Friday, January 29, 2016

Commentary - His Father's Son

The incumbent chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, died of multi-organ failure on 7th January 2016. He wasn’t ailing as such, except for the last bout of illness that lasted for less than a month. So, though he was almost 80 when he died, his death was rather unexpected. 

His political heir was supposed to be his daughter, Mehbooba Mufti. And she seems to be buying time before taking over. Very likely, she is playing patience, to make the BJP jittery. BJP could never think of ruling JandK, certainly not on its own. Though the National Conference had allied with BJP earlier, it was during Vajpayee’s tenure. Vajpayee era is now a distant past. So if Mehbooba’s PDP snaps ties with BJP, it will be back to opposition for BJP. PDP, NC and Congress can play all the possible permutations and combinations without any hassle. 

So far, it seemed to be a tale of political one-upmanship. But in a true filmi style, the twist in the tale has become apparent. Mehbooba’s younger brother, who had kept himself completely away from politics so far, has been introduced to the party. And he has started speaking politicalese with real ease. This interview is enlightening in more ways than one.

It re-underlines the Indian reality that politics is primarily a fiefdom of the incumbents, irrespective of the eligibility of the new entrant. In this case, Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, is an established cinematographer, known for Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Omkara’ and ‘Kaminey’. For all known records, Tassaduq had crafted a career far away and far different than his father and sister. Furthermore, in this case Mehbooba is already well-entrenched in politics. So why did she feel the need to introduce her brother? Is it a manifestation of the male-dominant society? Or is it the kind of insecurity that gripped Indira Gandhi and made her install Sanjay (and later Rajiv)?

Read the interview, and you realize that Tassaduq is making mundane and inane noises and nothing more. In a true ‘political’ style, he has spoken a lot without saying anything.

One dumb question – if Tassaduq is prevented (for whatever reason/s) from working as a Cinematographer, can he install one of his family members to replace him?

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