Dated 2019-04-23

Hello, Baig Sahab!

This letter is a sequel of sorts to Ajaz-ul-Haque’s Greater Kashmir Sunday column and the response to it by Muzaffar Hussain Baig whose panegyric on Modi earned him widespread ire and ridicule, especially in Kashmir.

How are you, Baig sahab? Fine, by the grace of Modiji, I’m sure. Congratulations, you’ve scared the hell out of Greater Kashmir (GK) – our premier English daily. You see I decided to write a riposte to your lies, whataboutery, threats and sanctimoniousness. Your response to Ajaz-ul-Haque’s Sunday column was a wholesome package of all of that. But you know what? I was told by GK to “leave it.” Leave it? I was in no mood to leave it. So when I was denied a space there, I thought lemme use this li’l space here.

You and I have something in common, Baig sahab. I also treat Ajaz-ul-Haque (and GK too) with compassion. That you could shut up a media empire and its leading columnist with an obnoxious piece of scribble says an awful lot about the place we inhabit. It says an awful lot about you as well.

In your response letter, you have enumerated four options you had after reading Ajaz-ul-Haq’s Shame Unlimited. If I were you, I’d have added a fifth one: dig a hole and bury myself in it.

When I was done with your blabber, my belief that you can be terribly mediocre and yet make it big in life through sycophancy and sucking-up was reinforced.

Please take a look at the video that set off this whole controversy and you’ll realize how excruciatingly over the top you went. I think even Modi could see through the charade. Your revelations that Modi was the alchemist for all the ills besetting modern India was not digested even by his cabinet ministers and party men present there. Look at how Arun Jaitley face-palmed. What else could that poor guy have done? It was far too hot even for him to handle. As if he felt like saying: bas karo, yaar, bahut hogaya. 

When you said “Modi could be the man of this millennium,” I think you had a memory lapse for, not long ago, you wrote a highly critical letter to him, lashing out at religious intolerance under his watch. On several occasions, you were highly critical of PDP-BJP coalition and tried to mount pressure on the father-daughter duo to disengage from it.

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But then, at Venkaiah Naidu’s farewell ceremony (as central minister), in one act of sycophantic brilliance, Baig sahab, you made a Gandhi, Lincoln, Einstein and Newton out of Modi – and all of that without batting an eyelid. You were so ridiculously confident in your ignorance and dishonesty.

Cut to 2010 uprising. What you enacted on the farewell ceremony is your second act of super-servility that I’ve watched on television.

In 2010, NDTV’s Barkha Dutt had a series of We The People done on and around the banks of Dal Lake and you were a panelist on one of those shows. You were in the opposition and your party was baying for Omar Abdullah’s blood – and rightly so. That, during your party’s current coalition tenure, it went a few notches further than what the Omar-led NC-Cong alliance did in 2009-10 is another story.

Barkha asked you an uncomfortable question to which you apparently had no answer and what followed was hilarious and tragic at the same time. Suddenly, paeans for Barkha came rolling off your lips. Sycophancy came to your rescue and I knew here was a man who knew how to come out of a difficult situation. It was very similar to what you did this time, albeit, it also looked pretty flirtatious – something that wasn’t lost on Barkha either. You looked under the weather a bit which obviously emboldened you to reel off that poetic prose in the honour of the star anchor.   With a mild smile on her lips, all she could do was move on to another panelist.

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Maybe on that day, you treated Barkha too with some compassion. I think compassion is your greatest virtue. But, milord, you need to spare some of it for your begum who moves around hurling death threats at people like a mafia hood.

B TW, have you seen Coppola’s The Godfather? Lemme know, please. Maybe, then, we can take this thread a li’l further.

Compassionately Yours,

Shabir Hussain,

Editor, Kashmir Newsline

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