent on fountains was instead diverted to garbage collection and disposal. Or repairing the lanes and by lanes. Or, even tackling the dog menace.


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