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A Kashmir policy with Baltistan, owls and chickens

From now on, anybody talking about Kashmir will have to talk about Balochistan and Baltistan

columns Updated: Aug 20, 2016 23:22 IST
Balochistan has been the game-changer
Balochistan has been the game-changer(AFP)

Me: Sir, the situation in Kashmir is getting from bad to worse. What is our Kashmir policy?

Official: Have you heard of Balochistan?

Me: A place next to Bostan?

Official: What?

Me: Bostan, sir, in the north-eastern part of the USA; where they had the Bostan tea party.

Official: Balochistan is in Pakistan. And do you know where Baltistan is?

Me: Balti….Is it the place you go to after kicking the bucket?

Official: No, it too is occupied by Pakistan.

Me: Stans within stans, eh?

Official: What do you think is common to both these places?

Me: Ummm….they end in stan?

Official: And?

Me: They both start with Bal? Named after Bal Thackeray, perhaps?

Official: No. The people in both these places love our prime minister.

Me: Oh wow.

Official: And therein lies our Kashmir policy. From now on, anybody talking about Kashmir will have to talk about Balochistan and Baltistan.

Read: If Alice had come to the Wonderland that is India

Me: Brilliant. It’s a real name-changer.

Official: You mean game-changer. But there’s more to it. You remember when the present government took office, we invited the Pak prime minister?

Me: Yes.

Official: That was to make our policy look dovish.

Me: But wasn’t there some unpleasantness with the Pak envoy talking to separatists?

Official: That was to make it look hawkish.

Me: I see.

Official: Then we decided separatists could talk to Pakistan. Also our foreign minister visited the place.

Me: Was that dovish or hawkish?

Read: Friends, Indians, countrymen, lend me your ears

Official: It was owlish.

Me: Ah, as blind as an owl.

Official: No, blind as a bat, wise as an owl.

Me: And what about Kashmir?

Official: Oh that was sorted out with the PDP-BJP government in the state. Guess what that was?

Me: A marriage of convenience?

Official: Certainly not.

Me: A neither-fish-nor-fowl policy?

Official: No. When it happened, it was also hailed as a game-changer.

Me: More of a cliff-hanger now, right? Or is it a clear-and-present-danger?

Official: Not at all. To continue with the story, the prime minister then visited Pakistan.

Me: That was dovish.

Official: Not really. More high-tea and hugs-ish.

Me: And then there were the terrorist attacks.

Official: Yes, we first blew hot.

Read: Getting the mathematics right on world peace

Me: Wonderful.

Official: And then blew cold.

Me: Lovely. Getting that ISI agent to investigate the Pathankot attack, that really took the cake.

Official: In fact, that was the icing on the cake. What do people think when they see you’re mad as a wet hen one day, a lame duck another day, a sitting duck another?

Me: That you’re fond of bird similes but are cleverly concealing the ‘running around like a headless chicken’ one?

Official: We call it masterly confusion. They will be completely unbalanced, wouldn’t know what’s coming next. We’ve got them totally off guard. And the Baluchistan thing will add to the confusion.

Me: Fantastic. This will solve the Kashmir problem?

Official: If it doesn’t, there are always pellet guns.


Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint

The views expressed are personal