In search of lost paradise

Rameez Bhat

Kashmir is a land where everyone savours its picturesque beauty, where everyone relishes its cuisine, Iwhere everyone craves to come again and again, where everybody basks in the glory of its different seasons. Its own people too enjoy everything associated with their land.

Now this paradise has lost its magical spell. It seems to have fallen victim to an evil eye. Since the start of occupation, I have lost my paradise and I am in search of its lost glory. From plant kingdom to that of humans, they have lost their peace and paradise. I was taught by a teacher in early stage of my life that in a paradise nobody is supposed to interfere in your affairs; you are free of constraints. But in Kashmir the pattern is reversed. You are forced to follow draconian laws. You are asked to show your identity. You are caged in your home for months together. You are tortured, killed after being implicated in false cases. You are subjected to enforced disappearances without any fault of yours. Your mothers, sisters and wives are raped. Your schools are burnt to ashes where blooming flowers learn the precious lessons of their lives. Unlike the features of the paradise of afterlife, here you won’t find the singing of flying birds as they too are in grip of fear. From children to the old, from girls to women, from plants to animals everybody has witnessed pools of blood all around.

Our blooming buds are psychologically depressed now. When I was in 2nd standard I used to play hide and seek with my friends. One day a call from the neighbour frightened us as the army had cordoned off our village in search of militants. While we still continued to play, an army man unluckily came where I had hidden myself. He pointed his gun on my head as if he thought a 7-year old child would be the chief of the commander of the guerilla group. I screamed in front of him till somebody told him that these children were playing hide and seek. Only then did he leave. That was the day when I said good bye to the hide and seek game as my parents didn’t allow me to play it again.

Same is the case with our present blooming buds as they are caged in their homes for months. They are depressed due to the ongoing turmoil in the lost paradise. They lack interest in studies, always feeling a sense of discomfort. We are worried about the future of our children. I heard some students talking to each other and the conversation went like this: “If the government will reopen the schools again how can we go there as the schools are now burnt down. How can we play with the friends as they are shot with pellet. How can we take our meals when some of our friends are in their graves? How can we face our teachers as some of our teachers are behind bars and some are in eternal paradise?”

Now is the time to think about these ill-fated children. Let them play again. Let them play the game of hide and seek which I couldn’t relish. Let children be spared the ugly sight of pools of blood on the roads, and bullet holes in walls. Let them see again the same paradise about which Jahangir had rightly said, “If there is paradise on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.”

It’s not only our children who are suffering, older ones too are suffering on a multitude of fronts. Economically, we are facing the worst financial crisis since  accession. But the ongoing turmoil has hit tourism and transport workers the most. This conflict did not only batter the economy but it also took lakhs of lives and atrocities in the lost paradise are going on. From time to time India and its rulers made lofty promises, but instead they raped our women.  Kunan Poshpora is a glaring example. They kill, maim and torture Kashmiris under their draconian laws. They make women half-widows. Now they call a lost paradise their integral part. Gandhi and Nehru categorically declared in their speeches, “Kashmiris will have to be given their rights, according to their wishes”. But, unfortunately India has forgotten the promises of the father of the nation.

Life is a precious asset and no price can compensate for it. We need to think to regain the glory of the lost paradise via talks, not through the barrel of gun. The gun whether it is from India, or from the other side, can only devastate the paradise. So, let the concerned start talks to reclaim the lost glory of our paradise. Let peace prevail.

The author is a student at
University of Kashmir

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 December 2016 on page no. 2

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