A Too Long Hot Summer Called Kashmir

(DESPARDES) — Funerals are becoming lonely affairs amid coronavirus pandemic in Kashmir: family members of Covid-19 casualties are skipping the last rites. That can’t be a “new normal” –it’s an emotional ritual wrapped with memories of the deceased –“awakes” the conscience and soul beats of individuals some scholars say. So a group of youth in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir, has volunteered free community service to bury Covid-19’s fatal hits –159 deaths so far. The community service is not meant for Muslims only. “Our service is also available for people of other religions –Hindus and Sikhs. We remain ready to ensure proper burial of Covid-19 casualties”. More…

The pristine Himalayan Valley –the third pole –remain under lockdown for almost a year now. Search, hunt and kill those (mostly youth) seeking self-determination for Kashmir –an unfinished agenda of the sub-continent’s partitioning by the British into India and Pakistan –remain a standard operating procedure (SOP) under PM Modi’s watch.

All these appear to have been considered as “calculated risks” undertaken by geopolitical cartographers. Independent observers, however, including historian Chomsky say uncertainties have notched up. And that can’t be measured or mitigated. Human dimension of any “project” (if so) is undeterministic when fear and sacrifice are two sides of the coin.

What’s disturbing is an international digital currency called “silence” appears more or less to be SWIFT transaction between north and south and institutional (major) media outlets have fallen in line. Rest are in shock and awe to some extent.

But not twitteratis in the region and some Muslim nations amid others in the wider conflict zone having chosen priorities: Middle East.

The COVID pandemic has reached the resource-rich region and Kashmir also –there was already decades-old pandemic of self-determination like in Palestine.

It’s been a too long hot summer of discontent in the world’s third pole where glaciers are also melting.

The Himalayas is the water tower for 1.6 billion population.

It needed attention yesterday.

However, since a year now there, the proverbial long hot summer (not Summer of ’42) has taken a Gotham font script: the annexation, the lockdown, the killing field, the demographic changes, melting glaciers, specter of false flags, etc. make Kashmir seem pregnant with unintended intended consequences, independent observers say.

This is no Papa: Hemingway in Cuba. Or a Bosnia or a Palestine script, but closer to “I’ve a dream” in bold capital letters, “can’t be ignored,” these observers say.

Hope world leaders will take their COVID-19 mask off and think. An analyst (S M Ali) tells us “Kashmir is ground zero of the new world order”. PM Khan keeps sending peace signals amid “fear of false flags”. His army chief –of a battle-hardened outfit –wants “enduring stability”. US says Pakistan’s equity in the region against war on terror will be protected. PM Modi it appears wants to stretch the too long hot summer in Kashmir.

We ought to rename “long hot summer” as “Kashmir” –branding perfumes and Cashmere shawl notwithstanding.

Wonder if we all are looking at things upside down.