Unfurling Freedom

Irtif Lone

On 15th of August, like on any other day, Kashmir seeks Independence.  Some 68 years before, after decades of being a British colony and its continuous struggle to achieve independence, India became free on the said date. But, today when it has achieved its nationhood as was desired by its population and is celebrating its 68th birthday; it has turned into an occupier. Eventually, it seems they have forgotten their history or have no respect for it. Or how else can one become an occupier if it has suffered as a colony and an occupation itself. They are probably repeating the history.

As far as my memory goes, I remember Kashmir has always staged a bandh on 15th August as a mark of protest, with a hope that someday they might be able to celebrate their own freedom.

I have grown up in this conflict. And the violence of all these years has remained engraved in my memory and somehow it plays a role unconsciously though, in my thinking. It somehow has become a part of me like my other organs.  But, the fact remains, that I have also always longed for being a part of free Kashmir. The idea of loving my own nation, by conviction and not by force has always fascinated me. For a long period of time, what freedom meant haunted me. Even though, in Kashmir everybody is enthralled by the word “Freedom”, and to define it, a lot has been written. For me, more than anything it’s a feeling, a state of mind which can be achieved only when you are free.

For once, I would love to celebrate the Independence Day in Kashmir, Kashmir’s Independence Day. On that day, I would wake up early before the break of dawn and put on my best attire and then along with my family head towards the place where the Independence Day is to be celebrated.  The ground would be filled with people and I would among all of them find my cousins and my friends and the people I know, or the ones I even don’t know and greet them, for we would be bound by the common celebration. And imagining, when we would hug some one whispers in my ear, “Happy Independence Day”, I might not be able to control my emotions and I might cry out loud.

And, then if I find people from military services, I would go and shake their hands and tell them how proud we are of them.  And then click selfie’s with them to be posted on social networking sites latter that day.

 And then, when the celebration starts, I would stand as a mark of respect when the flag is unfurled amid the puff of air swinging it to and fro, like a newly born baby in the arms of her mother and in the background the national anthem being played. I am sure it wouldn’t be an easy sight.

But, then it’s a dream a distant one may be. But, I think that’s what freedom would mean. I envy people, when I see them doing what I wish to do when we are Free.

Between, with a heavy heart I wish Happy Independence day to Pakistan and India as well, and wish we have ours soon.


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