Raag Durbar

The word in the street was that Jammu had turned inhospitably hot for the tender skins of Kashmir’s rulers, and that their deliverance by durbar came just in time. There is no predicting what strains the winter capital’s emergency medical services would have suffered in dancing attendance to a rather frail breed predisposed to spells of swooning in anything higher than thirty-five degrees. And that is without counting the reverse of the wind-chill factor, or the political equivalent of the scorching winds blowing in from India’s baking plains where campaign heat has far surpassed even the nation’s usually fervid standards.

Though, for long weeks, the Valley had appeared to be exercising its right to Climatic Autonomy to soothe and balm the overheated constitutions of the proponents of Political Autonomy, the system seems to have badly tripped, and in the classical domino fashion of North India’s power grids. Unseen hands have knocked out not just the heavens’ sprinklers, but also pulled the rug from under the feet of some political heavyweights who are already said to be looking for new assignments. Thanks, therefore, to a reviled practice called Indian Democracy, Kashmir’s perpetual princes may also face the prospect of transitory political pauperhood in addition to the chagrin of seeing winds defy the very snapping of their fingers.

Never lacking from wisecracks and wags, Kashmir can however put altogether a different spin to what many had already proclaimed as the hostility of the elements themselves to its privilegentsia, and build a narrative of counter-taunts to the theory of Divine Intervention – a slightly more potent version of the elusive Third Party Intervention – proposed to explain incessant and torrential precipitation in the run-up to the region’s make-believe at franchise. The Valley’s endless drenching, dampening the spirits of the most hardened al karega, wangan karega descendant, not to speak of political banners and buntings, was an unmistakable sign from the Only Power That Is, or so the argument went.  And who would have dared to disagree.  Such was the lay of the water-logged land.

And then the tide turned. The clouds that loured on the House of Kashmir’s Lords parted to make way for the Brilliant Orb. And just in the nick of time, the Valley basked under what some would pointedly call the Sun of Suffrage.  Far from the bedraggled travesty, and sodden to the skin, forecasts of balloting days, the only soaking the land witnessed was that of blood – feeble contention against the ways of the Inscrutable. Strategic Interest, some would jeer, is not the exclusive preserve of earthly powers alone.

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