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Full toss School of Conflict Management

Full toss School of Conflict Management
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Umair Gul

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And he died. Last week as he taught his students about the notion of peace, he laughed at himself. There is no peace in his life. He is a 28-year-old man now. Born in Kashmir after the rigged elections, he views everything with skepticism. When he was three, a Pandit neighbour girl, showing her palm asked him if she would buy a new house? He, in turn, asserted that govelnal (governor) will give her a new house soon. Two months later she migrated to Jammu. Three years later he would learn from BBC radio that a massacre had been carried in Bijbehara and for years to come he would remember this line

“Diwali becomes blood soaked Holi “.

Two years later as he was waiting for his school bus he saw young Kashmiri boys with AK 47’s casually draped over shoulders walking along with army men. These scenes remain incomprehensible for him, more so as these boys named their group Ikhwan- the brothers, it confused him more. One beautiful morning an Ikhwani joined him and his friends to play cricket. The Ikhwani made all of them bowl. As he and others bowled at him, he kept playing and missing. Another boy slightly elder to him told him to bowl a full-toss so that the Ikhwani would be able to hit it, as the Ikhwani was getting impatient and angry with each ball, otherwise, he could kill them. He missed the full toss too, threw away the bat, picked up his gun and walked away. For quite sometime he would often intentionally bowl a full-toss in every stint of bowling to manage the anger and frustration of batsmen.

The same Ikhwani started a Darasgah in his town. A Darasgah that had a washing machine was fun to study in. As one day he came drunk, helter-skeltering in Darasgah, he asked his students “what is Shariyat?” The kid who answered was given a hundred rupee note. It was fun to study in his Darasgah. One afternoon his school bus was stopped by the same Ikhwani and a doctor killed on the roadside. So, he witnessed his first murder at the age of nine. It was the world cup of 1996, India vs. Pakistan -Bangalore as Waqar Younis got Sachin Tendulkar out caught behind, the Ikhwan camp celebrated by bursting crackers and firing in the air. This confused him more. Who were these people? They kill people. They run parallel Darasgahs. They kill children for not bowling full tosses. They torture people. They had even closed schools, even imposed a ban on his school for few months. But yet they cheer for a People’s cricket team.

Years later a mosque in Iraq was bombarded. Students from other schools barged into his school, wanting them to join the protests that had erupted in response. Suddenly window panes were smashed, as the protestors entered his class. He broke a glass pane of his own class too. This was perhaps his “full-toss” method of anger management. The protesters went away as he himself smashed his own classroom windows.

He remembered a story that had by then become a part of his memory in such a manner that he felt living it. It was 4th of April 1979 when his relatives and family were attacked by a mob of “brothers” or the “Ikhwan”- Quran’s burnt, orchards burnt and windows of their house smashed.

Who were they? Why do people get angry? Why do we smash windows of schools? Why do we burn Qurans?

Full toss school of anger management has answers to offer.

July 2016 — people marched to Bemdoora Kokernag and burnt down houses (read homes), that had sheltered Burhan, alleging something flimsy that every sane mind would dismiss. He kept convincing people that it was wrong to allege and act in a manner that the mob had. But who exactly were the people? Why did they do what they did? A Quran was again burnt there. Is it necessary to offer full-toss?

As he grew up, he learnt that inflicting self-harm and pain is a weapon of oppressed people. When a weak party in a conflict tries to manage conflict in its own little way, it is bound to bowl full tosses at his oppressor. The oppressor may smash it for sixes, get complacent – and miss a full toss one day. This is full toss school of conflict management.

So when he taught conflict management to his students, he knew the futility of teaching in this in a classroom. We practice it in our daily lives. We as a collectivity manage conflicts, we don’t fight them out, we channelize our anger against window panes and for survival we bowl full tosses. We manufacture our own identities and we make scapegoats. He finally understood who he was. A product of few events he had seen and heard. His heart filled with peace. And he lived.

Darasgah...in our times is a room were English medium, convent going kids are forced to go by their grandparents to wash the impurities of convent schooling.

Full-toss… is a ball that is always intended to be bowled as a yorker, fancied by most batsmen,however, is defended by the likes of Azhar Ali.

Shariyat (Sha’riah)… a way of life, dubbed by the West as primitive – and all eastern sinners as impractical and used by eastern academia to earn scholarships in the West.

Author can be reached at umademess@gmail.com

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