I am Wazwan, I am always late

As you all know my name is Wazwan which is served in Kashmir on special occasions, like on marriage ceremonies, on engagement ceremonies, on special functions and now also have the dubious distinction of being served in mourning ceremonies which is known as ‘Czoorim batta’. I myself am uncomfortable with being served on mourning ceremonies as I don’t at all fit in gloomy scenarios but tragically that is not in my hand. I am called ‘The Kings Feast’ and many modifications have been done to me which I don’t at all like but I being robust and rigid don’t at all let people make any modifications to the seven main dishes though there have been additions which change from time to time. Instead of humans, many times machines have taken over for purpose of grinding and mincing the meat but true to my rigidity, men are still needed to pound me. You should see the synchronized pounding (thud thud sound) with wooden Thor Hammer on a butcher block when scores of white clad and white capped junior Wazas sitting on ‘Wagu’ or ‘Patij’ (both are Kashmiri Floor Mats laid on the ground) and smoking the traditional ‘Jajeer’ or Hubble Bubble giving you that longing of festivity. My origin is dubious, some say I am from Iran, some say I am from Central Asia and some say I am indigenous also. When I am being cooked, people always talk about my origin but still no one is able to reach the conclusion from where I have originated but one thing is clear that in old times I was feast of nobility not of commoners like the present times. I am mostly made of lamb in Srinagar with some vegetables thrown in just for sake of it. Kashmiris have always taken me for granted with regard to time but have given me much love when it comes to making me with fresh slaughtered lamb and superb quality of spices and more than sufficient Ghee (Clarified Butter).  The amount of ghee which is added to me is something which will put Haryanvis and Rajasthanis, the notorious ghee eaters cornered in a dark room. I am telling you all a secret as my collective conscience compels me to say it that the Wazwan is not the magic of Waza making me the thing I am but it is the perfect blend of open fireplace of wood, copper pots, fresh lamb meat, ghee and spices. Go figure out, this is my secret but hush hush…….don’t tell the Waza or annoy him in any way because it is in his hands that you have placed the responsibility of the feast. If the Wazas asks for Tea, give them as early as possible; don’t make them wait as their temper is directly proportional to how bad they will make the Wazwan. Well I don’t want to be called as being regionally biased but Srinagar and North Kashmir Wazas cook me better than South Kashmir ones, just taste me in Kamraz(North), Yamraz(Central) and Maraz(South) regions, you will notice it yourself.

My foremost complaint with Kashmiris is that they have linked as well as cursed me with unpunctuality. You know how it feels after how much money, time and oily sweat of Waza is put in me and yet I am not served on time? It feels as that beautiful ornament clad bride into whom none is interested for a second look because everyone is hungry and ready to pounce on me. I being the Kings Feast have the luck of being garnished on copper platter perhaps the only time Kashmiris feel presentation of food is important. The Waza puts rice on the big copper plate known as ‘trami’ and puts the required mandatory starters for 4 people equally spaced. One elderly uncle, mostly a mamaji who takes the position on plastic chair near the waza puts napkin on the trami for it to look more decent (that napkin is also used to wipe hands at end of Wazwan). It doesn’t end there, they put a ‘Sarposh’( a copper covering) on me so that I remain covered till it reaches the white Dastarkhwan which is laid where guests are sitting. The white color of Dastarkhwan reminds me of the shroud in end I have to face which is the reality of life. In between the Wazas place and the sitting place of guests which is either a big hall situated mostly on the third storey of house (the only time when it is used apart from some sad demise of a family member) or a tent which either crewel clad or white house type. I have an exceptional relationship with the hall of the house as Kashmiris live to earn for these two things specifically. The hall otherwise remains mostly shut for rest of the time. OK, enough of hall and tent, I was going to say about how I reach the hall or tent from Wazas place as it is unique in itself as it may signify a political statement, I reach through human chains! I am being made political for no reason; this is how mischievous Kashmiri mind works! Also to increase publicity maximum photo ops happen during the kursi clad mamaji putting the fancy napkins on me till the human chain ends at the guests sitting place. As you know Wazwan is mostly associated with marriages which are uniting families together but I have an evil side too, I can break the families and friends. In this busy world when none has time to meet the FnF, it is only the occasions of marriage and some unfortunate death apart from the two Eids that FnF see each other and interact. As I am put on Dastarkhwan, helter-skelter takes place and I make sure only four of a group come and sit around me making others disperse and those who disperse into some random tramis sense a grudge but the show continues. If the trami is put along the sides of room/tent, then by convention the elder two sit along the sides and the younger two sit opposite showing values of Kashmiri culture. I forgot to tell you that during starters and napkin placing on tramis at the Wazas fireplace, another activity occurs at the sitting place and that is the laborious hands washing with Taesh-Naer where the young men are given the job of making the hands wash of guests. Guys when the hands are washed before the meal it is very easy but after meals it becomes tedious after me being devoured especially by women. I don’t know what it is with women when having me, they wash hands as if they will never be clean in future making the guy pouring the warm water bursting in anger but he keeps calm as the woman out of nowhere shows affection as the young boy may be some distant cousin’s son! This is a unique torture method, seriously!

OK guys let’s get started but who will start! When the trami reaches 80% of people, all eyes begin to roll as question is asked to oneself that who is going to start and somehow somebody starts and rest follow them and their begins the cherished Bismillah! Now I am delegating the talk to my constituents who actually make me and they will speak now for themselves.

Rice – I am rice, the staple food of Kashmiris, the thing which fills the Kashmiri tummies on routine days and even if how much junk food or bread a Kashmiri eats in day, until he eats the rice on dinner, he will be considered starved or ‘faqai’. Go figure yourself. Now coming to my role in Wazwan, I am the one which fills the trami and I being the medium through which people taste the curry otherwise I am not that much of a delicacy in Wazwan but I am useful in being drawn as boundary for the persons sitting in the trami so that the other person by not any chance encroaches in other territory and if the boundary begins to become weak, more rice is put to make it strong. There is a cliché; I am more eaten by women than men not out of love for me but out of love for family at home as most women carry the cooked meat delicacy in packets to their homes so that the family at home enjoys it. I am time to time being served during the course so that the trami never remains empty till the end whether it is change of gear from red curry to white curry or vice versa, I am being put by the service guys and mostly the elder guy in trami adds me to the four territories. I have a grudge too; no one puts me in the packets provided by host unlike my counterparts.

Meethi – I am a misnomer now, I am actually Meethi Maaz with traces of meeth (fenugreek) only found. I am made up of pieces of stomach, intestines in ghee and I have the distinction of being the first dish to be tasted with rice opening the gate of stomach valves. I am equally distributed and spaced on four sides of trami, in fact I am aligned such that all four people are adjusted and placed comfortably while eating me.

Chicken – I don’t at all know why I am in Wazwan and if you have to pick the odd man out in Wazwan, it should be me. In the whole meat world, I am considered a healthier option than lamb/mutton but thanks to Wazwan in which I am stir fried in ghee that I end up having around 900 calories for a person’s single serving, the highest compared to any other dish in Wazwan has for one person per serving. In fact I laugh at myself as well as those people who eat me thinking that their fight against high calories will be compensated by eating me more and other dishes less; I just am the devil for those who think that i am a blessing. Coming to taste I am the blandest one that is why I am the odd one out. However, nowadays few have started to marinate me in better way making me much presentable to eat but the other Wazas still think that I am waste of time so I should not be tinkered. I may be one or two on a trami depending on the host.

Kabab – I am minced mutton made by wrapping me around Seekh so I am a seekh kabab with two long pieces placed diagonally and the two persons cut the kebab with hand equally with precision so that all four persons in trami get it. Thanks to ghee, I get calorified high unfortunately compared to kabab you get in simple as well as posh restaurants. I don’t know why but people take interest in how much salt has been added and true to a Kashmiris character, some guest whispers in other ones ear that i have more or less salt. But irony is that in spite of complaining of my salt they keep on relishing it but still complain. Human nature!

Tabakmaaz – Hand upon my fatty heart, I am the most eyed dish. I am the tastiest as I am made of rib cage of lamb and deep fried in ghee. You should see me that how I party in hot ghee as it oozes into me with heat from below just to make me crispier. The real problem with me is not even about my making in ghee, it is about how to divide me between the two persons. As there are two pieces of me, one piece has to be divided between two persons. The two individuals in order to be divided between them pull me towards each other when I am hot, it appears as if my sins were not enough pardoned in hot ghee that I have to be tortured by pulling. I being stretchable compels the individuals do some work and burn fingers till I get divided between them. Rarely do I get divided equally, well fortunate are the ones who get my crispier layer wholly but that is fate! And unfortunate ones who get only the rib bones with meat attached as they have to single out the rib bones and throw them away.

Daniphol – I am single piece cortical bone having sweet taste, many times I am not even touched and many times due to my small size, I am touched in the middle course. Often I get a religious touch that I was the most favorite meat of Beloved Prophet Peace Be Upon Him and I take pride in that. Just saying that if an elderly gets by any chance in your trami then he will say that he used to eat Wazwan twice in a day when he was younger and the current generation doesn’t have the capacity to eat much. Really! I don’t know why Kashmiris repeat the same thing again and again like a broken record. It is the poor young fellows who have to listen to this dialogue only!

Rista – I am the one from where main course starts, pounded with wooden hammer of Thor as described earlier along with Gushtaba, my other fairer brother. I am made into small balls with each person getting one ball. My problem is when i am put on trami, I have to squeeze my way as it is congested due to the starters and sometimes luckily I get straight into persons eating territory when Waza puts all 4 of me into trami.

Rogan josh – I am the most widely celebrated and famous dish all over the world comprising of four meat pieces given to each person along with curry having all sorts of spices. Rogan means ‘oil’ and josh means ‘fire’, that is how I got my name.

Pulao – I am pulao, made from rice, meat juice and dry fruits. I stand alone as instead of meat, I am only rice. I am served mid-way parachuted in boxes now. Earlier I was directly put on plate but thanks to modernity that I am now compressed into a silver foil box. The degradation of presentation is something I am angry about. If I had some meat pieces in me like the biryani of other regions, I would have been treated better definitely.

Chutney and others – Well of many kinds served on a disposable or copper platter, like pumpkin chutney (sweet or salty), Cucumber chutney, Zirish chutney (berry + red chilly powder), Walnut chutney (walnut + curd), Onion chutney(sliced onions in vinegar and red chilly powder), Salad(having no presentation) and mixed pickle. After the Waza makes these things and puts them in Sarposh, the art of putting them in a platter is assigned to the man who is in charge of store-room and he calls up young ones to help him in setting up of platter. Mind it before going to the guests we are relished by those who set me on platter, mostly picking up a radish or carrot or cucumber piece and dipping in chutney and tasting the combination. I am made in equal number as the number of tramis which is expected to be served. Mostly alongside the platter a medium sized basket is also made in which accessories like water bottle, packed curd, cold drinks, towels, knives and spoons and packet containing paper soap, wet tissue and sweet fennel mouth freshener is put. Coming to wet tissue, it is the most useful thing which has been added to Wazwan over years where the guest wipes his hands with it and those who are late due to Wazwan being served late can go out without waiting for Taesh-Naer. The most useless thing on platter are pineapple slices, why it is put and what purpose does it serve, no one has been able to answer it properly.

Palak – Well the only green you will find literally in Wazwan but that too has little baby ristas. Being the only green thing, it is always eaten by everyone out of love.

AabGosht – I am something which makes the population divided. Some hate me as if I have stolen something from their bored lives and some love me that they would do anything to get more and more of my curry made of milk. May be haters hate me because i am sweet in taste, whatever; I am prepared of milk powder and tail part of lamb and scapular portion. Till recently the scapular bone having a triangular shape was used to cut Gushtaba and it was the best thing but it is now abandoned and the cutting work is done by knives.

Tamattar Czamman – Earlier I was made in tomato and cheese slab, now it is tomato puree and cheese slab. To laugh or weep, I don’t know as I am satisfied till the guest loves the cheese. It may seem I may be vegetarian but somehow the big spoons of Wazwan are interchanged while making the various dishes of Wazwan so to expect I may not have a hint of non-veg aroma and flavor is a little bit too much.

Mirchi Korma – I am the penultimate dish and have the maximum red chilli powder among the dishes and true to word, I am red fiery in color but you should also be careful, sometimes the head Waza in order to have redness in me puts coloring agent without telling the host. I am made up of small pieces of mutton and people often love to find the cartilage pieces so that truk-truk sound happens in mouth. By the way the Wazas prefer to take their dinner with me, check it out.

Gushtaba – I am the famous Gushtaba, some call me full stop, some fat bomb. I am made up of the same material as rista but boiled in curd known as yakhnee. I am unnecessarily dragged into something as being mostly fatty just because I am white but as I said rista is also of same material but no one points fingers at it. Both I and rista have one-third portion of fat and rest is lean meat. In fact a person per serving who eats me gets less number calories compared to kabab or chicken in Wazwan. Being served last, people often wait to see me and to eat some dip me in cold curd as if being boiled in hot curd was not enough. Guys my texture is something like sausage as a foreign guest once said. After eating me, the most senior or religious of the guests draws his both hands forwards as in Dua and says Alhamdulillah! That is the end and immediately every one stops eating though drinking water is allowed, so unique it is. Kashmiri things! And the tramis are pulled out of guest room, the white dastarkhwan, a shroud for me is turned yellow because of the leftover bones and meat. And then the hand cleaning process starts.

This is my actual story which no one actually says and I am being realistic here. I am now canned also for the people who can’t come to Kashmir to taste it so that you can enjoy wherever you are in world. Also buffet system has been in style for sometime but the essence of Kashmir culture is lost somewhere, may be at that time, we just sob silently that time is not the only thing, our unique culture is. Hope you get to enjoy me often in your life with no doctor’s warnings about me.

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And It Snowed…. 

I guess everyone has enjoyed the snowfall which was being waited quite eagerly in this ChilaiKalaan, the harshest 40 day winter period. Sonam Lotus, the chief weatherman had given us the forecast which had come correct after a series of wrong predictions. Snow to each generation means different things. For the young ones who had seen snow in winters in past it was a refreshment of the past memories echoing in our minds. For the elder ones, well they will always be hard on snow, either they will say that this snowfall is nothing as compared to past when they were young and in the same breath will complain that this snow needs to stop. Well most of the times the old age problems which have set in like ortho or respiratory disorders which we find in young ones also compels them to go against the nature and gaze upon the sky to stop the white stuff and be melted down as soon as possible. For kids, well it is Christmas, an opportunity to witness and relive the spectacle witnessed in Disney cartoons which the fortunate ones are blessed to see. Whole place is converted to a la Disneyland and Voila the kids can mould the snow to any character they want which won’t be scarier and uglier at least as compared to the scarecrow. I am not a good writer and neither do I know why I am writing this but as soon I started to drive slowly which also was dangerous after a days snowfall, I was smitten by it, no words to express. As soon I reached the destination, the radio started to play ‘Guloon main Rang Bhare’, a Faiz sahib Kalaam in the melodious voice of Mehdi Hassan. I swear I haven’t enjoyed the verses more as I was watching the white snowy field and I didn’t at all move out of the car till Mehdi Hassan’s voice ended. People say that enjoying music in rain has its own charm but enjoying music with Faiz’s words in snow, it is something I cannot say it in words, I can only explain in snow.

Driving on the banks of Boulevard Road with snowy atmosphere is something which is cherish-able and you kind of witness many things like the snowmen made by boys and taking Selfies with it and the mandatory Sheen Jung or snow fight between friends. It was kind of much needed change after the burning summer as the collective moods were still off even after autumn had passed. Young couples, boys and girls were stopping their cars on the banks of Dal Lake and were posing for the pictures, all enjoying the happy snowy moment, after all the snow had come to visit us after two years. The skewer makers were having a merry day, the peculiar smell of meat roasted on the burning charcoal surrounded by snow, well imagine! Imagine! And I am leaving the imagination to you for how savory it would have been 😉😉.
Snow is something which jogs us to think that why there are seasons, why we need changes in life if it has been on a constant, snow certainly will not make you philosophical or a poet but will make you feel different for a while, a nature’s reminder that life can be beautiful outside of dreams too. Snow Hafiz.

NC Debacle In Kashmir in The Modi-fied Phase

As i  am writing, the Right Wing BJP has emerged as the single largest party with Absolute Majority in the Elections 2014 of India and the ruling UPA has been reduced to a miserable double-digit number in the Parliament. As the opinion polls along with the exit polls of various hues had correctly predicted the gain of BJP lead NDA, still there was a counter opinion that the BJP may not win that big because of the faulty exit poll results in last two General Elections but this time they correctly predicted the wave of Modi which many had rubbished as a myth. It is after a very long time in the electoral history of India that a clear mandate has been given to a single party which is also a right-wing party drawing its inspiration from Sangh Parivar. The rise of Modi in India has opened a plethora of questions about in which way India is going which will be probably be answered in coming five years till the next elections. Everyone will have an eye on Modi’s policies from across the border to within the border and how Modi will deal with issues pertaining to Ram Mandir, Article 370, Minority welfare plus the economic issues. As a Kashmiri, like all other fellow citizens of Kashmir, observed the elections with keen eye even though a common Kashmiri knows that whether it be UPA or NDA, Kashmir Policy will remain same. If we look at the overall poll percentage of J&K, it is near about 50% with individual Poll percentages of Jammu as 70% and Kashmir standing at nearly 30%. There appears a clear division on the mood of people present in both regions with majority of Kashmiris not wanting to vote & majority of Jammuites wanting to vote. Looking at the results, out of the 6 Parliament Seats in J&K, PDP has bagged all 3 seats & BJP in Jammu has bagged the remaining 3 seats, two from Jammu & one from Ladakh leaving the coalition government of NC-Congress to bite the dust. Although Kashmiris by and large hadn’t voted in the elections but still everyone wanted to know the result for the curiosity purpose. Many pundits had predicted that PDP will do well in the Kashmir seats but this came as a surprise that they went on marching on all the three seats of Kashmir leading to defeat of veterans like Dr. Farooq Abdullah & his two associates.

APRIL 13, 2002 - FAROOQ ABDULLAH, then part of NDA, JUMPED INTO THE DAL LAKE  TO MARK THE TWO DAY BAISHAKI FESTIVAL AIMED AT ATTRACTING TOURISTS AND REVIVE TOURISM IN KASHMIR.  FAROOQ IS SEEN SWIMMING IN WORLD FAMOUS DAL LAKE . PTI PHOTO

APRIL 13, 2002 – FAROOQ ABDULLAH, then part of NDA, JUMPED INTO THE DAL LAKE TO MARK THE TWO DAY BAISHAKI FESTIVAL AIMED AT ATTRACTING TOURISTS AND REVIVE TOURISM IN KASHMIR. FAROOQ IS SEEN SWIMMING IN WORLD FAMOUS DAL LAKE . PTI PHOTO

Let me remind you all that these Kashmir elections came after a series of catastrophic events in Kashmir with a government headed by Omar Abdullah whose tenure will be remembered more on Twitter than in real books. The way Omar Abdullah led coalition has been routed is something to be worth discussing. After all with the Shopian Gang-rape flip-flop incident in 2009, 2010 mass protests against excesses of security forces leading to death of around 120 men, the J&K Cricket board scandal with Dr. Farooq Abdullah involved & the state government’s silence on Afzal Guru’s hanging in 2013, how can anyone dismiss the backlash of all these years of miss-governance. If we look at the state of affairs of Omar Abdullah Government, it appears only on Twitter through his tantrums. Mr. Omar Abdullah would be only head of state who would curtail the internet connection of his own subjects & go on giving messages for the general public through that medium. If anything we could deduce from the messages he posts during tough times, it appears as if he got a dictation from corridors of Delhi and he is reciting back the words pampered to him for the Indian Media. Even during the current election campaign he shot up with statements which appeared more of arrogance than as a head of state, that he is not accountable to those people who don’t vote in the elections, crossing all limits of decency of the chair he is holding through the glue provided by Delhi. How can the legitimate anger which everyone holds against the regime of National Conference be not foreseen trough the tremors which was felt on May 16 ? How can Dr Farooq Abdullah who had a Kashmiri speaking father tell that fellow Kashmiris are ‘Mahachors’ & get away with it ? For how much long Kashmiris have to bear the tantrums of Delhi by imposing on us the Abdullah Family & not doing anything to solve the Kashmir problem. How long before a Kashmiri CM who in a state assembly says, ‘Main kya karsakta hoon’ on Killings done by security forces ? How long before the Abdullah clan raise the bogey of Secularism & all that stuff which by the way no one buys in Kashmir. These are legitimate questions which a Kashmiri always asks to Kashmir policy makers in Delhi but gets no reply.

Having said everything against NC, it is not that PDP will do wonders, if one is an evil the other has been accused to be a lesser evil and at times the collective lesser evil has done also a damage to the Kashmiri psyche. With results pouring and with it  jubilation of Modi supporters across India being seen, across the border, Mian Nawaz Shareef has congratulated Modi & also invited Modi to visit Pakistan which may be seen as a positive signal from Pakistan having a will to cooperate on Kashmir issue and it seems that Pakistan is less concerned how Modi is viewed internally in the country. We all know that BJP is against Article 370 which is actually now only a symbolic article ( which Congress Party at Center has made hollow in all these years) in Indian Constitution which lays the foundation of Kashmir acceding to India, whether Modi is going to touch it or not is going to be seen in future. Although Article 370 bogey is run by National Conference to hoodwink the Kashmiri public yet the public knows that National Conference has been a party to the erosion of Article 370 all these years.

In the post Modi scenario, definitely across all spectrums there will be an introspection that what lead to rise of Modi and what lead to fall of Congress. Definitely the fall of Congress has more to do with the rise of Modi. The desperate measures of UPA 2 like the hanging of Afzal Guru out of his turn & not returning the dead body to his family will definitely haunt Congress and its partner NC in Kashmir for years to come. The scams done by UPA, the passing of Bills in Parliament hastily, the ever arrogant attitude of Congress men, the failure to estimate the popularity of AAP in Delhi, having a weak PM candidate who delivered wretched speeches in election rallies, etc all lead to the downfall of Congress which stand as a two digit Party. Saying this i know Congress Party will do a home work rightly next time or next next time but of National Conference, i assure you all, even all the perfumes of Arabia & all the wisdom in Humanity will not help the National Conference and its first family to have a soul-searching within self because their souls remain buried somewhere in North & South Blocks of Delhi at unknown destination there.

The Social Media Musings of this Autumn

Last few days have been hectic for the people of sub-continent, well it always has been like that. Being from Kashmir has always been a tough job to be on Social Media as along with Kashmir, you have to keep an eye whats happening in India and Pakistan which Kashmiris manage quite well. First of all let me start from the Hometown where the talk of the town is the most recent BOPEE Scandal involving its former chairman and some agents who sold the Entrance Question Papers to some wealthy people in order to get admission in the prestigious medical colleges of J&K. As the scandal was about one of the most important exams in any medical students life or for that matter the parents hopes, it naturally had to get over the top reaction from the general public. Naturally the students who had been burning the midnight oil for qualifying the most prestigious exam would have been most aggrieved and the mental trauma is understandable and so of their parents also. Well its not the first time that medical entrance has been plagued by this BOPEE scandal, similar thing happened in 2003 BOPEE exams. Same level of hue and cry was raised and same tone of reaction was aroused in general public and what happened to that case, need not to mention. But in this case another thing was added which was not only discussed in social media circles but in newspapers also. A section of public including a well to do journalists looked like they were more interested in the name of the BOPEE ex-chairman than the grievous crime itself. When i saw the discourse of this scandal involving Mr. Mushtaq Peer, i was confused that are people discussing the scandal genuinely as should be the case, are people discussing the scandal because it just involves Doctors ( as it has fake glamour attached to it ) or people are discussing it because the surname of the accused person is Peer. And to add insult to the injury big columns were written discussing that the said person has Peer as surname and also attached his name with the fake Peer who would love to proclaim his name as Syed Gulzar Ahmed Bhat involved in the infamous Sex Scandal. With such discussions, Kashmir earned a distinct title of distinguishing crimes based on his or her caste. No one can give a satisfactory answer that how does a crime committed depend on ones caste, whether he is Bhat or Peer in Kashmir. Further more the Chief Minister of J&K went a step further in this tragicomic situation, he said that the accused Ex BOPEE Chairman is a Muslim, no wonder what happens to the secular state at that time. The prisms with which these so called intellectuals see the picture seems to be biased. Few years back i read a book on Kashmir written by David Devdas in which he pointed out that Kashmiri politics is also caste based and gave his explanation. Well to my knowledge and  understanding of nature of Politics in Kashmir, i couldn’t understand on what basis he said it. Did it matter for the common masses that Muhammad Abdullah was a Sheikh or Peer, Maqbool Bhat was a Bhat or a Peer, Yusuf Shah was a Syed or Bhat and so on and on. Not justifying the crimes committed by the so called upper caste including Peers in any way but a place where society is divisible at many junctions, having this kind of notorious discourse whether the crime committed by peer or a non-peer is beyond any logic of understanding. Castigating one community alone is not going to solve any-ones problem, the rot runs deep in the society as corruption or any vices has become more and more part of this fragile society from bottom to top.

Now opening a window to the Pakistan where there is usually a bad news coming in every day. Few days back a riot took place in Rawalpindi involving two sects of Muslims on 10th Muharram where many died and dozens got injured. On the social networking sites, people were more interested on who actually were responsible not for breaking the law of land but just for they get some brownie points in criticizing the other sect tarnishing all the values of humanity if ever it was present. There were proofs given by people who actually were sitting some thousands of miles away from Rawalpindi on who were the perpetrators of the riot. Whosoever were the minds behind the riots, how does it matter with which sect they belong to ? More icing on the cake when twitterati began giving suggestions to stop these kind of riots in future by suggesting to ban Ashoora and Mawlid processions . Wonder, how will it help in country where Masjid and Imambargahs were not spared of bombs by terrorists, so how does these kind of shallow ideas emerge from anyone’s mind. I have never participated in any Mawlid or Ashoora processions but banning any religious procession is strictly against the tenets of freedom of speech and religion. And the irony is those demanding ban on religious processions were, are and will be the most iconic voices in portraying the Islamophobia in West, a simple case of one bigot calling a other bigot, a bigot. If anyone doesn’t give right to express his or her own opinion in his or her own way, never expect that this person will give you to raise your own voice tomorrow on any other issue. Now it has been a routine on social networking sites to discuss religion freely with the availability of Sheikh Google. Come Muharram – discuss Shias, Come Rabiulawal – discuss Barelvis and Sufis, Come the stupidity and abuses by the family of Saud – discuss Wahabis and Come some unusual Fatwas – discuss Deobandis. You will get bundles of Fatwas of Shirk and Kuffr from those who even don’t know you and will be targeted in groups as if the only thing left in their life is to prove that they all along are right, rest can and should go to hell. Some of us hold our head so high that it gets impossible to argue but little they know that this arrogance can also fall just like the Tehelka Head.

Coming to the Indian Media where the most covered news this time is the Tehelka scandal involving Tarun Tejpal. A magazine which began with humble origins with the motto of crusade against the wrongdoings finds itself entangled in the web of accusations which are very gory. And many media houses and political parties grinding there own axes against the Tehelka Magazine. Well the idea of Tehelka was shattered long before and some shine it had left, also is now faded. Being an avid newspaper reader, i remember that day when Tehelka became a print newspaper ( don’t remember it was weekly or fortnightly) and i bought it for ten bucks few years back and also remember the scold i got from my grandfather when he asked me why i bought a newspaper for ten bucks !! Such was my trust with the brand of Tehelka but it soon started to fade out. The Tehelka is all there, it has fallen in this season of fall, leaf by leaf in front of the 24*7 circus of TV News channels.

Now moving on to the biggest news this week is that of successful talks between the Global superpowers including USA with Iran. The Iranians celebrated it with fervor in view of easing of sanctions against them on the issue of nuclear energy. The success can be attributed to the new moderate President of Iran, Mr. Rouhani along with his Foreign Minister. But the successful talks have made some angry which include Saudi Family and Israel. Not to forget to mention that what murky things Iran is doing in Syria has nothing to do with the Common Iranians who are suffering due to the harsh sanctions against their own country. A common Iranian and the Ayutullah regime are two separate entities. Long before if u would be discussing Iran with anyone, two separate views emerged, one being blinded by his pro-Iran regime loyalties and other being blinded by his anti-Iran stance with both having shades of sectarianism associated. When confronted with own middle-path unbiased views, none believed, each giving its own version. The truth being mixed with the tales of Iran by the Iranian Press TV and the Pro-American Media including CNN and FOX. That is what happens when a country lives in isolation for more than three decades which makes it difficult to tell people the real picture.

And the social media musings with its fallacies go on………………….

Rivaling The Agonies

Social networking has definitely revolutionized the way we think nowadays but it has its own negatives. One of the most distasteful phenomenon in the social networking sphere especially on Twitter & Facebook is that everyone carries his or her own measuring tape for grief. Not only has everyone the measuring tape but each one cries out loudly that he or she has the most accurate one & everyone should believe it. Our sense of outrage is getting disgusting day by day by comparing one grief with another grief & with just a click, we go on a rampage, which we consider as not our birth right only but a biblical duty also. Let me give you few examples which happened recently starting with Malala Yusufzai shootout. First of all hats off to the girl who braved all odds for the education of girls by fighting with pen against the terrorists present in Swat valley in Pakistan. After she was shot in head & is recuperating now in a London Hospital, various kind of absurd theories & words were linked to her name. Some ridiculous conspiracy theories propped up like Malala is a CIA agent, or she was not actually shot in head and also that the CIA shot at her so that a the US army will get a genuine reason so that they will attack Pakistan. Well hats off to these disgusting conspiracy theorists who in spite of appreciating & sympathizing with Malala were & are more keen to exploit her name for their own murky reasons. Ask the terrorist apologists why you doing so ? They reply back that USA does drone attacks in Pakistan & the drone attacks kill innocent children which are not given much attention so why Malala be given this much appreciation ! Poor minds co-relate two things for which Malala is herself not responsible & it seems from their language as if Malala herself was leading the drones which killed the innocent children. Yeah ! That’s what they try to imply. Now come to another incident of recent Connecticut shootings in a school by a mentally challenged person. Well from last few years these kind of uncontrollable shootings in campuses are on rise as it is said that easy availability of guns is one of the reason. Whatever the reason, this tragedy too had to bear this barometric comparison on Facebook & Twitter by the dimwits. Those little kids killed in Connecticut shootout were again compared with the innocent kids killed by the drone attacks in Pakistan & elsewhere done by the USA. Well like all cryptic logic of the apologists, this too had no merit. The apologists through their myopic vision implied that  the little kids killed got the punishment of the drone attacks done by the USA, which has no validity in religion & is beyond the sphere of humanity. In both the above incidents the apologists demanded that the media should not over hype these issues which looked quiet illogical. As Connecticut is in USA itself & Malala was shot in the Militant infested Swat area in Af-Pak so it was bound to get international media attention. And from last hours another horror has struck Pakistan which is the killing of health workers who are related to the anti-polio campaign as Pakistan is one of three countries where Polio is not eradicated. The reason given by the terrorists is that some health workers allegedly work as CIA agents. Well if we look back to last year incident of Abbotabad in Pakistan where Osama Bin Laden was captured, the homework was done initially with help of a doctor & his team who were doing a vaccination campaign in the area but were focussed really on the compound of Osama. Now giving that as pretext & attacking the health workers indiscriminately by the terrorists in their latest round of attacks is a bizarre & a cowardly act. The terrorists think by crippling the polio campaign which in turn will lead to more crippled children are doing some heroic jobs. Little do they know how many curses they are getting for doing such a inhumane act in the name of religion.

Well lastly another incident happened in Delhi, India where a girl was gang-raped in a moving bus which has shocked the country. In India rapes occur every 22 minutes according to an estimate and the news items related to rapes are passed as one of the news but this time the media & civil society is on some action mode, maybe the incident happening in the capital city is the reason. It seems the incident is not going to cool off soon. But looking on the flip-side on the social networking sites, instead of some constructive conclusion, the blame-game of ‘My grief bigger than your grief’ has started. It should be noted in last two decades numerous cases of rapes & mass rapes have been done by the security forces in Kashmir  & North-East which is shameful as no justice has been done who had done & perpetuated the heinous crimes. As soon as the Delhi Gang-rape news went on air, the other side talked of the old wounds which had been inflicted & thus the story began. The dramatic comparison of two tragedies not only started a war of words but each one took extreme position in order to highlight the crime. No one can deny the fact that the crimes were heinous in nature but is it right to compare two crimes at this time or any time ? If conscience is left in us, we would never use the tragedies for our own self-interest. It is time to empathize with victims & rise above all petty interests but alas! All the people on social networking sites act as saints unfortunately leaving no space for constructive debate and for these social networking saints no grey areas are there, there is either black or more black & no white. May we stop comparing the tragedies of our time with the previous tragedies & look forward to embalm them. Let sanity prevail…