Opinions

The situation in Kashmir is becoming intolerable

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

The mess is getting compounded in the Kashmir region. The situation has been getting worse in these recent years, ever since PDP joined hands with the BJP to rule the state. One of those thoroughly mismatched combinations which Mehbooba Mufti insists on dragging along; perhaps for the sake of her chief ministerial chair. And what good is the latest round of ministerial re-shuffling! Some sort of a bizarre distraction, with little logic to it. Not just hard core Hindutva characters have found a place in the state cabinet but also those with nil sensitivity. The freshly appointed deputy chief minister of J&K, Kavindar Gupta’s remark on the Kathua gang rape, describing it to be one of those ‘small incidents’, speaks volumes of his and his party’s very attitude to crime against women and children.

Why should we have the likes of Kavindar Guptas on our heads, ruling us with their brazen insensitivity? Wouldn’t his remark pave way for further gang rapes – after all, this BJP politician considers the Kathua gang rape to be just one of those insignificant issues or a small incident which does not merit highlight or hype? Wouldn’t it have been appropriate if Gupta was dismissed or sacked or asked to resign? Why didn’t the chief minister of the state react to her deputy chief minister’s remarks and dismiss him?

Everything seems going horribly wrong in the Kashmir region yet New Delhi insists that it’s harnessing the volatile situation. How? By killings and counter-killings! Reports of the daily round of killings in the state not just hits but provokes one to question and query: who are the killed? Are they terrorists or militants or mere rebels who’d experienced a bit too much of the rot that the system unleashed on them!

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TAURUS WRITERS!

Stands out the fact that a large number of writers and poets and playwrights are born between April 20 and May 20, under the Taurus zodiac sign. And these include William Shakespeare, Rabindranath Tagore, Ruskin Bond …the list is long. And what gets absolutely intriguing is the ‘why’ to the connect between this Sun sign and writers and their writings.

Perhaps, one of the basic reasons could be that they were born to be writers. Born writers! Their words finding way from their souls and hearts…connecting with the readers almost immediately and lingering on for years to come. There is a stark simplicity about these writers, about their personality, about their thoughts and writings.

Each time I’d met Ruskin Bond, I was left spell-bound by his simplicity. Absolutely down to earth, no shying away from talking about the twists and turns in his life, even describing himself to be very backward! ‘I have always been very backward. I write by hand instead of working on a computer. I listen to the radio instead of watching the television. I don’t know how to operate a cell phone…Also, sometimes, I read books upside down. If I have to read a modern novel, I will read the last chapter first, usually that’s enough. And sometimes, I walk backwards.’

And his views on loneliness are equally stark, in the backdrop of the fact that he opted to stay back in India although he could have moved to the U.K., also he didn’t marry and has no constant companion -- ‘My mother did send me to England but I returned. I wanted to be back and live here in India. I chose Dehradun and later moved to Mussoorie, because earlier my mother and step-father (my mother had re-married a Punjabi businessman) lived there. Later, I didn’t want to live in a town which was too far from New Delhi, because of my writing and meetings with my publishers…I stay in Mussoorie with an ‘adopted’ family, so that way the apartment is full of people. The apartment has four rooms and we are twelve people living in it. The family consists of a set of parents and their two sons who are both married and have children. Also, this profession - writing - is such that you can only pursue it in solitude. You have to be alone so that you can write. In the evenings, I do go down to some friend’s home for a chat and a drink. I have two or three such close friends…Didn’t marry, couldn’t find love…’

And when I asked him to comment on the near-nil portrayal of sexual romance in his writings he quipped, ‘You’re saying this, but once, during the Emergency, I was hauled up in court on charges of obscenity. Yes, I was, for my novella titled ‘The Sensualist’. I had to appear in court, though I was later acquitted. And I must tell you that there was nothing explicit in the book — maybe some sexual references in a romantic context.’

Focusing his attention to the crime situation in the country, I asked him about the spurt in rape cases. ‘This could be because of sexually explicit films being screened on the television, affecting young minds. Then, they are never told that romantic love is one thing and sexual anarchy is another. Our society is too repressed; people try to break free and go on a rampage. Crime is worsening here...’

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Leaving you with this verse by Ruskin Bond, from his recently launched poetry book ‘I was the wind last night: new and collected poems’ (Speaking Tiger):

These simple things/

The simplest things in life are best- /

A patch of green,/

A small bird’s nest,/

A drink of water, fresh and cold,/

A taste of bread,/

A song of old,/

These are the things that matter most./

The laughter of a child,/

A favourite book,/

Flowers growing wild,/

A cricket singing in the shady nook,/

A ball that bounces high!/

A summer shower/

A rainbow in the sky,/

A touch of a loving hand,/

And time to rest- /

These simple things in life are best,’

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