During eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, an intestinal parasite called Chhyot Kyom was endemic in Kashmir. Its modus operandi is similar to common intestinal parasites: it makes its way into the human entrails via contaminated water. Of all endoparasites—protozoans, flukes and helminths—which create havoc internally, this one makes its host’s unease a public spectacle. The infected person could not just sit still, as if a bucketful of red ants had been let loose on his naked body, and all were headed to his arsehole. The worm is part of the local folklore. Hence the expression amis chhu chakji manz Chhyot Kyom, he has Chhyot Kyom up his ass, is commonly meant to show displeasure at someone’s inability to stop behaving like an asshole. In this regard, it would be pertinent to mention the not-so-insignificant detail that the worm used to anchor itself, strategically, near the anal opening.
The nineteenth century scourge has currently chosen the members of a growing tribe called Roots in Kashmir-Panun Kashmir Complex. It is a pity that this tribe has to be introduced to the reader as the one that is in the vice-like grip of a puny sucker whose abode is shit. But unlike the locomotory discomfort felt by the eighteenth century victim, the RIK-PK patient exhibits a unique four-word symptom: “What about Kashmiri Pandits?” Any mention of the suffering of Kashmiris and this group springs up with “What about Kashmiri Pandits?”
One hundred and sixty boys killed by CRPF troopers: “What about Kashmiri Pandits?”
A newspaper article explaining how the Indian government wanted to keep the seditious corpse of Afzal Guru in the prison: “What about Kashmiri Pandits?”
Weather is pleasant in Kashmir: “What about Kashmiri Pandits?”
Dal Lake freezes…
Recently an experimental piece of writing appeared in a magazine. It was about the disrupted sex life and anxieties of a couple living in a joint family that has been besieged by Indian troops enforcing curfew. In the feedback section, an RIK-PK trooper had written the customary “What about Kashmiri Pandits?” Another reader, perhaps unaware of the context, had innocently replied, “Who are Kashmiri Pandits? Do they envy the fate of this unfortunate couple?”
Word spread around that Attila the Hun of eighteenth century epidemiology running amok at the ass tips of the RIK-PK tribesmen is responsible for their hyper-reactive behavior. The RIK-PK parliament convened to prepare a response.
“We can very well use the Chhyot Kyom argument against these circumcised Islamist bastards. Isn’t ‘We want freedom’ like our ‘what about Kashmiri Pandits’? Their Chhyot behavior predates ours,’ ” said one.
“But the Chhyot Kyom that has turned them crazy about Azadi is original. That fucking Dogra Maharaja literally sowed it in their asses organically. You know how? He looted and exploited them dry, resulting in miserable poverty leading to poor living conditions leading to poor hygiene leading to Chhyot Kyom,” the wisest among them lectured.
“Dogras had tried some ingenious ways to annihilate these bastards, like drown them in Wullar Lake by the hundreds when a severe famine had left the state granary nearly empty. You see, the Chhyot Kyom in their non-vegetarian butts has history written all over it. While as our Chhyot Kyom is a mutant, half-patriotic, half-reactive monster. We have deliberately allowed it to be installed in our rear out of spite. And worst of all, if you put our Chhyot Kyom under a magnifying glass, you will see the mark of those dimwit Bajrangis all over its hairless surface. It is a pity that our asses, cent percent aboriginal and authentic, have to rely on an imitation worm to agitate us,” he said.
“But this is not the only thing we have tried. We occasionally hire Bajrangis to wreck their protests and beat the shit out of them,” the foot soldier said.
“Shut up, you idiot. We worship Saraswati. The Bajrangis offer their services willingly once in a while,” the wise man said, suppressing a smile.
“Whatever they say, ‘what about Kashmiri Pandits’ will stay our slogan, war cry and rallying point.”
“We also came up with Our Moon Has Blood Clots,” the foot soldier persisted.
“Come on, the book is tantamount to saying “What about Kashmiri Pandits?” non-stop for eight days. It makes no difference whether you say four words or write a 1000-page tome to say the same thing. I believe the book is like Chhyot Kyom sending us on a marathon itching fit. Oh shit, I too am getting used to this Chhyot stuff. Fuck off. The parliament is disbanded,” the wisest of them roared.
Circa 2413, a RIK-PK guy’s soul is being washed with amrit in Indralok before being dispatched to the earth in his seventh installment of life. In the earlier lives, he has been born as a bull, lizard, dung beetle, skunk, fox and Jagmohan. Rest of the tribe is receiving the same treatment. They too have entered and left the bodies of various organisms, but all of them have been Jagmohan once. Not that gods liked this uniformity. The tribe had desired so.
The scene is sombre. Souls are being prepared for rebirths. But by now 330 million gods and goddesses had despaired of granting the RIK-PK Complex another chance to occupy and leave bodies for the sole purpose of sabotaging the undying thirst for Azadi. The pantheon had already been distracted by the commotion of hundreds of millions of corrosive souls of Sanghis and Bajrangis and wanted to get rid of these saboteurs. They had tried to send them in noble vessels like Gandhi’s and Kabir’s but failed miserably as the tribe could not progress beyond “What about Kashmiri Pandits?”
“What about Kashmiri Pandits?” had become the four-letter word in the divine world in the most vulgar sense. In anger, the pissed-off devtas had re-stuffed them into the bodies of Jagmohan and some one-eyed Rashtriya Rifles Major. Then suddenly, the celestial informer-cum-advisor, Naarad, materialised and advised gods to grant the RIK-PK tribe another birth in the noble body of Prem Nath Bazaz.
“Naarad Muni, aap dhanya ho,” Lord Indra said.
“But please send out a request to Bramha Ji so that His Lordship ensures the birth cry of these rotten souls this time around is “What about Azadi?” Naarad Muni hastened to add.
Some natures don’t change. The Chhyot Kyom has not only turned malignant but incurable, divinity notwithstanding. The RIK-PK groupies were now using Bazaz Sahab’s personality to further what-about-Kashmiri-Pandits agenda. The soul of Bazaz Sahab, hijacked by the RIK-PK tribe, was last seen at Amarnath Cave petitioning Lord Shiva for deliverance.