A person can be an inspiration, and at the same time, he can be a disincentive. A person can be a symbol of change, and at the same time, he can also be a symbol of betrayal. A dearest friend often used to tell me about his teacher whenever we met. He would make it sure to praise his teacher all the time. The name of his teacher was Mr Shahid.
He was a student of literature who had got his degrees from aboard. After finishing his studies, he came back to his homeland, and began to take tuitions. He was teaching English language. And with time, he became quite a famous person in that locality. My friend Zahid had attended his few lectures, and he was inspired by Mr Shahid. He wanted me to join his classes. As a matter of fact, I was willing. Learning nuances of English language is mandatory for being a writer, something I am aiming for.
After few days, my parents allowed me, and there I was in Mr Shahid’s class. I found him more like a model than a typical teacher. He was young and handsome. He would always dress impeccably. The first time I met him, I was actually nervous. But he was exactly how Zahid had told me. In his first lecture, he won my heart. I was deeply impressed by him. He was friendly and frank as well, so different from the usual teachers one gets at schools.
Time passed and I attended few more lectures of Mr Shahid. I found him an amazing teacher. Now he became my favourite teacher. I used to discuss Mr Shahid with my friends and family as well. My parents were happy that I was learning new things. I found qualities of a leader in him. He was an enthusiastic lover of change. He wanted to eradicate bad things from our society, and wanted to give a new shape to it.
He was deeply serious and sombre person. Even people got inspired by his write-ups that appeared in newspapers. Mainly of his write-ups were against the wrong polices of Government – how to make a better society, etc. He also used to tell us how the so-called the largest democracy made us (Kashmiris) its slave, and how they always did injustice to us.
I usually observed a thing in him, whenever someone would talk about ruling party in front of him, a fury would creep in his face. Then he would explain as how ruling party has betrayed our people at every moment. He went on to convince us that they are not enlightened rulers but uncouth-goons who had no sense of morality. Mr Shahid was indeed an intellectual who would sacrifice himself for his people.
Within no time, we finished our course spanned over some thirty classes. In these classes, we learned a lot. Now our write-ups were getting published. Everyone was impressed that we were Mr Shahid’s student. Such was his image among people.
But one day, while scanning through a newspaper, suddenly my eyes glimpsed a shocking piece of news. “Mr Shahid is now part of the ruling party.”
I was in shock. I was talking to myself. Such was an impact of that incredible piece of news on me. “How is it possible? Could it be a wrong news? Are there two Mr Shahids?” I kept asking myself. I made few phone calls to confirm this unbelievable news and a friend who was on call replied, “yes it is true.”
How is it possible, a person who told me that this ruling party with its cruel tactics always betrayed us, now the same person is praising same party and is part of the subject!
I fail to understand, why he took this step and what forced him to do it?
And then, to seek answers of many questions he left unanswered in my mind, I buzzed him up.
“I am shocked, why you did this?” I said in a voice filled with remorse and rage.
“I will make you understand everything,” he replied. “I will answer every question of yours.”
But what was there to understand. I waited to make a sense out of his move. I still do. Everyone is making fun of him. I still refuse to. A symbol of inspiration became a symbol of betrayal. He promised us change and we blindly followed. Then came a time when he betrayed us, and we were left shocked.
Shall the young people accept that we should not be shocked but smile with all-knowing smugness because this has been our history. Our history has an unfortunate chapter of betrayal in it. Our people have been deceived since ages, and Mr Shahid seems to follow that tradition. God bless my people.
(Malik Aabid is pursuing his under-graduation in Humanities at Amar Singh College)