A plague of sorts

Arshid Malik
Arshid Malik

Arshid Malik

Kashmir is a very conservative society – I am forced to say that since I have minutely observed its structure and constituents. I have been a part of the whole system all my life and I have borne its conspicuousness which our elders still refuse to accept. Our elders say that Kashmir is as pure as a drop of morning dew and so are its people. Are they? I must ask.

I grew up in Kashmir, bled in Kashmir and went almost mad in Kashmir. I would not dare to say that I know Kashmir more than anyone else but my personal experiences and my openness to ingenuity render me capable of “commenting” on the exact being of Kashmiri people. I am not here to comment on whether Kashmiri people are good are bad, for I believe that good and bad are two constructs of the same coin. People ought to be either good or bad, but what makes the difference is whether they are appreciative of the fact that they are either good or bad.

I must be well known by now as a Kashmiri basher, which I believe I am not. I am simply out there to point out mistakes that I make as a Kashmiri, as a person who acknowledges the crimes and bad deeds we have committed. I am simply a person who cares for what we have done with our past and what we could possibly do with our present and future. I am a warning in the shape of a human being and henceforth I would like to prosaically demonstrate the emptiness of our value systems by citing a certain example from my life where I encountered the brutality of Kashmir first hand.

I was a naughty yet innocent kid ever since I learnt the difference between the sun and the moon. I was very talkative and always had an immense sense of humor – the latter I retain till present day. One more peculiar thing about me was that I was never “politically” aware of the difference between men and women; I was never cognitive of the feminine and masculine in terms of differences. This was a “quality” which was endowed upon me ever since I saw my parents, my mother and my father working together in an ever-performing manner, complementing each other always – be it the chores of the kitchen or complicated matters regarding insurance and else.

I had a first cousin, a male with ambient ambitions about life and else. This very male cousin was iconic for his first-handedness and honesty and I would believe no different. I was around 10 years of age, quite chubby as a child and adored by one and all. I was very lively as far as I can remember. One day my cousin invited me to his room which was at the first floor of the house shared by my father, his family and my elder uncle and his family. He enticed me into it over the pretext of showing me some amusing comics. I was enticed as I should have been since I loved comics. I entered my cousin’s room and caught up on a pervading evil smell – something was wrong and I could smell it. As soon as I laid my hand on the comics I was lost like forever. I felt a hand groping my limbs and there was no not telling that it was a male hand, besides the fact that only my cousin was in my room. It was my cousin, my male cousin and he started whispering in my ear, things I could not even understand. Gauging me levels of comprehension my cousin skipped levels and reached an altogether different slant. I was victimized thereof. It was a conundrum of continuances thereafter. What should I call it? “Rape”. If I were dare tell so, yes I was raped by a man of countenance who represented the covert, obsessed psyche of Kashmir and its people. I grew in the dark for the years to come. I was an object for the satisfaction of a growing man’s needs who, did not have the balls to make to a woman or else was confused about his own sexuality. He was a demon who was to infest me for ages, or rather the reflections. The shadows and images of him! Yes, he raped me, time and again and it was not just rape it was an infestation.

Why am I not ashamed to tell this story –for such stories do bring in shame- is because I want the truth, I speak the truth and am always the proponent of truth. I am a male and was raped by a male, time and again and that is my truth. There is nothing else. ‘

When my fellow Kashmiri men flaunt their acumen and their goodwill I am always reminded of my cousin who had the heart and the will to rape me – rape an innocent child who cared all about comics and stuff. He did rape me and I will never name him for I want to bring utter dastardly shame to this covenant soul.

When I walk dark alleys and stuff I am frightened, always frightened that someone me is following me, a darkened soul, an inherited demon who ascertains to plague me.

That is the truth I have learnt about Kashmir. Now there must be thousand of souls out there who cannot speak because the subject of debate till this point of time is “rape with women” till now. Would want to talk, about a subject that is skeptical, and all for all we can be. There are outraged souls blithering about the dark clouds that make up the Kashmiri psyche and all we can afford to do is tell women to cover up their heads, Ha Ha.

2 COMMENTS

  1. unfortunately, unfortunately no surprise.’arent the spiritual heights blocked for u?’ unfortunately the hangover of ‘dark times’ haunts me with questions. cofronting these questions time and again i blame kashmir-the society i am a part of.

  2. “A plague of sorts” is very courageous, not just in its willingness to share, but also in its willingness to perceive. The connection of this personal vio!ation to the darkness of Kashmir is suggestive of a public morality that covers many such dark secrets that are allowed to fester because they are not discussed.

    This is a story that exists in many places and in many flavors – a story of a prescriptive morality that is used to regiment people (and here perhaps is the connection to the better-known ills of religious violence that afflict Kashmir) but which cuts against the grain and leads to secret violations that torment those who are drawn into them by causing both victims and perpetrators to present a dishonest public face.

    Consulting my own well of knowledge, I see that a child is in the process of forming and exploring an identity, and thus needs unconditional love so that the distinct possibilities of that developing person can be supported generally, without determining specifically what they will be. And so when someone shows a child that he is valued for just physical traits that are not the result of that child’s own choice or efforts, it is very damaging because it constricts the definition of the child’s value to the uses that can be made of the child as a “thing” to support someone else’s personal agenda.

    This is unfortunately not just a violation, but also an initiation into the code of silence that accompanies all such violations of the public prescriptive morality. And with that silence goes a tendency to seek release in further secret violations. Only an act of revelation, such as this article, can break that cycle and help to restore wholeness to the person and to the society.

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