by Tahir Bhat
SRINAGAR: For Ayesha Begum, life has come in a series of tragedies. At a time when she should have restricted herself to rest, she rows a boat into the Wular lake and harvests the water chestnuts for the whole day. It is not a voluntary choice, however.
Begum’s son – who was living separately, Javid Ahmad Dar, was a fisherman and somehow managed to feed his wife and two daughters, both mute and paralysed for life. In the last Panchayat Raj elections, he contested and won a bertha and became the Sarpanch in Zurimanz, a village located on the banks of Wular.
On October 12, 2020, Dar was founded hanging at his Zurimaz home in Bandipore. Police initially thought it was suicide. Subsequent investigation proved it to be a murder.
Police found that his wife had an extra-marital affair with a local, Shahzad Ahmad Dar, a Panch. They had administered some sedatives to Dar and later strangulated him to death. Police arrested both of them are they are in jail.
For Ayesha, Dar’s aged and ailing mother, however, another tragedy started. First, she had to manage the debts that Dar had raised. Then, she had to bring up, Dar’s two specially-abled daughters, Bisma 10 and Tanzeela 4. Both the girls are mute and paralysed.
The old lady requested her daughter – living in another village, to take care of the younger girl. To manage the elder one, she works as a water-nut harvester in Wullar lake.
Ayesha said she, sometimes goes without food. She said she is unable to manage her life. The girl requires more than Rs 3000 for diapers alone. She is seeking help from the government and society.
“My son did many things for society,” Ayesha said, sobbing. “He built a local graveyard. Tragically, he became its first inhabitant.”