Dissolving democracy

Dissolving democracy
Not Delhi, it”s this damn fax machine that betrayed us

AJAZ UL HAQUE

Nov 24 2018

Winning a cricket game in childhood was like conquering the world. A team in our locality would never lose as they had devised a novel way of keeping defeat at bay. They would either win or the game would go undecided. They would prepare a few boys off the ground who would just watch the game till it was about to end. If their team was sure to win, they would do nothing and allow everyone his right to play – peacefully. If it was about to lose and defeat seemed just at the door, this band of fuss-creating guys would storm into the ground, make an uproar that `the pitch is not fit for playing’. `Upholding the sportsman spirit’ the losing team too would `protest’ against this hooliganism. Both teams would stake their claim at victory though the result (by all figures and facts) was foregone. Those about to win would bite their nails and beg these noise-making boys to leave the ground. Those about to lose would suppress their joy and feign frustrated as if they could pull off the miracle. Since the deal was fixed, the match would end in a draw. The pitch would be declared `dissolved’.

Cut to Kashmir and now the story sounds familiar. Delhi might have dissolved the house `to uphold the spirit of the game’, but actually they have dissolved democracy itself. The details are too naked to be covered up by any post-event argument. In the political history of Kashmir this fax machine (which they say was not fit enough to receive Mehbooba’s message or might have broken by the sheer burden of that) should be archived as a monument of political sabotage. Between people and the government there was a broken instrument which broke another record of democracy in the state. Don’t wonder why a democratic process was aborted, but wonder at the way this abortion was carried out. We have a history of being humiliated, thrown out, deposed, jailed, disrobed and worn down (from prime minister to chief minister). We have a past of submitting apologies of being secular, peace-loving, Pak-hating citizens of India. Who knew it better than Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. Against that pain and insult, this seems a decent denial of democracy. Don’t forget the difference. Then we witnessed tragedies, now we are upgraded to the comedy of denials. The fax excuse in today’s age of technology is a badly needed but badly crafted joke. The idea of preventing undemocratic practices like horse-trading, floor-crossing, seat-buying – after many months – suddenly struck Delhi and for a greater common good, they `declared the pitch dissolved’. The pitch was playing well till no one was staking the claim. The day these three main parties (NC-PDP-Congress) stitched a compulsive coalition, the whistle was blown. There are better ways of murdering democracy. Better, subtle, serious and hard to put your finger at. Even tribals don’t do it. Their method may be brute but not as farcical as this. Feudal lords don’t have fax machines to shift their blame on.

Though the NC-PDP honeymoon lasted just a few imaginary minutes, but the lessons can be lasting. What PDP did in desperation today, they could have done at ease then. We are losers on all counts. We have been reduced to a mass wreck. All you can do now is to salvage the remnants of a long lost dignity. Delhi has shown you your worth. You give more, they need more. Winning them is a lost battle, win your self, win your people. Even if you attach your honour as a document of loyalty, it will be dismissed. Omar can read his grandfather’s story, Mehbooba her father’s.