The city was left behind, full of wonder, at the beautiful scenery and people in their rice fields preparing for the year’s yield. Strike call by the Hurriyat (Separatist leaders) made vehicles run in their low tone, alongside the highway, where young boys and girls were walking away or some drowned deep into their ‘emotions’.
On a clean periphery outside the house of Feroze Ahmad Dar, Sub Inspector, who was among the six policemen killed by the militants in an ambush at Achabal area of district Anantnag, marked out with an erected tent, where women were wailing and beating their chests over the lone son of the family survived by wife, two daughters and old-aged parents. The younger ones in white aprons were sitting on the parapet close to the erected tent in front of the Dar’s house, talking to each other and holding their heads in grief.
That was when I saw the mother and the 4 year old daughter of the Dar and I remember it vividly—– it was one of those hard hitting, soul-stirring moments that can change one’s life forever. Dar’s mother trotted across the house to the tent with two- three other neighbouring women’s supporting her and her throat was completely jammed due to the cries and laments that were coming directly from her bosom to wail in the pain of losing her lone son. How elusive and heart wrenching she looked from where I stood in the darkness of verve.
While thinking the age of the Sub Inspector Dar, suddenly the revelation came like a shooting star from heaven, like a bolt of lightning that shattered the darkness that had surrounded me, everything became crystal clear that the youth of Jammu and Kashmir has been the worst victim of the decades old conflict. The Central Government has not only been responsible for their plight but the anti-youth policies of the successive regimes have been the hallmark of their governance.
It holds true that whether your protest be in the courtyard of the garden, in the home, or in any other place- this quicksilver- destiny cannot be separated from mercury. Feroze too never knew the fate when he would meet the Angel of death.
The brightness is yet to overtake the darkness of night, but one day, the sun will rise over the horizon and that time the slumber will have completely gone and it will be new dawn of peace and prosperity in the Kashmir.
There are so many issues that need to be pressed immediately. There is too much focus on past, at the cost of viable strategy for the future. Alternatively, and as an attempt to remedy the obsession with the past, there is a total amnesic disconnection with tradition and castles to create future built-in the air above the ground of history. None of the approaches seems to be working, the former giving way to a paralyzing idealism or to reactionary conservatism—which has a zero tolerance for anything not completely in line a narrow version of the past—and the latter to fascist modernity, and self-defeating, post-modernity–self-hating and absolutely de-contextualized discussions on many things.
“Whatever we taste in our contemporary past- suspense, character-driven, light and whimsical, heartwarming, humorous, we have to give everything’s account at the end,” a class mate of the Dar’s said hinting at the fate of those responsible for his killing. The manifestation of collective frustration of the youth in the Kashmir, when the existing norms in the society are perceived by the youth as ineffective or harmful to the extent that they offend them, and they feel disillusioned and disgusted that they recognize the need for changing these norms.
The other version which holds true to the core that the educated youth joining militant ranks in Kashmir is cause of worry and one needs to heal the deep scars of youth given by people in power. Otherwise, things lead to aggression, agitation and movement. To bring grievance and injustice to the notice of people in power; they give these docile people the chance of a fair deal to live with honor and self-respect. Similarly, little will be achieved by a debate on the pros and cons of ‘youth aggression’.
Deep down my bosom is a grunt of responsibilities towards my State-Jammu and Kashmir. I was feeling in no mood to return to the city. A thought-that nothing is important than the affection of your mothers love, bloodshed will yield nothing- whatever side it spills, either from the Kashmiri Policemen or from the Kashmiri militants. May peace prevail in our State-Jammu and Kashmir!!
By Umer Wani