Fight against Forgetfulness

Muhammad Gowher Farooq

I was chatting with a friend of mine from Assam regarding Kashmir. After a brief lull he remarked, “Why don’t you forget everything and move on.” For him and many people in India Kashmir is a problem that needs attention and restoration of peace. Or perhaps a solution, economic or political they themselves don’t know. For them “development” is a panacea for all the problems of Kashmir, dreadful memories included…!!

But for a Kashmiri like me forgetfulness is a dilemma. We don’t want a status quo but we can’t even afford what they call “to move on” and “forget.” Now let me ask you as the people of the country that boasts itself as a largest democracy of world; what should Kashmiris forget. Should they forget the innumerable sacrifices they have rendered? Should a father forget that he shouldered his son to the grave and that the dead aren’t spared even on the way to grave? Should a mother forget his son whom she nourished in her womb? Should a son forget the murder of his father in front of his eyes? Should a wife forget her husband who left never returned again? Should a brother forget the dead body mutilated with countless marks and label that his brother was a ‘terrorist’ or do you expect him to forget the honour of his sister?

I still remember the nocturnal raids when the troopers trampled us in our beds. We were not terrorists, we were children. Least do I forget the slap on my face, for I had done a crime to walk on a footpath. Though the trooper hit my cheek but then it hurt my heart. Now who will expect me to accept that the trooper was actually for my ‘security’? I won’t even if GOI (Government of India) sends prophets to convenience me. Kashmiris are proud of their nationality and perhaps it is their biggest sin. Every time a trooper gazes at Kashmiri woman my blood boils and I guess I am not terrorist…

I remember the countless dead bodies I have seen in my childhood. The pogrom still continues, unabated. Childhood in Kashmir is not normal. I never played with toys like you. We played with plastic guns that were manufactured in your industries. We were not allowed to move outside for nobody knew which bullet had whose name written on it. The memories have itched their mark on my mind. How can I forget the long curfew days when I waited for my father and uncles to return, the hunger, the thirst and the agony to stand to get our houses checked as we were criminals? You must have seen your mother yearning for you to grow into adults. I have seen my mother praying if only we could remain children, for she feared the inevitable.

When I think of my childhood I find nothing has changed since then, the tussle is on. Kashmiris even then and now have been pushed to the wall. India has always poked the barrel in our chests with a smiling face. The only difference between now and then are the means of resistance. Then it was gun now it protests and stones. And for people like me who can’t even pelt stones minting words is an easiest option.

A stone as my brother once wrote “is not hot like a bullet. It is cold and yet it does not pierce a body. It does not kill a soul.” Kashmiris were always peace loving. Our land is tranquil, serene and blessed. Gun could not survive for more than ten years despite that fact that we have been enslaved for almost 200 years. We still don’t intend to kill and yet we don’t fear getting killed. For an oppressor can kill a man it can’t kill a revolution. It can cage the body you can’t cage the soul. It can wipe a generation and yet it can’t wipe the minds.

This year or many years before this, any of our children would have attended fewer classes than your children would have actually missed. You may not be directly shooting bullets on seven year olds, but then you pay every penny for a murder in Kashmir. Small it may be, but you share a contribution in spilling every drop of blood. I can’t forget the face of seven year old who was hit by a bullet. I don’t know whose money came into act but surely it was from one of you. Most of you even must not still know who he was and why he died. For most of you the story boils to just one line “Kashmir is an integral part of India” how it has managed that doesn’t matter or if at all it does then your existence as an ‘Indian subdues your conscience as a human.’

Our fight is not only a fight for inalienable rights; it is what a veteran Journalist of Kashmir calls “fight against forgetfulness”.  I told my friend and so do I to every Indian ‘forgetting will amount to a sin. Leave us to our fate, time is the best healer and we have a big heart we will not forget perhaps we may forgive…!!

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About theparallelpost
The language of words is more heavenly than the language of tongues and lips. The Parallel Post is a forum to offer a space for people who dare to speak through their words. The intention is to create an environment to share in words what we perceive in our minds...

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