Yesterday, I had been to a bazar where they were trading in horse.
A lot of people were there, some selling, some buying, some just looking around. Mr. Sharad Pawar was there, looking very pleased with himself. A regular at pleased with himself but he was he trading himself but he was trading his entire party. I thought that was very generous.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah was there, looking like he had just given a TV interview to M. J. Akbar in which he had explained in which circumstances exactly horse trading was not onlynot bad but was actually good both for horse racing and for the stability and intergrity of the nation. The same regular bazargoer told me that, after the doctor had completed his horse trading, which he actually ahd, he was going to ask all the people in the Srinagar and Jammu bazars, above the age of 21, whether they approved of the horse he had traded or not.
I thought that was very fair and just and exactly how all horse trading should be done.
There was also Mr. Rajiv Gandhi. I mean, for a minute, I did not recognise him, because he was wearing a Kashmiri cap, but it was him all right. You could not mistake that smile, it is the one he has when he thinks, or his dwindling number of advisers tell him, that he has traded a bad horse for a good horse.
The whole bazar was filled with horse traders. The regular bazargoer told me that Indian bazar were tamous for this sort of trade. What was good for the bazar, for its general economy, for the welfare of the people staying in the bazar, was secondary to the horse trading.
I spend some time at Mr. Pawarâ€™s stall. He had been there for a long time last year, and the year before that, and all of this year. He had been trying to trade horses all this time, then withdrawing them, then trying to trade them again, then finding there were no buyers. Finally, he had found Mr. Gandhi, a buyer who made transactions and signed agreements without second thoughts.
Mr. Gandhi, of course, had the biggest stall in the bazar. He had so many horses to trade and his market extended from Kashmir to Kerala.
Most of the horses had names, though some were still to be given names. One of them was called chief minister of Kashmir, which was fine. Another was called chief minister of Maharashtra, which was odd. Because there was already another horse - well, not exactly a horse - which was called chief minister of Maharashtra.
When I remarked on this to the regular bazargoer, he shrugged his shoulders and said: â€śIn love, war and horse trading, all is fair.â€ť