Ah Gan Kaak! The Fragility of life in Kashmir and our Duty

 I write with a heavy heart. It is not easy for me what I am going write for  what I will write pertains to a loss- even a personal loss.

 Abdul Gani- the diminutive gardener who worked at the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Institute- was killed in the shoot out that occurred yesterday in the premises of the institute.  I used to call the late Abdul Gani, Gan kaak- fondly , of course.  The recollection that I have of Gan kaak is that of an extremely hard working, honest man who worked for his family; I would always see him working- doing something or the other even when it was not needed. Another vivid recollection that I have is that as I was preparing myself for a Delhi trip to visit my German friends, I asked Gan Kaak, if he could get a box of nice apples for my friends.  Lo and presto, the very next day, Gan Kaak got the huge box of delicious apples for me- the very finest and the very best. Gan Kaak, had had to walk a great distance to fetch and the carry the apples for me; he was a small man , yet he had carried the load and I had to fight with him to give him the money. Since then, when I would go out for a smoke, Gan Kaak  would look at me  sheepishly and smile and I’d know what he wanted without him uttering a word. “ Gan Kaak, cigarette?, “ I would ask” . He would look downward and embarrassedly accept.

 Now, Gan Kaak is no more.

 The conflict in and over Kashmir has snatched him from us.

 Life in Kashmir is so frail and fragile!

 I have no doubt that Gan Kaak must have been shot while he was working. He was an honest, hard working man. May Allah grant him the highest degree of Paradize.

 I would now like to make a broader point and the point is neither political , nor economic nor anything else. It is social and the social responsibility that we owe to victims of gratuitous violence. While news items and news papers in Kashmir carry news about killings and deaths in Kashmir, they are a mere statistic there. But the loss is real and palpable for the victims and especially their families.  Consider Gan Kaak. We will all feel sad for him. I will write an obituary but within a couple of days all will be forgotten but the pain will be deep for those that Gan Kaak has left behind- his family. We must as a society with a moral conscience not forget Gan Kaak and his family.  This applies not to just Gan Kaak and his family but victims of cruel fate like him. We must make a collective endeavor to reach out to families of such victims. The obvious way is to help them live lives of dignity and respect. What this means is obvious. Let’s make a start with Gan Kaak-the poor, hard working, honest man – of great integrity and let this set the ball rolling. This is the least we can do. And Gan Kaak, I have cigarette in my fingers as I write. I so wish you’d be with us and you would give an opportunity to give a cigarette to you. Rest in Peace, Gan Kaak!

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