Insha Bint Bashir
And yet another Valentine’s Day has announced its arrival. That too in a new year when new beginnings and fresh dawns sets most of us in wishing mode. But one close look will reveal that there is nothing new about it.
Bygone year that entered into the realms of history was the same old tedious one—full of quandary, and amiss shadows. And now when hegemons are celebrating this year enthusiastically, we wrung our hands in despair! It is not the same for us as it appears from outside. Impatience and overbearing anger is all out of proportion now. We still believe that truth will have a last laugh at the end. As we have an unflinching faith, great patience, and our incessant efforts all the way following us.
We are abruptly broken, as the fires of dismay are slowly consuming our nights. Our souls stir in desperation. And our being falling deeper into a browbeaten state. Totally, lost in confusion, we seem to lose all rights. We also remember scores of lost souls consumed by callous men.
We have shed tears of pain. But now, this has to end to save ourselves from the same tomorrow. So this valentine, I am sending this letter to Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah with the motive to pour my heart out to him:
Be my Valentine, Mr CM
I know, you are a great lover of destruction! But you know, I love you, as death and destruction is after life, and love is all between both of it. I know, you are our young chief minister. And I am a small unprivileged girl. But I also know your passion of power to be our crowned king, and author of others’ fate.
Your Highness! Death of those devoured in the name of enforcing calm was not their fate! But they merrily drank the cup for their own companions before the tussle between the romance of power and powerlessness. But you embraced their slaughter as a punishment for their passion. It wonders me, my chief minister!
You may be thinking that I am exaggerating. But the truth is always bitter in taste. Know something, justice will rule one day.
I know, you got the unexpected big lounge which is no wonder to you. But, is it not haunting you day in and day out? I wonder, aren’t those highly decorated rooms reminding you of all unmarked graves? And what about those waiting for their disappeared ones, aren’t they making you restless! They walk to you with broken ankles: mothers, wives, sisters with tattered shawls. But there, your guards shoo them away within seconds.
But why should you give a damn! You sit all day puffing and playing. I would suggest you to inhale some of our misery and exhale some revolution from burnt articles of the broken. This is not impossible, is it, Mr CM?
Don’t be afraid. I am not going to trouble you by my truth. Know something, there is something beyond death. Why don’t you come with me and be my valentine!
I know, your heart is just beating for your overpowered nature, not for your own people. But you know, these days heart of Kashmiris is not beating with ease. These days, mercy and forgiveness are replaced by rage and revenge. While visiting jungles and mountains, my dad often say: “There are those animals which are not yet born but still the wildest of wild animals prefer to leave their prey. They also believe that this tussle between power and powerlessness will cease soon. And this world will be happier and a different world to live in. With different sky where there will be no restrictions. That will be a world, where there will be only seasons of heart.”
I thought to reach you this month with a beautiful and challenging rose, which will be attired in red. But not from my own garden as there are no roses left now! So, I straight went up to my neighbour’s garden, but before I plucked a beautiful red flower for you, I suddenly found it pale. Then in a sudden glance, it stained and then, drops of blood made it even more red! Neither could I reach you, nor my flower. Perhaps now, I will see you next year, or some other month.
You might be thinking that I want to be your valentine, but sorry Mr CM, my companion—roses are dead! My hand crushed, and my heart and voice sinking. I can’t be. Not this year, Mr CM.
From an [un]Known Kashmiri.
In a true union of Kashmiris, we can find emancipation. No doubt, we think that the shades of light are fading. But we can find perfection in our bruised knees. We can find the soft side of callused palms. It is all up to us—how we counter the viciousness faced by Kashmiris since ages.
I can see many butterflies which are so young in determination. I look up at the sky and I somehow feel that everything will change for the better. That this nastiness too will end. That peace and tranquillity will return once more.
As we know sorrow prepares you for joy. It sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow.
Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place. Today, we can’t move forward as we are restricted by regulation. We can’t bridge the gap of Kashmir, divided since great liberation of Indian Sub Continent. But my soul wanders silently and secretly to the divided part of the valley that too without passport and visa.
I have every reason to stay optimist that one day division would be devoured. I know one day, my fellow Kashmiris would move freely from this side to other side sans restrictions. And then I will wander through both the sides of LoC and will pick elements of togetherness from each place.
It is high time that we should come forward and exhibit courage to speak what we feel even if it means displeasing someone!
(A photography enthusiast and an aspiring writer, Insha Bint Bashir is a literature student from South Kashmir’s Islamabad district. She has recently qualified her Class 12)