Naseer Ahmad Khan
‘Extremely bizarre and outrightly disparaging’, this is how I read the thrill of those who are hooked once again by the sumptuous words of a sugar-coated orator who reminds me of a chocolate cream soldier called Bluntschelli in a famous anti war, anti romantic play called Arms And The Man. Unfortunately failing in reading the method and motive behind the madness of the man who to me is like an antichrist to the beloved moment of Kashmir. A good number of young and meaningful men who uphold values and moral standards have failed to see the man in the context and are fascinated by the wonderful tunes of the new pied piper.
With all the backing and support of history, nonetheless, without taking due cognizance of the fact in the facts of Kashmir history, fraught in fraud, deception, treachery and shameful surrender. It gives thunderbolts to a head and heart to see that we as a nation have failed to grow and evolve in totality. That is why we have continuously suffered and failed in mitigating the tumour that is eating us as the fire does the wood. Despite the collective loss of a generation of young, energetic, Adonis like boys who harbour hope and ride on the faith that one day we will go through and break the barricades of the oppressor, India has time and again found someone to frustrate their cause.
This time in the figure of Dr Shah Faesal they have managed to crack the nut as the man under reference riding and exploiting a common weakness of hero worship, personality pull, family allegance and dynasty rule, despite, the fact that we understand and recognise them hand in glove with the oppressor,Dr Shah Faesal has a reason to project himself as a hero.
This might be a strong motivation behind a young man like shah Faesal to disrobe and discard the honourable cap of bureaucracy and believe in his ambition to escalate on the ladder of political power. With due respect to the man in question, who won the hearts of so many people in Kashmir by standing tallest in India’s most prestigious civil service examination. The encaged people extended heartfelt congratulations to commemorate and participate in his success. Ironically, people failed or at least did not mind the fact that as a bureaucrat Shah Faesal or any other bird of the same feather is nothing but the extension of the military limb of Indian occupation.
Analysed psychologically, his success then might had come as a comic relief to the epic of pain and a release from suffocation caused by the main stream media hell bent on the perversion of truth and murder of human liberty (Recall the year 2010).
Enjoying the cap of bureaucracy that gives a strange feeling of self centeredness, self love and a feel of a halo that a bureaucrat is but an ordinary man with his gait, attire and excellency. However this feeling being the first among rank and file; and this demeanour of bureaucratic bravado and strutness falls falt in a democracy where at times a thumb impressionist weighs greater because of the power and privilege of ballot. This is where the conscience of a bureaucrat is punctured and he feels like a ‘clossus with a feet of clay’. This however couldn’t be the sole reason for giving up the elite position that Faesal had but more inspiration might have been drawn from history and practical nature of our nation. It is a known fact that Kashmir has retained the same cycle of regimes and seen to the corridor of assembly the men who have left no stone unturned to play a part in the drama of the pain and victimization of a common man. The same people have given a strong supplement and support to the occupier to twist and maraud the narrative at international level to an extent that despite the flurry of deaths, Kashmir remains unnoticed (Thanks to popular governments from tall Sheikh Abdullah to Mehbooba mufti).
Obviously Shah Faesal has done no known harm to the cause of Kashmir as of now, therefore there is a strong reason why he doesn’t find a great number of followers who could believe his sweet words and his day dreaming. Like a crafty politician, he is holding his horses back and wearing his heart in his sleeves feigning the crocodile tears and playing to the gallery of men flooded with emotions. Yet there is a cause behind a cause and as the saying goes, ‘all that glitters is not gold’. One could arguably ask revered Dr Shah Faesal where was his sense of injustice and insecurity when the pool of death was flooded by the warm innocent blood of teenagers in the year 2010 and 2016; when the pellets snatched the lamps and blinded doll-like creatures, like Insha and Hibba and left them eyeless what Newyork Times compelled to call ‘The Year Of Deadly Eyes’?
To run devil’s advocate, the defending argument could be that Dr Shah faesal was an optimist in the beginning, that he believed in the welfare and progressive democracy like India where pluralism and individual integrity was duly recognised, that he was a patriot of first order and found India a heaven for minorities under the umbrella of unprejudiced judiciary, that Gujarat riots were but a farce, the year 1984 was just a year in the calendar, the Sachar committee report was fabricated, that the number of massacres in Kashmir were forgotten pages of fiction, that the proportion of ever increasing graveyards in Kashmir are a chance mounds in the landscape of Kashmir, that the hanging of Afzal Guru was a mere Judicial entertainment to satisfy the collective conscience of people, that in his own native district the nightmare of Kunanpuspora was a simple fish wive tale, that blood bath in Jammu in 1947 was a chance discolouring of river Chenab?
Another parallel argument could be based on a speculative probability. People and particular those who have a higher opinion of Dr Shah Faesal and with due respect to their opinion and my right to dissent, I find meticulation and calculation in Dr shah Faesal’s resignation instead of fortitude, sacrifice and courage, a feeling generating among a certain section of the society who are allured by Dr Faesal’s spin and turn towards politics as a saviour of Kashmiries. Those who believe in heroes and heroworship in an age driven by matrerialism and love for power have their own reasons to bank their trust in Dr Shah Faesal as he ran the gauntlets against the mighty emperior India and dared the devil by taking it by the horn, believe, that the free and liberal exchange and intellectual surgery at Harvard has done this gimmick and sprouted the dormant seeds of humanism and love for liberty prompting him to unfold the wings of liberty and touch the lyre that sings the music of free and open expression and champions the cause of marginalised sections crushed under the engine of brutality. Ofcourse, Harvard has a very rich legacy and history in the enlargement of souls yet Dr Shah Faesal’s soul got enlarged in a different way. I wonder how certain people can suffer from selective amnesia and fail to draw a parallel between Mr Sajad Lone and Dr Shah Faesal or for that matter Mr Omar Abdullah and Junaid Mutto when they appeared in the news hour debates. All of them are true to a Shakespearian saying, ‘I am what I am’.
One fails to understand the logic and sagacity behind the thinking of those who believe in the man in question by failing to understand how he is going to put an end to unabated killings by becoming another Sheikh Abdullah, if not that gigantic, a Farooq Abdullah, a Mufti Syed or an honourable member of Indian legislature. Moreoever in an intolerant atmosphere how come a country like India extend her magnanimity to Dr Shah Faesal that despite having hurt the delicate heart of nationalistic or hyper-nationalistic India, he is allowed honourable exit when a small incident is enough to file the charge of sedition and treachery? Spinning the argument in another way, it could be said that under the rule of Mr Narendra Modi India has grown more progressive and tolerant than before that she allows and opens Dr Shah Faesal all her democratic institutions to fight for the unabated killings and decimation of minorities in India. And suppose in the year 2019 Mr Narendra Modi regains the trust of masses, would it not imply that this is the new India and acceptable to majority. In that case where would Dr Shah Faesal fly as a mark of protest?
Reading the implications of Dr Shah Faesal’s high voltage drama, one would as a sensible wit ask him to whom you are befooling? Obviously not his own self but a multitude of men who might support him as a means of good riddance from the age old stooges of India. Probably they will fail to understand that it would be a victory of Indian democracy which has pushed a new piper with a new enchantic tune. Ironically, it leads nowhere but to a collective drowning and another generation will find itself in pathless woods!
Currently the giant of Indian military is laughing. Again Kashmir would be a laughing stock with the slogans of change and good governance. India has all the reasons to invest in Dr shah Faesal to allure a young generation who off late were inspired by young fighters like Burhan wani, Dr Manan wani, Professor Rafi etal. India has successfully launched a trump card they can bank upon to topple the narrative injurious to it.
On a lighter tune, I may be pardoned if i remind Dr Shah Faesal about the little schmooze he had with his friends while he was for a while in his true colors and opened his heart. Almost one and half year back i came to know that Dr Shah Faesal would jettison his bureaucratic cap in favour of political karakuli. It might have been a Freudian slip when he had said at a cup of coffee that the writ of state is always justified against the freedom of an individual.
For those who take signs and understand symbols there is no reason to dream behind Dr Shah Faesal. His is a refuge in the same system and more of an escapism to relish his taste in a better way. An apt comparison with Shaws’ antihero who loves no war, no fight but his appetite and obsession for his chocolates, thereby, winning the compliment as a chocolate cream soldier.
(The author is Assistant Professor at GDC Bandipora. Views expressed are his own)
The author can be reached at [email protected]