Mothers of Dardpura…

Mudasir Matto

“Beneath the mother’s feet and in the mortherland lies heaven”.

But Dardpura, a border village in Kashmir, seems to be a world different from the rest. Zaytoon, a middle aged widow, has two daughters and a son. Her husband Samad Khan died in August 2003 leaving behind three children.  Zaytoon is dumb and deaf.

Her daughter, Shakeela, the eldest of the siblings says “My father died due to excessive torture by army, every time they arrested him, he was tortured, and finally, he died.” Shakeela is naively seconded by his small brother, Farooq 3 years old. 

Words squat in front of Zaytoon’s silence as she recounts her ordeal with broken nods and gestures. With no earning source and three children to feed, Zaytoon begs for a living now. Zaytoon’s story is a story of pain and anguish.

This has become a part of the day to day life for the women in Dardpura. Dozens of orphaned girls are aged 30 years or more and are waiting for their grooms.

Dardpura is dotted with half-widows and widows, like Zaytoon, and orphans, like Shakeela. The panorama, wrinkled by broken rooftops and bandaged homes, gives an ambience of a Bosnian village stilled in mourning for its dead. This village has borne the brunt of armed uprising and a brutal military response that crushed this village.

In Dardpura Zaytoon’s story is repeated every few paces. Jannati, 45, has seven children, among them five daughters. Unlike Zaytoon, Jannati can speak but her agony has severed her desire to speak. Often silence in her ambience is punctuated by brief hue and cry. Her weary eyes neither notice the shining sun nor the cedars in bloom around her. Born into a poor family, Jannati’s life was never easy, but things turned particularly bleak after her husband — the only earning member of her family — died in a militant attack. The movement arrived as a doom for this village, says Jannati. She is now the sole earning member in the family.  

55 year old Shaha’s husband was also killed by militants. To add to her tragedy, her 10 year old son whom she sent to Punjab never returned.

All has gone astray for these women. They try to pull together themselves and walk on when they are intruded by social miscreants that have tabooed their entry back into social institutions. Victims of abject poverty, these women have habituated on financial aid and alms from various NGO’s and other small groups.

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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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