The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Beerwah, Dec. 6: Out barnstorming the countryside a day after multiple terror hits to the Valley, chief minister and National Conference spearhead Omar Abdullah spelt out a blunt “no” to any post-poll deal with the BJP.
“That’s not going to happen, people can keep speculating and dreaming about it,” Omar told The Telegraph in an exclusive chat along his roadshow. He was touring his newly adopted rural constituency Beerwah, southwest of Srinagar.
It appears imminent the ongoing elections will throw up a hung Jammu and Kashmir House and there has been speculation in some circles Omar could ally with the BJP, or support its power effort from outside. Omar conceded the mandate may be fractured but said nothing will drive him to an alliance with the BJP, which is making an audacious first-time bid for power in India’s only Muslim-majority state.
The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones – Julius Caesar , William Shakespeare
Hajin (North Kashmir), Dec. 4: Where Kuka Parray is interred an argument still rings between good and evil, between what he was and he was not.
Who’d argue with a daughter whose eyes moisten when she points in the direction of Parray’s grave and lets out a sigh: ” Meray Papa… my father.”
Who’d argue with the fathers and mothers of those that Parray’s men wantonly killed – “that traitor who preyed upon his own”.
Not a blade of grass springs on Parray’s graveside, much less a blossom; and birds don’t alight to sing. For a cage it is where he lies, a padlocked enclosure of mortar and wrought iron filigree erected on his front lawn, a stained general in his cold labyrinth.
He wouldn’t be safe elsewhere in a place under open skies. He denied himself the eternal liberties the way he lived and died.
Between folk singer and folk terror, Kuka Parray became a blistered chapter in Kashmir’s contemporary tales, a chapter nobody fondly recalls but nobody would wish to forget in this neck of the woods.
Handwara (north Kashmir), Dec. 1: Sajjad Lone is walking too many paradoxes to bother finessing them.
His political legacy is separatist but he is pushing for an elected mainstream ledge. His wife Asma is daughter to the Pakistan-based chairman of the JKLF, Amanullah Khan, but she is scurrying tirelessly around town and hamlet canvassing an Assembly seat for her husband.
His shadow ally in this militancy-infested border outpost is the “Hindu nationalist” Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. The taunt that has relentlessly trailed Sajjad’s campaign is: “Jo Modi kaa yaar hai, gaddar hai, gaddar hai (Whoever is Modi’s friend is a traitor, is a traitor).”
But if Sajjad’s adversaries — chief minister Omar Abdullah and challenger Mufti Mohammed Sayeed — believe they are embarrassing the People’s Conference (PC) leader with the Modi link, they are shooting north Kashmir’s grey chill.
Jammu, Nov. 28: Among The Telegraph’s reports on the first torrent of Pandits fleeing the Valley in 1989-90 was the story of a little girl and her grandmother.
They’d been ejected from their Habbakadal home in Srinagar and flung into the disarray of a campsite on Jammu’s outskirts. The girl played with sand in a pit, as she would do with snow; her grandmother hadn’t rid herself of a lifetime’s habit of carrying a kangri (firepot) around.
The Jammu weather didn’t warrant a firepot, so instead of embers she stored in it lozenges for her granddaughter and keys to a faraway house she’d never return to unlock. It’s likely the old lady is no more, the little girl would be a 30-something somewhere. It’s unlikely she’s home.
Kashmir’s Pandits flew frightened and far from the violent aazaadi eruption, like birds off a startled tree. In the 25 years since, they’ve gone everywhere but not back up the Banihal Pass, never to that native tree of theirs.
The horror of departure shivers Raka Khashu after all these years. “I was a schoolgirl and I heard our entire neighbourhood warning us of consequences, from the mosques, from the streets, it was horrific. And then they came home and shot my grandfather dead.”
On Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir casts the first vote in what’s probably its most consequential election in many decades.
The house of the Abdullahs, the first family of Kashmiri politics, is palpably in decline. A new “outsider” claimant to power — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP — is in dramatic surge.
he field is abuzz. Players like Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s PDP and Sajjad Lone’s People’s Conference too are backing themselves in what is the most open contest the state has seen.
It is an election pregnant with implications, for India and for the region. What could it mean if the
BJP were to grab controlling stakes in India’s only Muslim-majority province? How will it impact relations with Pakistan, which occupies one chunk of Kashmir and is deeply and violently enmeshed in the affairs of the part India governs?
There is another, oft ignored, facet that this election could be about, a brutally plucked piece of the riven map of J&K — this is also the 25th anniversary year of the hounding of Kashmiri Pandits from their homes, a calamitous chapter that left a populace adrift and the Valley a radically altered space.
Kashmir’s Pandits restively await the end of exile. Is this election to be the herald of that hour? A status report on India’s unspoken Partition
Mun tu shudam
Tu mun shudi;
Man tan shudam
Tu jaan shudi;
Takas na goyad bod azeen
(I am You and You are me; I am your body, You are my soul; So none should hereafter say, I am someone and You someone else)
So singing out Amir Khusro’s sufi verse, Mohammed Sheikh Abdullah turned to embrace Jawaharlal Nehru, Kashmiri Musalmaan to Kashmiri Pandit, in front of thousands gathered at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk.
It was November 2, 1947; the ink on Kashmir’s accession to India was only a week old. What followed would knock the stuffing off that sublime vow and render it a tattered feast for vultures.
Banihal, Nov. 24: This is an obituary notice that has long required posting: Kashmiriyat is dead.
But never mind, nobody’s shedding tears. Not least the standard-bearers of that celebrated covenant of syncretic concord and peaceable, if not also rich and festive, cohabitation.
A quarter century after they tore ties, suture upon suture, Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits have heckled Kashmiriyat to gory expiry. That achieved, they have dumped its cask and stomped off opposite ways to curse the faith they once together espoused.
The few that insist Kashmiriyat is still alive are stoking wishful rumour, frosted embers at the bottom of a kangri, the signature Kashmiri hotpot. Kashmiriyat? Then you must also believe the “Happy Valley” suffix to Kashmir isn’t a cynically deluded indulgence.
Down opposite sides of the Banihal Pass, up 9,291ft in the Pir Panjal bridgehead between Jammu and Kashmir, has come to prosper a migraine aspiring to become a civil war. If there is a broken truth on earth, it lies here, it lies here, it lies here.
The travesty is, there aren’t a more kindred people likely to be found — they come from common roots and genealogy, they kiss the same soil, eat the same food, speak the same language. But their conversation has become a grisly caterwaul ringing in the depths of the Jawahar Tunnel, a connector that has now become a divide three kilometres long.