Author: Saadut
•3:13 PM

The conflict in Kashmir rages on consuming with it human lives, families and societies. But in the echelons of power politics and political discourses, nobody bothers about innocent lives. These lives may be seen by them as fuel to political tussles & power games.

One more innocent was lost in yesterday’s grenade attack at Batmaloo and a void created in a family. Life in Kashmir continues to be uncertain & perplexed. The killed here could be anybody, you, me or the common man next door. Death keeps its own date with Kashmir, in some cases sneaks in their homes with unidentified guns opening their nozzles in privacy, for some death embraces in open bustling areas of cities and towns. There are no sureties in retracing steps back home after you have left it for a day. The bazaars of this city are not like bazaars and markets of other cities, where cheer of the crowd brings with it a liveliness and exuberance. Here the emotions of fear of the unexpected are mixed with the uncertainties of tomorrow, fake masks overriding real faces of commoners. The bazaars and squares of Kashmir have consumed innumerable dreams and silenced many exponents of life between the armed conflicts of seemingly unrepentant and invisible. Whom does this blood ridden, death prance conflict targeting innocent lives benefit? Not the common man here.

Each single death here decimates a whole social unit, cascades into an unending free fall of miseries and pain for a family. The dying departs leaving the family vulnerable to recurring sorrow, leading to oblivious future. One death here kills many souls, takes away a reason to live for more of them.

Even after more than two decades of conflict our social support system is nonexistent and the conscience within us still dead. With such nonexistent social support system, the conflict injured take away all family savings with still little recovery hopes and the dead take away all family hopes and aspirations, in most cases the departed being their main source of livelihood. Mushrooming orphanages do not contribute to the first line of a social support system; they add to the last refuge of the most deprived souls of our society. Worst part of this conflict agony is that our society has so much slipped into a ‘pain denial mode’ that fragmentation and rot has hit its basic roots.  We as a society fail to understand that this misery that is repeatedly befalling us does not have a name tag and address on it. Today, tomorrow it could be any family, any innocent. Failing to understand the magnitude of this colossal tragedy in our lands, even our condemnation becomes selective based on political convenience. The half hearted condemnations are mostly heard out in whispers or as politically assertive statements, and in most cases than not, as an act of scoring on the rival political thought. Since when did death identify, target and follow as per political beliefs or social class identities? Let us understand that any noncombatant who dies here is an innocent life lost, whatever circumstances, whatever beliefs.

The collective failure of our empathy creates more vulnerability around us, leaving every one among us exposed to the ravages of this conflict and the proxy games there in. Tales of sorrow and despair abound in our dwellings but we as a society turn a blind eye to them. We have failed to extend emotional support and understanding to help rebuild devastated lives: we have utterly failed in providing physical or material support within our societies to help build, rebuild and repair affected families. For most of us suffering from myopic vision, the scars on their souls remain unseen and unrecognized, but for how long can eyes be kept shut? This conflict has specialized in creating armies of destitute, hordes of orphans and broken and fragmented souls: while ‘we’ as a society have specialized in creating innovative excuses for our criminally muted expressions and reactions to this mayhem. Wonder if such an arrangement ‘live together but blind to your grief’ still can be called a society? After each tragedy our emotional support for the affected families in our neighborhoods exits for the customary three days and after that ‘each to his own’.

The conflict has created a ‘news auction media’ who portray all such killings as no more than numbers. Handawara teen killing one number, Sopore sisters killed two numbers, Kreeri killing one number and Batmaloo killing one number : how disgusting and how deplorable. Killings become news, what happens to the devastated families after the killing does not. They call the killed ‘collateral damage’ failing to recognize the irreparable damage the departed leaves his family with. What kind of lexicon do they fit in?

We as a society have failed miserably. We have failed to support each other, we have failed to recognize our common fate, we have failed to strengthen our foundations, and we have failed to speak up. We are a society with lemming tendencies and seem to be heading into a collective suicide, unmindful and unaware of the extinction that we are looking into. While our disparaging and silent vicious tendencies may find their way into history books as a 'self destroyed nation', they will not let us survive long enough and never be quoted in positive and exemplary history. This self destructive non effort will however soon consign us into oblivion.

We could have stood up and said: “Please don’t play your arms and guns on my land, please don’t prey on our lives, and please don’t trade our corpses”.

“Whosoever you are with that gun, grenade or your toys of war, you surely do not belong to here. We demand a right to life in our home”.

When will we as a society say this concertedly, in unison, one voice?

1st March 2011