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When Political Collaborators Met Their Nemesis


  And Thugs Met Nemesis



In our childhood there were lots of political thugs in the city- perhaps villages also had their bit. For enjoying the patronage of a Caesar of hubris in power this lawless band of political hoodlums could be compared to the black hand of early twentieth century America, except they did not operate in secret but with the full knowledge of cops- including the super cop. This criminal syndicate indulging in cheating, extortion and intimidation of the voices of dissent operated all over the city with a license.

Faces of some these thugs for their demeanor- a way of looking and behavior roll before my eyes even after almost five decades like images inside a bio-scope. On my way for tuition to the Unique Academy at Zaina Kadal, one of the busiest marketplaces crowded with Tonga, I often spotted a couple of these known political goons sitting on a shopfront or the backseat of a Tonga puffing cigarettes cascading air around with cannabis aroma. One of them a hefty Tonga driver donned in what has now been popularized by Bollywood films as   ‘Pathani Suit,’ ivory colored ‘Pakol cap,’ and golden thread   Peshawari chappal was evil personified. He was known for thoul  – bull like a head fight.  For creating fear in the society, they harassed and humiliated the nobles and the voices of political dissent at the behest of top political thugs heading the ruling party.   In return, the gang had a license to seduce the shoppers from the rural areas visiting wholesale markets at Zani Kadal and Maharaja Gung into a Teen Patti (flash) card game and looted them of every penny, including their belongings like Chadar and then thrash them.  In those lawless days, even the officers of the Police Stations and government functionaries approached these hoodlums for favors – including “coveted.” Postings.

Every locality of the capital city had its share of these hoodlums and thugs. To spread fear amongst the people, they are swaggered like tyrant Halaku across the streets and humiliated the most respected in the locality in full public gaze. The powers that be, not only protected these political thugs but also accorded them social legitimacy by recognizing them as zee-azat shahari. I do remember as a child has seen two prominent political thugs introduced at a musical evening at Badamwari to Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru as Mufti-I- Shahar and Qazi-ul-Shahar.  Nehru with great respect shook hands with them.

Plagued with the arrogance of power it never crossed the minds of these thugs nor their masters that tidal waves of people’s power are potent enough to wash away even the citadels of power like drifts of wood down the highland streams.

On 27 December 1963  everything around had frigid, and the city ‘was under the spell of a winter so fierce it could crack men’s bones as if they were glass.’ The thugs and their masters were still snoring under heavy quilts little realizing that bells of their doom were tolling. There were announcing that their empire of arrogance was about to crumble and it was just hurling of a Kanger away. Hundreds of thousands of people like swelling waves arrived into the city and inundated the minions of the Cesare of hubris like drifts of the wood. The political thugs that for over decade had inflicted pain on fellow citizens and insulted the respected ones evaporated like ether from the public life- never seen again. The majority of them not only died in anonymity but also had miserable deaths.  The end story of the top Czar of hubris, who out of share arrogance of power is so unpleasant and horrible that I dare not put in words. The very idea shudders me down the spine.

The stories of these thugs meeting their nemesis may not go into the pages, but these are fresh even a whole generation to this day.

In Printed Version unfortunately some typos had persisted-  sorry for that.

Published in Greater Kashmir on 23-10-2016

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