Author: Saadut
•11:40 PM

The breeze started gaining speed slowly. The underlying current of discontent had been since simmering. Adding fuel to the fire of uncertainty, of a crisis of identity, of nepotism & forced delusions’, the theater of the absurd was repeatedly played in the echelons of power. The autocrats had re enacted the ‘Emperors new clothes’ in this earthly paradise. They said the gates to the corridors of power were again filled by secret tunneled doors. But was this not what had been happening for decades. The paper king was always disconnected from the peasantry & commoners. The distance between the working fields and the power castles was huge, transversing its way through an alien country capital called a ‘New City’ where all decisions of this land were made.

It had now turned into a major thunderstorm, howling every side, rattling iron roofs with deafening noise. The wails of habitations often mixed with the fierce thunderstorms roar, created strange heart wrenching noises. My Pandit neighbor who had a saffron mark on his head took flight out while the roads were still open for his travel, his tribe having been assured safe passage and adequate help in farther but warmer lands. I did not know of his mid night flight. The empty morning in his compound, the lifeless window still of his house and the obnoxiously locked door on his dwelling gave me the sad news. We were family to each other, shared all our joys and sorrows together, wonder what made him flee in the darkness of the night, tiptoeing his steps in complete silence. 

People were gathering across the land voicing their thoughts, trying to breathe heavily: for long had they been subject to tightly controlled air, the trachea of a nation strangulated by known & masked forces. Some young boys had traveled over the mountains in some hope of creating a fighting force, most of them were buried by the bigger guns over the hill tops, their cadaver’s, carcasses scattered unclaimed over hilltop green meadows and narrow valley ways. Those who did make it back to their homeland never unlaced their shoes and seemed on borrowed time from life. Life and death started playing fast hide and seek everywhere, time handing the victory baton to the devil of death most of the times. In this melee and fights of the dark night, many of those killed were the corner families, those living for another day termed sarcastically as ‘collateral damage’. They were nobody’s of our society, the oft forgotten souls who just became number figures for the media

The boys had dreams, their toys no match for the monstrous armory and arm strength of the imposer. Soon we began hearing agony tales from every corner. A picturesque village up north of the valley called the ‘flower village’ had been stripped of its dignity in broad daylight. Eve had been stripped, trampled and mutilated by the imposer. They called it ‘mass rape’ I called it ‘mass decimation’.

Across the same village the town square had been burnt to ashes and humans had been consumed as firewood. Travel within the homeland was becoming agonizing and torturous; the highway had stench of bodies all along. The marooned fields were now dotted with sandbag cubicles, with ugly barbed wire boundaries and gun barrels peeping out of small square peeping holes. The fa├žade of the mighty Chinar in these once mesmerizing fields had been trimmed to resemble a phantom, made uglier by its lost innocence.

In the city voices were trying to be heard, out stretching their arms for prayers: people collective wanted to speak and the powerful guns roared on a bridge in the city square, some other day on a clerics funeral near the college square in old city, another sunny day on peaceful people on a highway  south of the valley, and silenced them by the hundreds. A brave man on a bridge near the city square while saving humanity, had holes pierced in his chest by countless bullets and smilingly embraced the barrel. An apple town up north was burnt down and consumed with it human, lives and families.

In his rage the imposer had also felled many mind humans, scholars, intellects who were guillotined for their thoughts, decimated for their value. They were made extinct to make this nation deprived of a road direction; the imposer uprooted the milestones, the path markers of the nation. We were being robbed of our guiding minds.

The storm was still uprooting all around us and continued to ravage this once fertile land. In the dead of the night heavy boots would run amok in lonely pathways of terrified habitations, picking humans at will and trampling them far away from home. Suddenly faces were evaporating in the middle of the night and nobody seemed to have a clue about their whereabouts. These disappeared faces would often be the support pillar of a full family and their dead absence meant the collapse of a full family unit. Young brides left with empty and open arms, children with empty haunting gazes and families traumatized without respite. They had nothing to cling to, no corpse to bury and no lead to follow. Their plight added to the lexicon ‘half widows’: a tragedy of immense proportions for my homeland but just another word for the foreigners vocabulary. Old and frail mothers turned stoned eyed gazing endlessly at their doors waiting for their disappeared sons. Sometime later in far-off villages mass graves were unearthed. Moulds of earth covered collective cremations of the unknown. They had been buried in the dark of the night, their identities hid in the wet moist soil of these secluded villages. And suddenly news of such hidden mass graves kept pouring in from many corners of my homeland, but as soon as the imposer found out his crime in the dark was opened to scrutiny, access to truth was denied. My nation had lost countless lives and now we were losing access to the remains of those dead.

One cloudy day in a sleepy village south of the valley turbaned fellow natives had been massacred in the dead of the night by the unknown, the photographs of their corpses and wailing families printed into postcards that were presented to a Corporate Monarch of a country near the Pacific and Atlantic, who was on a visit to the our control masters capital ‘New City’. The valley mourned the death of their fellow natives but across the plains of the mainland this event was being used to portray an imaginary demon, put the murder blood on an imaginary sleeve. Our voices were feeble, their media machinery gigantic: we were left un heard.

Meanwhile in an attempt to make me learn life’s navigation skills, my father sends me to distant lands to learn and skill myself. I found these lands to be living, joyous, and prosperous with opportunity galore. Every year I would keep my rendezvous with my homeland and every time I came to her, I could feel no letup in the seemingly unending agony and grief. Every time I found I had lost some friend, some acquaintance, some face somewhere. With each passing year I prayed that my next visit would see my home land healed, with smiling faces and bustling neighborhoods, but every visit I would be disappointed. I found some of my neighbors (the ones with the red mark on their forehead) who had fled in the dark of the night, had become very prosperous in faraway lands. They wore distinct corporate attire and had a different tone now. While my homeland burned they had catapulted themselves in the plains of the controlling ‘New city’ to virtually unreachable levels. Back in our homeland such levels would have been unimaginable for them. My travels and pursuits in faraway lands also offered me such levels, but the power of capitalistic offerings, of white collar and green pay checks was overpowered by a longing for my homeland, by a desire to see the birds of my valley again chirp in symphony, the faces of my fellow natives again lit in joyous smiles and the wish that the monstrous war machine come to an end in Eden. I turned back leaving a brightly lit career path in those distant lands, in search for peace & solace for my wounded motherland.

Within the society a few multi coats had turned bounty head hunters and traded head counts of their fellow countrymen for economic gains. Although they were lesser than even a fraction of the society, but their affiliations, unbridled and ruthless powers gave them unprecedented leeway. Headhunting bloomed as an enterprise with official patronage, becoming self proclaimed virtual demi-gods; each demarcating areas of influence for open loot, plunder and daylight murders.  Now the sword of the imposer was dual bladed, cutting innocent bodies all sides and decimating voices with unparalled effectiveness. The fear quotient within the society was immense; some minds withered by the sheer force of this fear, while some took to hibernation. When human intellect is subject to prolonged hibernation, it loses the power of its thinking faculties, and decays internally. At this point the human body loses its real value, the mind having been devoid of its full capabilities.

Meanwhile economic stagnancy had already eaten into the society. Financial deprivation meant than many hearths would not warm up regularly. The rhythm of society had turned haywire. Many stomachs were half empty, bodies were subject of colds all seasons and integrating lives at marriageable ages became a daunting task. Capital and economic activity had taken a flight to regions beyond the mountains. We had been made into open markets for their produced rot. Our artisans and work class had nowhere to look to, hands emptied and eye sockets dulled. The rich man in the controlling centre of the plans of ‘New City’ was promising a economic renaissance for my homeland which I understood was a fraction of what he had been milking the natural resources of this land for long ; but alas his promises proved to be paper figures only. Most of his promises stopped at the train station in the nearest plains to my valley. The people there had prospered out of our misery. A small time town had been turned into a metropolis while demolition machines had leveled and bulldozed the ramparts of my city here. Here we had been exposed to ravages of deceptive war games, there the once small town had been shielded from economic stagnation and generously put on enhanced system of fast growth.

The storm of dissent had now changed its face, turned into a hum that was echoed across the length and breadth of my home land. Adaptation was the key to survival. The face of dissent had taken to peaceful means, but there was no mercy from the other side. A young mother and a sister had been erased and trampled in a town south, an orchard had been blood spilled; their death attributed to knee deep stream water. The march of the monstrous war machine continued. Spiked jack boots were trampling young saplings, leaving marks on their chests with toffees in their mouth. Some of the young saplings had fallen to the demon with school bags on their back. A bakers young help and a poor mans only son were hit  in head point blank in a courtyard down south, the only sons of their parents. Such stories echoed and abounded from all corners. Well bought up lads were hit near some airfield. Economic status and place of occurrence was not a criterion. Being a local and young was enough reason. Innocence had never been a virtue here, now childhood was neither.

I hear it is spring now, that time of the year when we prepare garden beds for summer flowers, nourish the earth in anticipation of fruit laden trees. Will our peace flowers bloom this summer, will we get to see the fruit of our spring toil this autumn?

I could have fled the fierce storm, but I did not.  

I look up to the horizon and pray for the storm to pass. I wish to see the grief of my homeland disappear, to see humans living and faces smiling, once again.

I speak for my homeland, Kashmir. Will you speak alongside with me?

20th February 2011

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On February 21, 2011 at 12:05 AM , Anonymous said...

Wow! May allah bless you bro well written

On February 21, 2011 at 12:18 AM , Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written

On February 21, 2011 at 12:28 AM , Shahnaz said...

Absolutely brilliant and moving depiction of what Kashmiris who chose to weather the storm had to go through and how these travails have not come to stop.

On February 22, 2011 at 12:34 AM , Anonymous said...

A son of the soil speaking from the core of his heart and mind the pain, suffering and humiliation the unfortunate people are going through. The manner in which he has storied the facts without creating any ill will or hatred for the heartless opponents is remarkable. The civil society of the perpetrators which willy nilly acquiesce to such crimes against humanity need to be made aware by such presentations, besides encouraging to visit the victims' families, so that real facts are unfolded before them and they force their governments to respect wishes of the people and end this human tragedy.

On February 22, 2011 at 12:50 PM , mahaboob said...

Emotions are all poured out, tears gushed out and finally hope has dawned. Ur time for rejoicing will come soon, I sincerely hope and pray.

On February 24, 2011 at 3:03 PM , Shabnum said...

Your blog made me cry. I could not stop my tears. ALLAH wiling soon the pain of Kashmir will be healed.