How I Realised The Real Cost Of The Army’s Actions In Kashmir

What do you do when you come across a bitter reality or some statement which renders you speechless, and some thoughts which never leave you?

The strangeness in certain things is so complicated that you do not know why it makes you feel so uncomfortable. Why you do not have a reply to it – and what is it that you can’t even perceive after introspection?

Do your upbringing, surroundings, your books, your education – in a nutshell, everything around you when you were growing up – stop you from coming to conclusions?

Well, the answer is still not known, at least not to me. I am still confused and clueless.

This is an incident which happened when I was pursuing my Masters while staying in a 1-BHK apartment in the southernmost part of Bangalore. After a month full of mood swings, my level of concentration had just dropped to zero. I didn’t (or rather, couldn’t) even attend classes for a few days. During that time, one day, I was standing across the terrace wall with a cup of tea, watching the vehicles going across the NICE Road.

In the apartment beneath mine lived two brothers. I didn’t know the place from where they came. I came to know that they were from Kashmir when I met their sister who came to stay with them for a few days. She was a nice and pleasant girl who used to greet me with a ‘hi’ every time she saw me. But she was a little too shy and seemed just too scared in this fast-paced city.

That very day, when I was busy watching the traffic on the road, she came upstairs and saw me standing. As she was a really sweet girl, she said hello – and soon I realized how talkative she really was. She talked about how bored she was in this city and her nervousness at the prospect of going back alone on a flight.

I told her not to be nervous because there was no big deal in traveling alone. After all, she was a brave girl. In no time, she became even more comfortable talking to me and started sharing stuff about her family.

She asked me how many siblings I had and then told me she had two sisters and two brothers – and that their father was no more.

I was trying to say something, when she started speaking again – “One day, some people from the army came to our house and took my elder brother with them to show them the way. Our father came home and he was immensely scared by the fact that my brother had been taken somewhere. He went out to find out where he was. He was walking in the woods when someone from the army thought he could be a militant and shot him dead.” She added, “He was actually a government employee and therefore, they felt very guilty later.”

“They also asked us what we wanted – what kind of compensation did we need? But we said we did not need anything because what we have lost is gone – and we will never get him back. My elder brother takes care of us now.”

Judging by the politeness in her voice, I was not able to figure out if she was sorry for what had happened or simply satisfied with whatever she has now.

But I did not really understand what ‘compensation’ they talking about- the ‘compensation’ for life, or that for death? I really wonder what cost a human with no life could have had.

_

Featured image used for representative purposes only.

Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below