The dark side

​As i drove towards the Jamia Masjid, the guards at the checkpoint in Hawal wouldn’t let people pass. It’s futile to talk sense into the concertina wire tenants. Somethings don’t change, as much as we try. I parked my car nearby. 

With my torn shoes, I paced my walk as it was getting late to reach the grand mosque. The cold winter breeze, the smell of a jackboots and the sound of children playing with plastic ball cricket. 

A biker had made his way through the serpentine alleys of Srinagar. I asked him for a lift, and he readily stopped. In Kashmir, due to the strike public transport has been halted. But somehow people manage, Kashmiris have been in a haal since the times they were occupied by the Mughals. This state or haal is a belief espoused by a statement ‘khudayas haawal’ whereby people believe that everything will be alright. 

The kind man had to stop at another checkpoint. He told the soldier “defense accounts”. To my utter surprise he was employed in the accounts department of the Indian army. But he was cussing the soldiers badly. He said “Our time will come too”. 

I had no right to judge him for what people would call him a hypocrite. But in the complexities and dichotomies in this occupation, everyone is somehow part of a status quo system. So the only people that are deemed as ‘collaborators’ are those who sign death/arrest sheets or those who cover up mass rapes. Those who come between justice basically. 

The kind man dropped by the gates of Jamia. I thanked him. 

Right outside the gate a small kid who wasn’t even taller than my knee was shooting stones with a precision of a scud onto the electricity pole. 

I walked down the slope. The echoes of prayers recited by Yaseen Sahab in his heartrending voice. The earthiness of this grand old mosque that has withstood history and witnessed it for the last seven hundred years. Despite different eras of foreign rule caging it and turning it into horse stable, it has withstood the pain and weathered the suffering much like the people that pray inside it’s high walls. When you walk into this mosque, you’re part of its history. 

Suddenly, a voice shook me from behind. The same kid along with a few inches taller kid had stopped an Indian labourer who was passing through the mosque. They heckled him. I walked towards them and asked them to let him go, “he’s a human and a Muslim too”. They stopped. But they asked if he were a Muslim. 

The boys left him alone, the labourers from India have also been witnesses of tyranny since the uprising began. Unlike India, where every now and then, Kashmiris especially students are targeted in attacks. So they understand the context of this uncouth behaviour. 

The boys surround me, ask me didn’t his country kill our brothers and blinded them with pellets. I told them, “We cannot be what they are, what will the difference be between us and them”. 

As soon as I finished my sentences, Mirwaiz passed by, the kids ran after his car. Mirwaiz was released after twenty weeks of detentions and prison. 

I entered the gates of the grand mosque. And said to myself these kids have grown up in an environment of hate. The hate that they see when the forces raid in the dark of the night. They ransack homes. Or when they witness their elder brothers or the kids in the neighbourhood who are killed or blinded. The frequent teargassing, the smoke they inhale and it becomes part of their blood stream. 

I remember sometime back a kid would wet his bed in the night at the very knock of a door at night. 

The sufferings of these children have gone unnoticed. Their innocence has been outraged even before they could’ve been just ordinary children. Their lives are also part of the human geography in Kashmir, they have defined this conflict. 

But how many more generations will be stifled into the dark side of this conflict. I don’t have an answer to that. But the fact is that we cannot stop trying, we must not push the absence of their laughter and smiles into a permanence. 

The conflict kills and the killings of the inner human being are numerous. Healing can only begin through justice and an end to this mindless war waged on the human beings in Kashmir. 

Trump and the Apocalyptic Kashmiri

download

Last night when India’s Prime Minister Modi rendered 500 & 1000 rupee notes useless. Apparently this is being done to check black money influx in the Indian Economy. A very Tughlaqesque initiative.

In Kashmir, like every other big event. People see it as the end. With people making frantic calls about this ‘atomic bomb’ being unleashed, the consequences unforeseen. Everyone has turned into an economist.  Read more

Snatch (Thap)

995-q0y6d-st-138

Over the last 100 days, almost 9000 Kashmiris have been detained/arrested in what is believed to be the largest crackdown on protests in history. Such is the fear of the arrests, that mothers warn their children of a possible thap (snatch in Kashmiri) by the authorities.

In the ancient times, a tyrant king ruled over Egypt. A prophecy was made that a boy will be born in a Jewish family who will rise against the King and defeat him. Shocked, the King killed every single boy born to a Jewish mother. The newly borns were informed upon and later they were slaughtered by the King’s army.

A few days ago in a neighbourhood in Srinagar, the police raided the houses with ladders to break in to the houses. The detention spree is so widespread, that many parents have sent their kids out of Kashmir, and some have gone underground. In these cases, the police usually detain the father so as to blackmail the kids into surrender.

Read more

Digital India’s Genocide Poem

Earlier today, a poem was posted by the official government of India’s Twitter Handle which calls for genocide of Kashmiris.

 

 

Here’s a translation:

Digital India called it ‘Heights of Patriotism’

Darwaazey pe kundi maaro Koyee Naa bach ke jaaney paaye army ko samjha do firing ghalti se Bhi rukh Na paaye

Lock the doors, nobody should come out alive, army should be made to understand, that don’t stop firing even out of mistake

Daba daba Jo feel Karey woh jaake bomb goli gatak le …Aur jis ko nahi rehna yaha woh Pakistan jaake bhains charaye..

Keep pumping the ammo, so that they can digest bombs and bullets, and those who don’t want to stay, can go to Pakistan to feed cows

bas aaj ki baat hai kal se to nayee shuruwaat hai. jee bhar ke thok lo bhaaiyo naa ghar waaley inke baap hai.

It’s just today, tomorrow is a new beginning, shoot them wholeheartedly, you’re the father (of Kashmiris)

yaha par apna raaj hai dar ne ki kya baat hai ye to bas shuruwaat yeh to bas shuruwaat hai….

It is our reign here, so don’t fear… this is just the beginning, just the beginning

arey abhi to goli shuru huwee hai… arey abhi to goli shuru huwee hai… baad mein naa kehna kuch bhi pehle hi de do warning vande maataram kehna hoga every in the morning.

The bullets have just started… the bullets have just started… don’t say this later, to give us warning, you will have to say vande mataram every morning

suuchna janhith mein jaari jis ko apni jaan pyaari chup chaap vo chauk pe aaye . chauk pe aake jan gan man gaaye nakhre vakhre yaha naa dikhaye

The announcement has been made in public interest, those who love their lives, should come to the square and sing the Jana Gana Mana (Indian anthem), don’t throw your tantrums here

 

The tweet was later deleted. But screenshots have been taken, as of now no apologies have been issued.

Thanks to @Syedakhanz for the translation.

A mother’s unfulfilled wish

​”Lajya mye’an wean’s”  (May my life be yours) a dua which is on the lips of every Kashmiri mother.

 
My mother like any other mother, just said the same dua on a phone call. Basit’s mother flashed in my mind. I could see her still eyes when she saw her son laid on a bed that she didn’t prepare. Her still face mustering all her courage, trying to not give away any emotion. She was fixing his shroud with her hands. 

For 23 years, she held him next to her bosom. Cried when he got hurt, stayed awake for nights when Basit was ill. Made sure he ate his meals (Kashmiri mothers make sure of this), and watched him as he left to his school on the first day. For the next decade waited for him to come back from school. 


She must have said this dua for him too. I am sure. But tonight when she spreads the Dasrarkhwaan, she will have an empty extra plate, the one Basit always would eat from. Would she step into his room, and smell his clothes. 
There’s no greater pain for a mother to lose her child. You see, In Kashmir, sons and daughters are raised like grooms and brides. Like any mother, she would have had a dream of him being successful and marrying him off. The benchmark of ultimate happiness… 
Everything has been snatched from her. Her son, her dreams for him, his own dreams. A life. 
Imagine the pain of the mothers, of their slaughtered children. How harrowing must it be to bid adieu to what they loved more than their own lives. 
May Allah protect our children and our parents…there’s just pain and agony in every corner of my country, may no mother witness this, may no father have to carry his son’s lifeless body to the graveyard…