Tirade of the Suffering in Kashmir - Lunar Gaze Lunar Gaze: Tirade of the Suffering in Kashmir



Tirade of the Suffering in Kashmir

“Kashmir is the Jugular vein of Pakistan and no nation or country would tolerate that its Jugular vein remains under the sword of the enemy.”
Death for Death, Rape for Rape" - Dunya Blog
“Kashmir is the Jugular vein of Pakistan and no nation or country would tolerate that its Jugular vein remains under the sword of the enemy.” 
I am not sure if no one could comprehend the quotation well or is jugular vein just not that important. I had heard my brother recite this quote by the founder of Pakistan various times when he used to study for his mid-terms. Was this really said or is it just a made up sentence, like ones that my English teacher used to ask us to punctuate.

 It has been about 200 days according to my sister’s calendar, the last little project she made in her arts class, since everything was stopped. We live in a trivial little cottage at the edge of Srinagar. My father has been missing for more than a couple of weeks, and my brother who was sent across the borders for studies, well both of us have not heard from each other since days. It’s just my drowsy keyed up mother, my clueless younger sister and I who have been meandering around these two rooms with not much to do. 

As days are going by, the situation is still at rest. Every now and then, my mother brings in a bag carrying a small amount of goods that she gets from the man living across the road and we have to utilize them for the whole week, sometimes two of them. This may seem like a fictional piece of some poverty-stricken town from the children’s story books when it’s nothing but our very lives now-a-days. 

Taking a trip down the memory lane, I still remember how the streets were. Despite the problems our little nation was facing with our imperialistic neighbors, people had found their ways to be happy. The streets were crowded with children; some chasing after kites, others riding their newly bought bicycles. Everyone was busy with their daily drills; shopkeepers occupied with their sales, buyers engaged in bargaining. We had learned the art of living life under the shadows of these ruthless tormentors, we had accepted the fact that no one was ever coming for us. Was that not enough for them to satisfy their hunger? For those who don’t know, these horror-filled reminiscences started years back when I was not even born; probably the times of my grandparents.

In 1947, the subcontinent was divided into the two independent states of Pakistan and India, however authorities made blunders in this case as well. Muslim majority areas were supposed to be included in the state of Pakistan yet some obvious areas like Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Zira were handed over to India. Hence with Gurdaspur under its claws, India was able to gain access to the smaller state of Jammu and Kashmir. This was the birth of the Kashmir issue, which is still a bone of contention between the two states. Three wars of 1948, 1965 and 1999 were fought in order to overcome this problem yet they all ended with the issue still unresolved. 

Pakistan has taken various initiatives in order to sort out the matter peacefully but India has always turned down every offer of negotiation. The issue was raised in the 42nd General Assembly session at the United Nations in 1987 and India was reminded of the fact that this chapter is not closed and has to be sorted. But India stood by their stance and kept taking advantage of the situation by refusing to accept their responsibilities for Kashmir.

 Ever since this dispute about 72 years ago, we Kashmiris have been living in terror, suffering from numerous miseries. I remember I went to the nearby park with my father once. I was climbing the ropes, trying to show how tough I am for a 10 years old – who’s just a little below 5 feet – when I saw two brawny individuals in a uniform rushing towards a man with long wooden sticks in their hands. I was starting to wonder what kind of game they were playing when I saw one of them lifting the stick up and smashing it at the head of the man. The cries of the man filled the whole area and a large crowd started to build up where those men were supposedly fighting. However, the cries of help and the shouted abuses were the only things I witnessed at the moment because my father carried me off the rope and covered my eyes saying we had to hurry back home. I never knew what was the reason of their unusual actions, well not until my father was taken the same way a few weeks back. 

Indian leaders have always been giving meaningless statements about Kashmir being an integral part of their country. I did not know the meaning of the word ‘integral’ but by what I heard my brother say, it means it is a little important. Is this how something significant is supposed to be? My father did not allow anyone of us to go out for the next ten days after the park incident. Is the integral part supposed to be subjected to dreadfulness? 

In 1999, a heavy fire was exchanged between Pakistan and India at the borders, which then turned into a war. This war proved to be another crucial moment in the history of Kashmir. Pakistani troops had almost reoccupied half of the area, which was originally their own. But due to some flawed commands by the government of Pakistan, the Pakistani troops were ordered to retreat and that left the ill-fated part of my country to stay under the Indian dominance. After the Kargil war, the Kashmir issue became a permanent hindrance in the normalization of relations between both the countries. The Indian rulers have never been sincere in concluding this conflict and till-date, their groundless acts of brutality continue.

 I can recall the day when I promised a couple of my friends, living in my neighbors, to play cards at their place. I was leaning on the wall, fixing my shoes when a stone came flying in and struck our door just above my head. I thought there were some rascal kids up to their usual mischievousness, hence I opened the gate to give them a piece of my mind – I am an adult of course. The scenes of that day are still fresh in my mind. The startled faces of the children on the streets, the women peeping from behind the curtains; it was a mess. There were two groups; one with sticks and stones while the others fully equipped with distinct types of weapons and ammunition. People were shouting curses at one another, swinging their arms loaded with hazardous tools. My mother dragged me inside, shouting like maniac about how I was stupid enough blindly stare at the exchanged blows. But at that instant, my ears had refused to take in any other sound, my eyes had failed to gaze elsewhere. It was small, but it was war. Why do we need to feel handicapped in our own homeland? Kids my age are thinking about the next toy they will bug their parents to buy them, while I am here wondering if I shall ever have a chance to see the clear sky again. 

Fast forward through these years of atrocities, we are now here in the reign of Narendra Modi, another extremist, another autocrat born to fill his stomach with the helpless cries of us Kashmiris. Modi like any other Indian leader ever has claimed Kashmir to be as significant as the other cities of the country. However, he has proven himself as the worst of them all. After his appointment, there have been feuds, revolts, people had to abandon their homes, everyone had to suffer even more than they already were. The war crimes in our state had worsen. There was shelling, there were bullets but there were no facilities. Three boys, same age as mine, died of all the tear gas and shelling wounds. Revolts had begun. Kashmiris were never the nation that sat back and saw its masses become victims. We had been fighting them with the least we had. It just was not enough. Every day there were about ten funerals across the neighborhood. Kashmir has always been caught between the two rivals. Unprovoked attacks at the line of controls cost us Kashmiris the most. People had to lose their shelters, some even had to lose lives. 

One day my mother came inside the house in a hurry. She started to open cupboards, throwing things out; was probably looking for something. I saw her take out something that seemed like a box of ointments and ran through the gate shouting at me to lock the doors and look after my sister. I was sure this was just another day of someone being badly hurt because of standing against the people from the Indian forces or maybe for just being a Kashmiri. Later that day when she came in exhausted, I asked her if what I had guessed was after all the truth. But this time she introduced me to a newer way of terrorizing by the Indians; pellet guns. 

After various incidents of bullets being fired at the protestors – citizens – who were doing nothing but what every citizen of every country has a right to do, Indians came up with another new method which they referred to as non-lethal. In 2016, over 6000 people became victims to this so called non-deadly weapon. Pellet guns caused injuries such as never happened before. Some people were half, others were left fully blinded. The face was injured, body was wounded, the souls were petrified. There were various children my age, even younger than me who fell victim to this and lost their sight, their abilities and their confidence. What was their fault? What is any of our fault? 

Kashmir is undoubtedly one of the most militarized area of the world. Kashmiris have been fighting for their rights since the 1990s. Many rebellions took place by the brave hearts of my nation and they took down many military personnel, sacrificing their own lives. But it all seems to go in vain. Kashmir still stands between the two adversaries, still suffering, still dying. 

Not long after the pellet guns made to the news around the globe – about 3 years – Indians decided to advance to another level of agony. On 5th of August, it was the dawn of another depressing day. India sent thousands of troops – additional to the ones already there – to impose a lockdown. A sabotaging curfew leading to the arrest of the Kashmiri political leaders, shut down of all communications, a complete isolation for all the citizens. Were we not already secluded? What kind of people are quarantined to their houses in their own homelands, when there is no pandemic, when there is no war? Are we taken as some criminals? Is wanting to live like normal beings a crime? 

It has been 200 days since that day. We are restricted to our houses. The streets are empty; the roads are silent. I peek outside from behind the curtains, time to time, to have a look at the shops that were originally very crowded. No one is allowed to step outside, it has been days since I have met my friends, nor even heard from them. No one is allowed to make a call, no one is supposed to call us. My mother cries herself to sleep every night. The poor soul has no idea how her son is doing in another country; she does not know if her husband is even alive. 

I heard two men talking outside once, wonder how they were allowed to go outside, I have even forgotten the view of my street. They talked about how Modi said the situation will be better in about four months. He also said something about Kashmir not just being a piece of land for them. I have honestly dropped my trust on such statements, they all speak so highly of us and this is what we get. But on the bright side, my now 11 years old mind was quiet convinced that the situation would become better and everything would go back to normal – times when we were allowed to go out at least. Was this just a child’s optimism or was I this foolish. Of course it was not true. We are still locked in doors. The world drank to the arrival of 2020 meanwhile we had no idea the year already ended.

 “What stands when freedom falls?” 

The writer repeated this several times in a book I read. I never thought this is how I shall find out the meaning of this. Nothing can save the freedom and independence when it dies in the hearts and minds of people. Kashmiris have never ceased thinking about independence, about finally overcoming these vicious oppressors. It has been about six decades since Kashmir has been the target of the unjust actions of India. Kashmir was known as ‘A heaven on Earth’ but it is nothing more than a disputed territory. 

While I was sitting in the porch of my little house, I thought about all those falling victim to this clampdown. No one knows what we are going through. Indian troops have left rule unbroken, no right unviolated. There have been genocides; men, women, children all losing the blessing of life to petty unreasonable attacks by the forces. There are mass arrests, people – specifically men – are being dragged out of their houses to be taken to God knows where, leaving us – the families – distress and anxiety. People are being mentally and physically abused. I had learned that there exists a thing called war ethics, but this one sided barbarity as no morals, no rules. Women are being forced out of the homes, raped and killed. Children are being kidnapped, some being murdered and thrown away, while some have just went missing. It is times of chaos, tenebrosity and angst. 

Now with all the actual crimes taking place, where is the world? Where are the peace loving societies? Is Kashmir not eligible to be a part of their schemes? It has been months and yet no one has raised a voice against this terror. Pakistan has tried to show their concern, and there have been negotiations at the democratic level but what good it is if there is no solution. With each passing day, people of my country are losing hope. Everyone is falling into the pits of depression and anxiety. The elders are hopeless, the adults are weak and the children are traumatized. Is there not a single person who feels the pain as ours? Who will tell me where my father is? Will starvation also enter the list of things eliminating us from the planet? 

I wonder if anyone would feel the hollowness of India’s claims. Are political relations more important than someone’s life? Who will answer the questions of this helpless child trapped in the shadows of despair? 

I long for the time when people will cease ending their essays with a bogus statement, about how the time is near when Kashmiris will find their way through, and actually do something for us. While people are sitting in their furnished homes enjoying their serene lives, we seek walls where we can shelter ourselves from bullets that might end up stopping out breaths. While the world is celebrating, Kashmir is dying. 

This issue is old, but is not outdated. We can still be saved. I can still live a better life. We need more than a moral support, we need more than your rallies and protests. We need help

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