His Orphanhood – A Dark Dismal Secret
The last 71 years have seen Jammu and Kashmir groaning under occupation. However, the last four-and-a-half years have been a real testing time for the whole nation. The biggest irony of our times is that armed struggle has become a taboo while modern states like India unleash violence to curb dissent and systematically use disproportionate force to crush popular resistance. In the garb of a fraud called ‘the rule of law’, the oppressive state’s violence is treated as legitimate and the rationale behind the adoption of violent means by the oppressed is not even acknowledged. Kashmir is one such case.
Whenever I sit with my elders, I hear these stories from them as to how they were tortured, stripped naked, brutalized in gatherings and how innocents were afflicted in the past. Every single story is heartrending.
The trend still continues, maybe with some differences. This worries a lot but, for many, this is the only hope and means left by the oppressor. When I hear a mother’s last call to her teenage son trapped in a fight with Indian soldiers, asking him to remain steadfast, attain martyrdom and promising to pay any debts the about-to-die son might leave behind unsettled, it is heartbreaking. This is not an ideal situation. I never expected this from any Kashmiri mother, but then, as Nelson Mandela says, “A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle, and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor. At a certain point, one can only fight fire with fire.”
So this is what the invader’s aggression against Kashmiris and its policies has produced; a more resilient, battle-hardened and ready-to-die Kashmiri. Countless deaths in the wake of this cycle of violence is a worrisome situation, but at the same time offers hope that one day the oppressor and its supporters in the wider world would be jolted to realize the truth and accept it. India has used every technology available to subjugate the Kashmiri nation. It’s use of bullets, pellets, tear smoke and pepper shells, torture centres, intelligence agencies like NIA and jails like Tihar; all have failed to suppress the Kashmiri struggle for self-determination. These agonies and torments have created so many stories which, if penned down, will consume big volumes of an encyclopedia. Unfortunately, the written documentation of these types of distressed stories has been very less. Being one of the inhabitants from this anguished land, I too am presenting a story I recently discovered.
Every day, at the finale of my C-Programming class, one of my students used to say loudly, “Sir! I’m getting late. I’ve to catch the train.” But one day during the class I told him to meet me later. As I left the class, he followed me and came towards me. I straightaway asked him, “What is your problem? Every day you keep ranting that you are getting late! Why don’t you take a room on rent here?” He replied that his family was not in a condition to afford a rented room for him and thus he prefers to travel 40 km to reach his home daily. Next, I asked him about his father’s profession and the reply by this tender soul shocked me. “Sir, both of my parents have left”, he murmured in a grim voice. Putting up a seemingly unchanged face, I asked for the reason behind their death, “Were they sick or ………….?.” “No sir, brutal ikhwanis martyred them during their era”, his voice was falling, but he carried it on. “One day after passing my 7th class, I was given the marks sheet. I was astonished to see that it was not displaying the names of my father and mother whom I lived with. I went to my teachers to ask them about the discrepancy but, to my utter confusion, they avoided giving an answer. I went home to ask my father the same. He, instead of uttering a single word, started crying loudly. A dark dismal secret was going to be unravelled; I was their adopted son.”
This is the bruised nation where a boy comes to know after 14 years that he is an orphan. This is just one story which I discovered unintentionally during my lecture. How many such stories are yet untold?
The author is a blogger and works as a Guest-lecturer at Government Polytechnic College Kulgam. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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