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A Dream within A Dream

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The world here is the abode of many dreams for people, especially for its young. They see themselves becoming engineers, doctors, politicians etc in the next few years but I lost myself to a different thought world. I was born in 1992, in Kashmir, the conflict torn state, home to thousands of orphans, half widows and lakhs of martyrs. Soon after my birth my father was arrested and tortured by the police (a norm in the turbulent 90’s).
In my childhood all I saw was guns and men in camouflage patrolling the streets. I saw people getting maimed, raped and killed. This was the first experience of the world around me. My maternal uncle happened to be the commander in chief of the rebels, the earliest memory of him was in the Tihar Jail, India’s largest jail, he wouldn’t return to his home for the next 10 years.
This and many other things made me change the outlook of life, thoughts about justice, equality and liberty overshadowed everything, I would think about the conflict more than anything else. I took to the streets to protest peacefully, I was met with force, I was beaten a countless times. I then chose social media to register my protest, my voice was gagged, my social accounts were taken down more than 20 times. This made me think of alternative options, choosing the gun was the only option I saw, it was seen as a symbol of resistance in the vale.

In the meantime I met, Raheela, an engineer and a poet; her rhythmic and metered lines about the heroes of the land mesmerized me and she won my heart. I fell in love, this was probably the best thing that happened to me. I told my parents about it and we were planning to get married but at the same time I was thinking about the conflict. The 2016 uprising took place, the popular militant commander, Burhan Wani was martyred. His martyrdom was followed by widespread protests, more than a hundred people were killed, thousands blinded, pellet guns were brought into the scene and were used as a method to curb the resistance.

This made me think about the conflict more and more to the extent that I ended up being depressed and traumatized. I lost my sleep and if by chance I fell asleep I used to dream about the conflict.
In one cold December night, I had a dream, I dreamt of leaving my home to the woods to join the rebels. In my dream I saw Raheeha as my wife and my parents too, they were reading the letter which I had left behind.

The text in my letter read
“Assalamu alikum wa rahmatullah
Dear Amie jaan And Abu ji!

I don’t know how to begin this letter as my heart goes through severe pain and anguish. My heart bleeds out for my brethren who are being subjected to torture every now and then by the oppressors.

Amie and Abu ji, The martyrs of my land are calling me; my sisters, Asiya and Nelofar, are complaining; they are crying for justice and I can’t just sit here Idle. Like you Amie, there are women in Kunanposhpora who are fighting for themselves, for their dignity. I want to bring justice to my brothers and sisters and justice lies in teaching oppressors a lesson in the language they understand better.
Amie and Abu, I feel powerless when I see those little children of my nation being killed. I owe my motherland a lot; I owe my brothers a lot who sacrifice their lives for you and me. I want to live a dignified life and for me dignity is not being a slave of killers of thousands of Kashmiris. The degrees and certificates I possess, what value these things have when I can’t bring freedom to my nation!
I am going; I am leaving to join my brothers in their struggle. I find peace in martyrdom rather than sitting at home or being their slave. Yeh lahoo Karwaan Karwaan Jayega Yeh lahoo Gulistaan Gulistaan Jayega.
Amie and Abu, I know you will weep for me; I know you will miss me. But my dearest mother, there are hundreds of mothers in Kashmir whose tormented wails and cries don’t let me sleep at night when I think of them. I feel ashamed when I ask them about the whereabouts of their beloved ones. I can’t escape from my pain when I think of little brothers being arrested and tortured and killed!
You have always narrated to me the stories of freedom fighters in my childhood and I kept dreaming my future with them. Yeah, martyrs are calling me! My pride is to see myself one of them, fighting against the oppressors. It is not easy I know but my will and strong determination will prove it someday.
I don’t want to sit and take the pleasures out of the riches and luxuries. I want to quench my thirst either by the freedom of my oppressed nation or martyrdom. Amie and Abu, how will I face my brothers on the day of Judgement when they ask me what I had done after their martyrdom? Shall I answer them that I was surfing Internet, using Facebook and so on for my enjoyment, without caring for the oppressed ones?
Amie and Abu, you are my brave parents. Please allow me and have the courage to welcome my body wrapped in a shroud smeared with my warm blood because I have chosen my path and I promise you that one day you will be proud of me, Insha Allah!

Thanks for raising me the way you did. I love you both from the core of my heart! You both have taught me to stand against the evil and, Insha Allah, I hope I won’t let you down. You raised me to be strong and capable; your love for me is immeasurable and I know I can’t repay anything and it’s your teaching that has made me realize my duty towards my occupied nation. I hope you will feel proud of my decision and take care of yourself and be happy for me as I am going to fight on the path of Allah (saw)! Insha Allah will meet you in Jannah

My dear wife, Raheela, you hold a special place in my life, your love changed me completely, you were the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me. You need to understand it’s time to do something, something good for my people, you are a brave woman. I know. You were telling me not to leave but it has become a compulsion now, death can be accepted but not dishonor; you already know that, don’t you?

Since you are pregnant it was my responsibility to take care of you and my child but fate had different things in the store, I want you to take care of my child, name him Saifullah, Saif will remind you of me when you miss me, tell him that his father was a brave man who chose life of the lions than that of the sheep. Educate him, teach him the Quran and Sunnah, raise him to be a good human and a perfect Muslim.
You will always be in my thoughts and prayers, I hope we meet in paradise, as pious lovers. I love you a lot.

Yours obediently
Khaksar Naqeeb Adnan

(Note: The writing is fictitious and has no connection with any real event)

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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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.

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