Stone from my conscience…

Zubair Bhat

In mid nineties, when everybody was chanting slogans of freedom, I used to play my favourite game, hide and seek. Who would have known then that this game would continue throughout the lifetime? Then the seekers were my friends now they are the men in uniform, then it was a game now it is a survival…
 

I heard stories from my elders about mujahideen (militants), even saw some handsome yet fearless lads carrying arms over their shoulders.  I still remember the songs of their valour and bravery often sung on marriages that would bring tears to eyes and admiration in hearts. I often would get amazed by the sight and wished to become one of them. But then, whenever I shared my ambition with my family, there was always a painful answer often from my mother, ”Adi Gach Magar Godi Mizi Mea Zahar” (indeed go, but before than give me some poison), a painful answer indeed. The answer more than often would create confusion in my mind. Why these double standards? Instead of appreciating me I was forced to leave my ambition with the concept of becoming a doctor or engineer in my mind.

Crackdowns, shutdowns, protests, killings were the most familiar words since I gained senses. Every now and then there was a crackdown for militants in which they (security agencies), often nabbed some innocent youth for the crimes they never committed. I heard the stories of extreme torture, of innocent deaths, of pain and agony.  

Meanwhile I continued with studies. My life would oscillate between the school for the knowledge of life and a darsgah (religious school) for the knowledge hereafter. Life was not much different in other parts; the blood spilled everywhere. Once my neighbour went out to fetch some milk instead he got a bullet with his brain lying on a street. The incident changed my life and some unknown fear began to creep deep inside me. I was always in a dilemma that made me wonder as a child and forced to think , “Are we here to die only, when will my mother would let me go to play during even in broad day light without caring for my life”. Perhaps she feared for the worst after all see had me through all those years of disillusionment.  I grew up in an environment which throughout years had developed only one language; unfortunately that of violence. I was told in my childhood days that people of the valley are the most peaceful and beautiful, my grandmother would often speak of the valley being “Piri Waer” (Abode of saints) and being one of them which always made my chest swell with proud. But times had change for worse, something had turned wrong, people have been being killed without any reason. Protests, huge processions are taken out from every nook and corner of the vale. In 2008, there was huge upsurge. We shunned violence and gave way to peaceful protests yet we lost 64 precious lives. This year there seems to be no ending to the miseries of the people of this unfortunate land, the score is above 111 and we are still continuing to suffer.

Amid these protests, killings, I lie desolated with only stones lying in front. I wanted to tear my chest and cry but I cannot because I am not a coward. My heart bleeds for my brethren as they die for raising the voice against the oppression. And then it came out one day. With no option left and only stones lying there on the barren road, I took one of them and shouted Allah u Akbar (God is Great) throwing a stone towards the troopers.  The rush in my blood gave me enough strength to throw another stone and then another. My heart became light. And I thought, what if don’t have a gun in my hand to counter their shells, bullets and now pellets. What if my ambition of becoming a mujahid was snatched from me, I have found an alternative to give vent to my feelings- ‘stone’.

Thus the journey of a stone pelter began. Life has changed altogether; there are so many different things that have crept into my life. Stones, shouting slogans, tear gas shells, bullets have replaced the old lot in my life. I am different person now. I am only waiting for the moment when glory will greet me. I want to meet my fate with stones in my hand because it is not a mere stone; it is a feeling of my heart that is pounding in my hands.

Call me a terrorist, a protestor or a stone-pelter. Whatever name you give me it doesn’t matter much. I have lived my life in this conflict ridden part of the world. I have seen lot of my people massacred mercilessly. I have seen 9 year and seven years olds beaten to death. I have seen justice delayed, issues dissolved. How long could I maintain silence and turn a blind eye, after all I am one among them one from them…!!

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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...

One Response to Stone from my conscience…

  1. junaid nabi bhat says:

    so touching n so close to my heart

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