Kashmir: A Heaven Plundered!

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This is about the winter that summer brings

This is for my people

This is what I am living, this is what they live

This is no epistle about the criticism of the issues that the world ignores, about how it won’t talk about the huge terms that trouble the humanity- terrorism or gender inequality. This, rather, is a description of my own life; an illustration of the two lives that I luckily got to spent. I don’t want to start this narration by aphorisms of the ‘GREAT ONES’, I’d rather share a funny incident that happened to me after I came back home for vacation. 

It momentarily made me roll on the floor laughing but then it acquainted me with the harshest truth of my life. But wait, this was not only mine, but every Kashmiri’s. The exclusivity of this humour gave me acrid jitters, the humour that veils the darkest fears of the inhabitants of this vale.

I was relishing a cup of coffee with my sisters sitting on the floor of my room, when suddenly there was an explosive sound that inherently gave my sisters an impression that a grenade had been hurled into our room. One of them jumped on the bed with the cup of tea and split tea all over the bed and burnt her arms. We panicked a little but then ended up laughing for almost an entire day. This seemed like a usual, passing incident.

But the reality struck me hard only later, when I realised that we Kashmiris have lost the capacity to be able to distinguish between an air lock and a bomb blast. Every explosion means a person has died or has been maimed or has been blinded.

I have heard people wailing in mosques – wailing for divine intervention in this state of brute and death, wailing for survival, for life. I wonder how many people who are reading this beseech for such a divine intervention. The helplessness has torn us apart. Every Koshur who has lived these two lives must’ve asked these very questions.       Aren’t we a part of you? Why can’t we be like you? Why can’t our souls have peace? Are these the perks of crowning the ‘oh-so-glorious- country’? Why can’t you see our pain? Has the lust for power blinded you like our eyes are blinded with pellets? Has your judgement died a death like my brothers die on streets?

We want to breath, breath the oxygen of life, of freedom and independence, for all the time we breathe air that has whiffs of tear- gas and chili- powder in it.

We live in the fear of being taken away by the ‘khokh’ of the childhood folklores, for he can take us anytime in the buhuear—gunny bag.

I am a law student from Hidayatullah National Law University, getting to a national university wasn’t just an eye opener for me, it was a way to flee from the smoldering state. Initially, I cribbed like everyone else –

“yath kashaer manz chune kihine”
(There is nothing left in Kashmir)

“milyae kya yath kashaere azaadi”
(Never is Kashmir going to get freedom)

“kar tsale bae yate”
(When will I ever escape this hell? )

The cataclysm had miraged my thinking. I could only see darkness. And why wouldn’t it have been? How can a person know the colorus of the world when the eyes have been blinded by the pellets of ignorance? Its like expecting a person to praise your delicacy after chopping off his tongue.

In the words of Sheikh-ul-Aalam:

Kya kare wodur thoolas,
(What good is a chicken egg to an ostrich?)

Kya kare noolas dhoop,
(what good is the light to an owl?)

Kya kare ponz asulas,
(what good are the rules to a monkey?)

Kya kare anes rouf.
(what good is the silver to a blind man?)

But living away for almost an year juxtapositioned me with the reality…now I know of light!

Now I know what it means to be out on the roads after 6 pm, now I know what it means to gaze at the sunset in reverence, now I know what it means to live without the fear of being shot dead, now I know what it means to see the city lights at 12.00 am, now I know that every explosive sound doesn’t mean that my family is unsafe, it might mean that people are celebrating somewhere, Now I know what it means to live in a city where the streets aren’t washed to clear the blood off off them, now I know what it means to have the liberty to LIVE, no, not the Kashmiri- living, but the actual, real kind — where fear of death doesn’t accompany you every second.

They say in the tussle of two elephants it’s the grass that suffers; it’s the two mammoths fighting and we have become the playground where both are upto making hell out of this heaven in the name of Kashmiriyat. This playground has become the ring of the exhibition of the peaks of human brutality and it is here that loot, rape, death are put to exhibition.

It’s ironic how this ‘integral’ part of India is an epitome of terror, fear and apathy. People outside this vale have schools filled with children, here the schools have become battle fields. Newspapers have stopped talking about news and inventions they are filled with the number of dead, the maimed, the blinded, the paralysed. They tell you about new bullets, new pellets, new chemical weapons and gases. Streets are abandoned and deserted and the few on the streets are always running for their lives.

Coming back home from the flight gave me the vista of the beautiful land that falsely seems to be so placid and unruffled. Coming back to the ground gives an actual picture of the uproar and the tyranny – this fascism has left people in anger and silenced many. People live in dread and in death, intimidated by a million faces of death all the time. Misery and apathy reigns and joy has been obliterated. There seems no end to this melancholy. But I choose to be optimistic for that is what Allah has guided me to do. I believe that the sun will rise again and that the beautiful visage of Kashmiris will shine in joy and glory.

No matter how dark and dismal it seems there is light at the end of this tunnel not the dead.

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