When These Men Spoke…

Azaan Javed

 

Standing bare feet on the golden winter grass, the dew drops reminded me of an advice given to me by one of my acquaintances. He told me that by walking bare feet on the dew our memory gets stronger. I wondered which memories he was talking about.

I believe we have such memories which we don’t need dew to be reminded of. They are seeped so deep inside us that we sometimes are reduced to nothing but our past. It is not always possible to think of the future when the ghost our past keeps on visiting us.

As a battle in my memories had waged I was reminded of one of my mentors who had told me to write the untold stories of North Kashmir, as he believed that so much has happened in that part of the world and no one has covered it completely. I was in no position to do so nor were most of the journalists due to a number of reasons, but I found myself in such circumstances that I didn’t need to find stories to write, they seemed to be sent. I met three such people in three entirely different situations and the following is an account of what they had seen or as I may say, been through.

A MILLION DOLLAR SMILE

The request of military intervention by Mr. Omer Abdullah resulted in a flag march. Mr Ghulam Nabi Bhat of Pattan thought of opening his own shop to obtain some essentials for his home when the curfew was relaxed for an hour It must have been a minute when he saw platoon of security forces had arrived. They asked him if it was his shop and a “yes” by Mr Bhat was the end of the conversation which had given its way to a physical confrontation. Seeing his old father being beaten to pulp, his eldest son ran towards his father, who was now lying on the ground with broken ankles and a broken arm. He leaped and fell on his father to save him from the men. He received the same treatment as his father. But he made sure that his father is hit no more. He took each blow and didn’t screech even once. They were looking at each other. The fathers eyes had tears in them, while his son just gave him a smile, which probably meant “don’t worry they can’t hurt you anymore”. They were spared when the troops got tired.

“That smile will be with me till I die” (aakhri dum tak). Ghulam Nabi. He also claimed a certain Mr. Khanday was shot for protesting against the Security forces that were pelting stones on a local mosque following a stone pelting incident.

DEFIANCE

 After the marriage ceremony I saw a group of people listening to a well built person who must have been in his 40’s. As I advanced to the group I noticed how absorbed the group was in this man’s story. They literally were hanging to every word that came out of his mouth. Finally when I reached what I was hearing was an unusual story. The man was talking about a eighteen year old boy who had given his final exams in handcuffs and chains. According to the man the boy had been part of hundreds of peace full protests which had taken place. However in one such protest took a violent turn and a car was burnt which happened to be a certain headmaster’s. The headmaster complained about the boy without any proof and the boy was picked. I noticed everyone by now was dismayed by the happenings. The man narrating the story suddenly picked up the rhythm and said that when the same boy was brought in front of the headmaster for identification, he told the headmaster that “If I am booked under PSA, it’s going to keep me in for two years only”. On this the crowd gathered by now breathed a sigh of relief which I failed to understand why? The boy was still in jail and who knows what treatment is being meted out at him. It was not long back that videos of boys being paraded naked by security forces had been leaked which later the government claimed were morphed. Coming back to the scene, maybe these people were looking for some kind of motivation, maybe a happy ending to the story being narrated. However the fact remained that the future of the boy was uncertain. Who will guarantee and safeguard the boy’s future? Will he really be out of jail in two years unlike hundreds who are jailed without a fair trial? Who will guarantee that he will turn out to be a law abiding citizen and never indulge in any kind of protests or any other extreme events. The answer is no one.

AN APPLE WITH LOVE                   

The man narrating this story had tears in his eyes. He said it’s been hardly any day that they didn’t face such kind of ill treatment which included crackdowns, being hit and humiliated. it made me think which was the stronger side, the one who hits or the one who bears. It was late evening when in Pattan market a man gets down from a public bus to proceed to his home. His bad luck was the spot the bus driver chooses was occupied by three CRPF personal. Just when he got down he was asked why he choose the particular spot to get down. An obvious answer to it was that his home was in the same direction. I wondered what in the answer by the man provoked the troops as they started beating the poor fellow in the middle of the road. An eye witness said that he was beaten up so badly that the women started crying as they perceived that he may be killed as was Ghulam Nabi Mir, father of four daughters and a son who had gone to purchase fruits and medicines for his family and never returned.  He was reportedly beaten to death. He said after the whole ruckus got over the man lay on the roadside and people came running to give him a hand as he wasn’t not able to stand on his own ,but he was holding on  to a polythene bag. In the polythene were apples and when someone tried to hold the apples for him, he said in a very low tone “The apples are for my little daughters, please take care of 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...

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