From Cricket Field To The Battlefield

Sameer Showkin

Amid thousands of spectators in a cricket stadium watching the cricket ball floating high in the sky. The young man with strong muscles like a lion dominates the field on his day. The bat which tosses the ball like a drone missile in the sky silenced forever.

The gentle laughs, sweet talks, religious chats haunt his friend circle the more. The memories of his isolation are fresh in every house of the village. Mohammad Saleem Ganaie became Faisal when he left the cricket field in 2008 and joined the armed struggle. Faisal’s only wish was to achieve martyrdom. To fight against oppression was his only aim.

Although Faisal belongs from a rich family but the richness couldn’t hold him for a long period. To fulfil his only desire he left the royal sleeps of home aside and joined the Hizbul Mujahiddin outfit in 2008 and had to sleep the cold nights under the open sky in fields. He was active for one year. When his all other militant colleagues were killed, he was alone.

In those times Faisal was the commander of the outfit in the area. A close friend of Faisal laments.

“When Saleem alias Faisal was alone in the field with all his other militant colleagues were killed. His close friend Gowhar accompanied him. Gowhar was empty handed moving with his friend only to not let him feel that he is alone” says their Friend, adding, “One day I saw Saleem and Gowhar in a nearby village”.

“I was shocked when I saw Saleem with a gun and Gowhar with a bag of bananas in his hand. I asked them you are militants. What are you doing this? If army comes in your way what will you do then. Gowhar humorously said that he would throw bananas to counter the bullets.” He said.

“Gowhar was with this intention in the field only to give company to his friend. He was dubbed as a militant without even having a gun. But to give company to his friend, he was ready to play with his life in the jaws of death”

After several hide and seeks with the military both were later arrested in Islamabad. Both had to tolerate tough interrogations and were later lodged in central jail Srinagar where they met several religious stalwarts. After one year in jail they were released and both had a warm welcome at home. The duo was inspired with the religious lessons in jail. Both Faisal and Gowhar started to teach Quran and other religious books to the young boys of the village at home. They stayed at home for several months. It was the winter season and cricket game was on its peak in the village. Both joined cricket teams of the village. Saleem was representing the A team-the big team namely Muskaan-11. The young boys call him ‘boom boom Saleem’ as a mark of love. This shy, simple and religious boy was the opening batsman of the team. When he started hitting the ball through the fence on his day, there was no bowler who could stop him.

As the branches of trees, plants started blossoming again in March. Saleem alias Faisal was sent to maternal home by his father. The intention of his father was to keep him far from armed persons.

The Heff shirmal village is reportedly considered to be the hub of Separatist Guerillas.

According to the official sources the Heff Shirmal village had produced the maximum number of militants among all villages in Police district of Shopian in the last 21 years of militancy.

So his father tried utmost attempts to keep him isolated from the armed persons. But Faisal had no interest to get into studies. After few months he again joined the armed struggle with the Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit. His close friend Gowhar had already joined the outfit just 15 days before Saleem alias Faisal had joined. The duo in no time became the most wanted duo for the Indian army in the area. Gowhar Ahmed Ganaie alias Abu Dujana was younger than Saleem but on the seniority basis he was the commander of the outfit in the area.

Both never know what fate has to do with them. Saleem alias Faisal with another Pakistani militant were killed in an encounter with Police and troops at Kawdrung Kaimoh, in Kulgam area. When Gowhar heard the news of Salem’s death he rushed to his native village to see his friend last glimpse. Both hail from a same village Heff Shirmal.

It was almost 10:30 pm in the night when the dead body of Saleem was brought to his native village. Gowhar came with several militants to see the face of his friend with whom he has passed his whole of life. Gowhar sat in the grave yard for some time. He showed villagers to bury his friend at some place. The interesting thing is that the place in the graveyard where Gowhar sat for an hour turned to the grave place for him on the wee hours of next morning and that too together with his friend Saleem.

Now the question is how?

Gowhar left the village late night. He covered a distance of almost 8 km’s. He reached a village Trenz Shopian where he decided to stay for a night. But forces had already maintained a tight cordon around a cluster of the residential houses of Trenz where Gowhar and another local militant of Lashkar-e-Toiba were staying at the house of Ghulam Mohammad Malik S/o Abdul Gaffar Malik.


They both fought against the Indian army till the third part of night killing two Indian troops. And both had to embrace the bullets of Indian troops on the same night.

The dead body of Saleem was still lying on the bed and thousands of people were raising slogans mourning the death of Saleem. Another dead body appeared in the Eidgah of Heff shirmal. Everyone was shocked in the village. When they heard he is Gowhar on the bed. It raised more hue and cries amid the gathering of thousands of people.

It shows how much Gowhar loved his friend that he could not pass a single day without his friend.

So the love of Saleem pulled Gowhar to leave the world together.

Both have passed nights together in the dark rooms of jail, together in cricket field, together as militants. Now both were together lying dead on the bed and thousands of people attending their funeral prayers. Amid thousands of people raising pro-Freedom slogans they were laid to eternal rest side by side in two graves with beautiful wreaths and embellished epitaphs eulogizing the dead.

“The beautiful journey from cradle to grave ended together while fighting for freedom for Islam, which was the only wish of the duo” they said.


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...

2 Responses to From Cricket Field To The Battlefield

  1. fahad says:

    nice one….

  2. Owais Majid says:

    countless youth have been forced to sleep beneath the soil for demanding their basic right of self determination by tyrant india. But military might can no longer suppres peoples voices. The dawn of freedom is due and one day kashmir will breathe in Free Air. Insha allah

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