I am here in the later phases of my teenage years, a female Kashmiri about to embark on a journey into a new phase of life. I often reminisce- of what I saw and what I heard as a child. As I sit back and peer into the future, I do think about what life has to offer to a young Kashmiri, making the transition into the adulthood. Albeit hard, I wish to shrug off the past, though it seems to cling to me and to my generation; as of now it’s a routine, the morning racket, out on the streets to hurl stones and abuse the representers of occupation, more stones than sense, more terror, getting pursued, acquiring PSA, hurt, tear-gassed, shot, another mourn, another shot. And now it has become a package of wretchedness, more to offer to Kashmiris by the government, and much more by the questers of Azadi. The faces of young murdered boys, the blood on their shirts, the inflicted bullets on their torso, little less tense, than the fire in their mother’s heart, their grieving fathers, the waiting eyes of their loved ones- these might disappear from the headlines, but they have already found their place in our collective memory. Whilst we don’t know, we remember we have that affright to return home, which in no way has the caliber of being called as “Jannat-e-Benazir”
We did draw a bead on the “mother”, as I envisioned on you when you took oath in 2015 as chief minister. Stitching up the agenda for alliance took couple of days and it wreaked the ray of formal hope to retrieve the situation in Kashmir. You were spotlighted as first woman chief ministerof our state. Being a woman at least, was enough to anticipate the benignity towards the heirs of your own soil, to render the heart to the mother who longs for her son to return home, to salvage the esteem of your own gender and escort the loyalty. And being the Chief Minister, you might try to eradicate the employment of pellets, bullets and tear-gasses, to hark back the lads under PSA, to lieu the truce earlier, to have the peaceful dialogue, to penalize the assaulters and in reality show patriotism to the soil you belong to. Alternatively, you safeguarded the roguery of army and played the blame game with a young child-“ woh baacha army camp mein toffee khane nahi gaya tha“, you deprived a young Insha of her sight, put hundreds of youth to death, blinded, punctured, disabled and put behind the bars, you stayed mum over the subject of that larval Asifa and then you asserted to be steadfast in fealty by exempting the excise duty on property belonging to the girl child. Maam, let me vindicate you; that was not succor nor in anyway the backup of your delusory. You even sharpened the scourge over the situation of your homeland. And now when we saw your concluding press conference after resignation, you could lay out only regurgitated rhetoric about keeping article 370, when you were turning to the ‘just month aged, ceasefire’, you were speaking of a fantasy, and when you ploughed over making the dialogue, I am sure everyone would have expressed mirth. In that conference, you put no light on the development in the state during your tenure, as every sawyer does at the end, or perhaps you knew that there was devastation more than the development in the state during your tenure. As is rightly said by Aga Shahid Ali-“they make desolation and call it peace”.
The biggest irony seen was when you remained numb to the unrest; either you were trussed by the alliance so tightly that you knew if you beetle off, you will fall or the lust to rule was so ascendant that you knew if you hold back, you won’t get another chance to prevail again. And you see now, you haven’t accomplished either. After 36 weeks, BJP infracted the alliance whose agenda wiped out your party’s manifesto of “self-autonomy”. And your lust too remained impassive. Now in this alliance alliance na raha, hukumat hukumat na rahi“ period of your span just ponder over what you did and what you were ought to be? Listen to the cries and sobs of Kashmir, witness the color of blood and pleas of justice, speculate that creating jobs, sending in more troops, merely declaring Kashmir as “enemy-free territory”, placing political leaders under house arrest, mulls over non-lethal way of crowd control confirms your motif of occupying Kashmir, but you never recognized the basic reason why people were fed-up to the extent of throwing stones and abusing you. By focusing on the stone in the hands of the Kashmiri, you managed to erase the brutality of pointed guns in the hand of soldiers who faced them. These extreme methods of repression were not harmonious. Keep in mind that democracy has its limits and one can only ask for so much. Freedom is not the only item on the list. Spilling tears for Shujaat Bukhari won’t have proved as an adequate testimonial to him. He would have felt irenic when you could have given justice to those who asked for it. On this crossroad on which you are standing now you chose not to understand Kashmiris, but tried instead to ‘solve’ or resolve Kashmir. Your strategies werent the best. The simplicity relied on repealing the draconian laws, ending the mistrust of Kashmiri people, accepting that you were chief minister, working with India and Pakistan to open borders and making the nation of Kashmir a reality for Kashmiris.
Just ponder and ponder and listen to the cries! Pain demands to be felt
Rest in Peace!
A young, terrified Kashmiri
Tantray Benish Yousuf
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