A Kashmir policy with Baltistan, owls and chickens

Aug 20, 2016 11:22 PM IST

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

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

Balochistan has been the game-changer(AFP)
Balochistan has been the game-changer(AFP)

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


    The PM’s speech in Toronto contained the analogy that while India and Canada growing separately would be a2 + b2, when joined together in friendship they would be (a+b)2 which equals a2 +2ab+b2, with the synergy giving an extra 2ab.

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