Photo Story: Eisa Fazili’s room recalling his memories
It was 08 April, Sunday; I was sleeping on my cozy bed as it was dark and raining outside. I had no plan to go anywhere. I was feeling exhausted as I had returned from a week long hectic journey a day before. So, my plans were to stay at home with my family.
After taking breakfast, I started to read newspaper. Suddenly my phone rang and it was my friend. After asking about my well being, he enquired about my schedule for that day. I asked if everything was alright, he replied in a sober tone, “A photo story on Eisa Fazili, a slain militant, has to be done. I have already talked to the family so if you can visit his home to document Eisa’s belongings?” As the name ‘Eisa’ struck my ears, without giving any second thoughts I agreed. Having differences with his mode of resistance at its own place, but one cannot deny his valiant decision of choosing bed of thorns over bed of roses. The name was enough to trigger me to kick aside blanket. Instantly my fatigue and exhaustion evaded. I kicked the bike and all along the way I was recalling that fateful morning full of mourning when I witnessed the largest funeral of a militant in Srinagar after nearly a decade.
Hailing from Soura area of Srinagar city, Eisa Fazili was a student of B Tech at BGSB University, Rajouri. During his studies he joined the militant ranks in August last year. It was on 12th March 2018 when Eisa along with his two associates was killed in a pithy gunfight with Indian troops at Hakoora Village of Anantanag district of South Kashmir. The news was broke out by Eisa’s father, Naeem Fazili through his facebook post.
A month had passed. As I entered the house atmosphere was calm, silence and of course desolate. I introduced myself to the family and the brother of slain militant took me to Eisa’s room where the scenes were totally different from what I had imagined.
Before entering into the room I was expecting Eisa’s room to be full of Islamic books as Islam has been one of the major motivating factors of militants to fight against the oppression. But while seeing his library, it was full of books of all kinds ranging from IT, mathematics to engineering.
Eesa’s room was refreshing the memories and recalling his journey. The room was not different from that of other students; the photographs of his school group were hoarding on the walls. His school uniform was hanging in the corner of a room and few prizes that Fazili had won during his academic journey were displaying his achievements in life. The paintings and sketches which he had made during his studies in Burn Hall School were pasted on the wall of the room.
His chair and a table in front of it was waiting for his arrival.
While leaving the house I found that Almighty Allah has given patience to the family. Despite such a great loss family showed utmost hospitality which is now missing in people living particularly in posh areas. One of the family members said, “He was a great gift for Fazili family and we cannot forget him till our last breath.”
Here are few pictures recalling his memories.
(Sharafat Ali 24, is a photographer based in Kashmir. Currently freelancing with various organizations and studying at Aks School of Photography and Visual Journalism. Sharafat was awarded the Ian Parry Scholarship in 2017, won the first prize in the 72nd College Photographer of the Year competition in documentary category. He also won a nominee award at the 2017 PhotograVphy grant. In year 2018 he was accepted in the final list of nominees for World Press Photo Joop Swart master classes.)