My valley of paradise has now turned into a virtual hell. The entire Indian army whether it is CRPF, BSF or the Rashtriya Rifles are constantly present in Kashmir. India uses terror and fear to get the obedience of people in my motherland.
So many atrocities have been committed on the people of Kashmir, but it is the women here who have suffered most. Some of them became widows while some became half widows. Many have lost their whole family, leaving them miserable.
My close friend asked me to visit a grief-stricken mother in the remote Shopian district of Kashmir. So one day, in the morning, we started our journey from central Kashmir to south Kashmir on a motorcycle to visit her.
Once we reached our destination, my friend took me to that heartbroken mother’s house. I saw a 14-years-old boy sitting on a mat and playing with a ball made of cloth. When we moved near him, he threw the ball against the wall and didn’t go to pick it up. Then, an old lady with greyish hair and shabby clothes came in and picked the boy up onto her lap. One could tell that she was in misery due to her pathetic condition.
“Who are you? Why have you come to my house?” she asked us in a serious tone.
“We are writers and have come here to know your story so that we can share it with the world,” I replied.
“Come here”, she said and offered us water.
Her house did not have more than two rooms and it was dark because there wasn’t any electricity. Soon, she narrated her story in simple words but her words seemed to have a gloomy impact on us.
First, she gave us an account of how she lost her husband. I asked her about how he died and she answered, “Indian army. He was going to attend the morning prayers without knowing of the cordon. My husband was shot dead by the coward army in front of the mosque’s door.” Tears rolled down her face as she tried to speak but we couldn’t stop the tears.
She continued with her story, “I was unable to come out of the shock of my husband’s death when the other catastrophe fell up on me. It was the day of voting when my two teenage sons, Shariq and Farooq, had gone to play cricket near a government school where the election booth was set up. It was my misfortune that I could not stop them from going out to play that day. I’d heard some gun shots in the air. People ran toward their homes, but I ran barefoot towards the election booth. I heard an ambulance siren and was worried about my sons so I started calling their names. Once I reached near the ambulance, I heard two men saying that two young boys have been killed and their dead bodies are lying in the playground. After hearing this, my legs couldn’t move. And, when I reached the playground, I saw two dead bodies lying on the field – one was Farooq and the other was Shariq. Everything became dark for me and I thought of committing suicide. But then the thought of Rahim, who was then in my womb came to me and I brushed that thought away.”
She cried loudly and our face was wet with tears too.
She looked at Rahim and said, “I am alive only for Rahim. I still remember that election day. I can’t forget how Farooq was holding Shariq’s hand and Shariq was holding a bat in his other hand.”
She then she took us into another room which was locked. She unlocked it, lit a candle and showed us some pictures of Shariq and Farooq that were hanging on the walls along with some of their other stuff. She also showed us the bat that still had their blood on it.
In our valley, there are many stories like this but the mainstream politicians lure poor voters only to meet their own selfish ends.
The woman’s story made us feel sad and gloomy, but it was getting too late and we had to leave. We told her to take care of herself and her son and said goodbye to her.