Sharing Grief

By Saima Bhat

In ideal world children often show their scars as medals.

But if the kid is from Kashmir, born during troubling 80s, then the concept of medal changes altogether. For him/her the biggest medal was to reach home alive every evening from school!

One evening, during early 90s, I was not-so-lucky as my parents forgot to pick me up from the school. But being a kindergarten student, this “lapse” hardly bothered me. However, that day onwards, for years, image of sober looking Biscoe boy, wearing a red blazer flashing school’s motto: in all things be men – on his left breast pocket gave me sleepless nights after my mother told me he was ‘martyred’. As a kid I was unable to understand the intricacies’ of K-issue, rather I kept wondering why a student was martyred? Only thing known to me was this student’s name. He was Ishfaq Majeed Wani. That day onwards, I began remembering my schoolmate Ishfaq every year on March 30. Later I realized Ishfaq was quite senior, and the picture that was in circulation post his martyrdom was an old one from school album. The years that followed saw many more youngsters killed by government forces in conflict torn Kashmir. But I hardly forgot Ishfaq and his eyes. My quest to know more about this young boy landed me at a place where I can say I known him now. I learned that Ishfaq was among the first ones to lay down his life for a “cause”. I know he is hailed, by one and all, irrespective of ideology, as the pioneer of armed struggle. But what I failed to understand, and still do, is why his death anniversary is not observed by all across separatist camps in Kashmir together?

Why this division in observing grief? Why these departed ones belong to their families only and not to us?

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