Sketch of a Kashmiri

Sketch of a Kashmiri

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Kashmir

In Kashmir, every home has a story to tell. The telling is not even needed sometimes. A missing father or son, a raped sister or mother is enough to fill in the blanks. Mostly, they are the same stories. Sometimes you are surprised. I wasn’t here during the peak stages of the struggle, but I have heard a lot of firsthand accounts from many, ranging from my own father to even the grocer around the corner! But the most interesting, harrowing and stunning story till date has been that of my father. I call it so because had this incident taken another direction, this story would have remained untold, amongst the innumerable others.

My father is a doctor and being the only residing doctor of Barzula area, which in those days was crawling with militants, he was often taken by the CRPF and militants both to check their sick comrades. He tells me of incidents when the CRPF would blindfold him, take him to a no-man’s land and order him to check the wounded and  the next day militants would show up and take him to another unknown place (of course blind-folded) to check one of them up. “It was exactly the same routine”, he tells me in a reminiscing trance, “except of course for the vehicles used”. He wasn’t happy with him “being manipulated and bullied into doing these things”, but one swoosh of the Kalashnikov (which he calls the ‘magic wand’) and the job would be done! My mother sometimes voices out her emotions too. She talks about the dreadful periods when my father was away with either of the two. “I used to mumble with the beads all the time, when he was taken”, she says in a broken voice. “One day these CRPF would drop him back off and I would say Shukur Khodaysund (Thank God), and the other day these Mujahedeen would come and take him and all my worries would return”, she remembers with a furrow on her forehead.

Those days, in the early 90s my father was supervising the construction of our house in Barzula, while living on rent (kiraay) somewhere nearby. I can imagine a younger him, giving orders to the masons in the days of hyped-militancy, a stern man that he was. His relatives looked up to him; ‘“wwwoooofshhh He is standing up on his own legs, and that too in these days”, the neighbors used to say. “None of these chickens tried to help me that day”, he strikes his hand on the carpet of our drawing room, taking me and my brother by surprise. Then he narrates the story again for the umpteenth time, with the incongruous calmness of a dervish on his slightly wrinkled face.

On one cloudy afternoon, when there was a gun-battle in old Barzula, one of the militants, wearing a cream colored khan-dress, being chased by the Indian forces came running towards our house (my almost –never-to-be-home!) and disappeared in some lanes. On the same day, at the very same moment, a man supervising the construction of his house too was wearing a cream colored khan –dress. “Mix the cement correctly” or “why is this piece broken,” I imagine my father would have been saying when an angry looking Indian forces came towards him, caught him by his collar, and called “mill gaya saala”  (I found the bastard).  Within moments half a dozen Indian forces’ jawaans assembled around him, as if answering to a muezzins call, and started to beat him. “Where did you hide your gun”, one of them shouted at him, pulling at my father’s hair. The officer slapped him twice. “I am just a doctor,” my father quickly said, trying to fight an urge to slap back. “All you bastards are the same,” shouted the army personnel back at him. He was taken, being beaten by the butts of the ‘magic wands’, blood scattered all over his kameez. He says that while passing the house he and my mother were staying on rent in, he shouted “hooow, be haa nyoohoes”, (… they took me) obviously meaning it to be heard by my mother. She says she heard nothing of the sort, and taunts that he has a ‘habit of shouting unnecessarily and when required, doesn’t’! Hilarious as it may sound, my fathers ‘habit’ (if it exists), saved my mother some useless effort that day. “I even saw these people on my way”, he says, pointing towards our neighbors. “I gave them a begging look, but they didn’t even look at me”, he adds angrily. He was taken to a nearby bunker, where he was beaten for half an hour, as the BSF (probably), completely believed that he was the militant. One of his teeth broke during the process.  My father doesn’t remember when he said his presumable final silent prayer; was it when he was being taken, or when one of the jawaans shouted “maar do saaley ko”, and three Kalashnikovs were raised at him. But he still remembers those prayers. “God, if you are there, save me”.

You have a tough time, thinking about anything, at the exact moments when you know that you might be dead the next. They say, the body loses some grams at the exact moment of one’s death. Some people call it the ‘weight of the soul’. Whatever it is, is it enough to compensate all the moments of joy and love spent by someone; the sparkles of happiness and togetherness; the bliss of life, and all the lives connected to one? Some grams. Some grams. I have had dreams and have imagined what thoughts might have crossed my father’s mind in those exact moments. Sometimes it is him thinking about what his wife would do without him?, or what his newborn son would tell his classmates about his father in the future?. But that is thinking too romantically about it all.

God proved His existence to him that day. Some BSF personnel brought a mukhbir. “It’s amazing how ones life could completely be saved just by someone moving his head in negation”, my father tells me. My mother wipes a tear.
Everything turned out fine eventually, except for some more beatings by the Indian forces for ‘him not being the militant they had thought he was’! My father was lucky, not to be harassed by them in the future. But fortunately, the story always remained, narrated again and again by him whenever someone died from a bullet wound in the valley.  And now, every time I return back home, an image forms in my mind. I have tried to sketch it many times, but I’m not a very good artist, unfortunately. Slight drizzling, a person knelt down, clothes painted in blood, face swollen up, and some BSF folks pointing guns at him. That’s the image of Baba my mind conjures, whenever I look at the bunkers around my home. That’s the image of any Kashmiri in my mind. Because everyone has a similar story. Known, unknown. Some are told, but most, unfortunately, remain untold.

Photograph from mfr_isb@yahoo.com, published under a creative commons license

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  • Pamposh Dhar

    Very moving, very sad. And yes, I have heard more such stories in Kashmir. Some end really badly. Others are like this – apparently it all turned out well in the end. But did it really, even in stories like this? Is it OK to have to live daily at the mercy of people with guns, to live or die at the nod or shake of a head of a mukhbir, to be beaten first for being a militant (supposedly) and then for NOT being a militant?

  • Inam Malik

    Truly moving..!!
    The story of every kashmiri told in a totally touching way!!
    Really makes one feel the pain and fear to an extent the writer would.have felt himself at those times!!
    Great Job..Keep It Up!

  • Azhar Mushtaq

    Splendid!

  • Arnab Basu

    I am a personal friend of the writer.He often tells us the horrible deeds that go unnoticed in what is supposedly ‘A heaven on earth’.There are many more such untold stories which die with time.In every society evil exists in one form or the other.
    These need to be brought up to the public who are not aware.Most such tales have a deep emotional trauma associated with them.
    I appeal to the people to bring up such tales,so that humanity as a whole may rise up against such atrocities.
    And Ruhan…great job bhai!Hope a day comes when your baba is relieved from these nightmares.

    • Sanjeev

      @ Arnab Basu,

      Baba will be relieved of his nightmares and start dancing in the street with joy when article 370 is scrapped and the first non-Kashmiri neighbour moves in next to his house. :)

      Let us all hope it happens soon.

      • Jonah Ryder

        Sanjeev..This is not directed at you but to those that read your comments.

        You need not reply, having said that you surely may. Be it denouncing these retorts as spam or any other jest you try. It will just get repeated over & over & over & over…catch my drift.. :)

        If you are a regular on this site. You know these people like Sanjeev (& the like) as a craven sods that perpetuates the propaganda and agenda of India.

        Their purpose is to coerce and deceive the outsider who doesn’t follow the Kashmir conflict with vigor.

        Thus far they have abused, fueled hatful attacks both virtually and on ground.

        Please take their responses with a grain of salt & ask yourself why the voice of the Kashmir walla is repeatedly attacked by these hate mongers.

        I ask the reader to also consider the beauty of Kashmirwalla to allow them their voice as erroneous it may be. Regardless take this as your warning & please do your research on the Occupied region of Kashmir before coming to any conclusions.

        The voice of the voiceless must carry on, wether being attacked by the likes of mentioned or gaged by agencies on the ground.

        Truth must prevail, no matter how often and powerful the spin masters try to sabotage our attempts to putting it forth.

        Best Regards,

        A Humble supporter of the Kashmiri Cause.

  • Chaitanya

    Well if the ‘kashmiris’ would have not hurt the pandits would the army be deployed the same way as they are today.These bastards who are anti-Indian to the core should suffer.

    • India ki maa ki aankh

      Fuck off you son of a bitch…

      • Sanjeev

        May Allah be pleased with you for your divine language. Only if you were there when Quran was written….! :)

        • Jonah Ryder

          Clearly Allah has given intellect to some & made sanjeev & the Kind Blind.

          Let us Pray for the veil to be lifted away from their eyes

          • Sanjeev

            @ jonah Ryder,

            You have put Allah in a mighty quandry there! Who will s/he listen to now? :)

          • Jonah Ryder

            Mr Patwardan,

            Do we really have to go into the qualities of a supreme being?

            I have referenced the 99 names of Allah here for your reference. Rest assured, the Al-khabir & the Al-Hakam knows all true well what’s in the hearts of men.

            Allah (الله) God
            Ar-Rahman (الرحمن) The All Beneficent
            Ar-Rahim (الرحيم) The Most Merciful
            Al-Malik (الملك) The King, The Sovereign
            Al-Quddus (القدوس) The Most Holy
            As-Salam (السلام) Peace and Blessing
            Al-Mu’min (المؤمن) The Guarantor
            Al-Muhaymin (المهيمن) The Guardian, the Preserver
            Al-Aziz (العزيز) The Almighty, the Self Sufficient
            Al-Jabbar (الجبار) The Powerful, the Irresistible
            Al-Mutakabbir (المتكبر) The Tremendous
            Al-Khaliq (الخالق) The Creator
            Al-Bari’ (البارئ) The Maker
            Al-Musawwir (المصور) The Fashioner of Forms
            Al-Ghaffar (الغفار) The Ever Forgiving
            Al-Qahhar (القهار) The All Compelling Subduer
            Al-Wahhab (الوهاب) The Bestower
            Ar-Razzaq (الرزاق) The Ever Providing
            Al-Fattah (الفتاح) The Opener, the Victory Giver
            Al-Alim (العليم) The All Knowing, the Omniscient
            Al-Qabid (القابض) The Restrainer, the Straightener
            Al-Basit (الباسط) The Expander, the Munificent
            Al-Khafid (الخافض) The Abaser
            Ar-Rafi (الرافع) The Exalter
            Al-Mu’izz (المعز) The Giver of Honor
            Al-Mudhill (المذل) The Giver of Dishonor
            As-Sami (السميع) The All Hearing
            Al-Basir (البصير) The All Seeing
            Al-Hakam (الحكم) The Judge, the Arbitrator
            Al-Adl (العدل) The Utterly Just
            Al-Latif (اللطيف) The Subtly Kind
            Al-Khabir (الخبير) The All Aware
            Al-Halim (الحليم) The Forbearing, the Indulgent
            Al-Azim (العظيم) The Magnificent, the Infinite
            Al-Ghafur (الغفور) The All Forgiving
            Ash-Shakur (الشكور) The Grateful
            Al-Ali (العلى) The Sublimely Exalted
            Al-Kabir (الكبير) The Great
            Al-Hafiz (الحفيظ) The Preserver
            Al-Muqit (المقيت) The Nourisher
            Al-Hasib (الحسيب) The Reckoner
            Al-Jalil (الجليل) The Majestic
            Al-Karim (الكريم) The Bountiful, the Generous
            Ar-Raqib (الرقيب) The Watchful
            Al-Mujib (المجيب) The Responsive, the Answerer
            Al-Wasi (الواسع) The Vast, the All Encompassing
            Al-Hakim (الحكيم) The Wise
            Al-Wadud (الودود) The Loving, the Kind One
            Al-Majid (المجيد) The All Glorious
            Al-Ba’ith (الباعث) The Raiser of the Dead
            Ash-Shahid (الشهيد) The Witness
            Al-Haqq (الحق) The Truth, the Real
            Al-Wakil (الوكيل) The Trustee, the Dependable
            Al-Qawiyy (القوى) The Strong
            Al-Matin (المتين) The Firm, the Steadfast
            Al-Waliyy (الولى) The Protecting Friend, Patron, and Helper
            Al-Hamid (الحميد) The All Praiseworthy
            Al-Muhsi (المحصى) The Accounter, the Numberer of All
            Al-Mubdi’ (المبدئ) The Producer, Originator, and Initiator of all
            Al-Mu’id (المعيد) The Reinstater Who Brings Back All
            Al-Muhyi (المحيى) The Giver of Life
            Al-Mumit (المميت) The Bringer of Death, the Destroyer
            Al-Hayy (الحي) The Ever Living
            Al-Qayyum (القيوم) The Self Subsisting Sustainer of All
            Al-Wajid (الواجد) The Perceiver, the Finder, the Unfailing
            Al-Majid (الماجد) The Illustrious, the Magnificent
            Al-Wahid (الواحد) The One, the All Inclusive, the Indivisible
            As-Samad (الصمد) The Self Sufficient, the Impregnable, the Eternally Besought of All, the Everlasting
            Al-Qadir (القادر) The All Able
            Al-Muqtadir (المقتدر) The All Determiner, the Dominant
            Al-Muqaddim (المقدم) The Expediter, He who brings forward
            Al-Mu’akhkhir (المؤخر) The Delayer, He who puts far away
            Al-Awwal (الأول) The First
            Al-Akhir (الأخر) The Last
            Az-Zahir (الظاهر) The Manifest; the All Victorious
            Al-Batin (الباطن) The Hidden; the All Encompassing
            Al-Wali (الوالي) The Patron
            Al-Muta’ali (المتعالي) The Self Exalted
            Al-Barr (البر) The Most Kind and Righteous
            At-Tawwab (التواب) The Ever Returning, Ever Relenting
            Al-Muntaqim (المنتقم) The Avenger
            Al-‘Afuww (العفو) The Pardoner, the Effacer of Sins
            Ar-Ra’uf (الرؤوف) The Compassionate, the All Pitying
            Malik al Mulk (مالك الملك) The Owner of All Sovereignty
            Dhu al Jalal wa al Ikram (ذو الجلال و الإكرام) The Lord of Majesty and Generosity
            Al-Muqsit (المقسط) The Equitable, the Requiter
            Al-Jami’ (الجامع) The Gatherer, the Unifier
            Al-Ghani (الغنى) The All Rich, the Independent
            Al-Mughni (المغنى) The Enricher, the Emancipator
            Al-Mani'(المانع) The Withholder, the Shielder, the Defender
            Ad-Darr (الضار) The Distressor, the Harmer (This attribute can only be found in hadith)
            An-Nafi’ (النافع) The Propitious, the Benefactor
            An-Nur (النور) The Light
            Al-Hadi (الهادي) The Guide
            Al-Badi (البديع) Incomparable, the Originator
            Al-Baqi (الباقي) The Ever Enduring and Immutable
            Al-Warith (الوارث) The Heir, the Inheritor of All
            Ar-Rashid (الرشيد) The Guide, Infallible Teacher, and Knower

          • Sanjeev

            @ Jonah Ryder

            Thanks. You saved me the effort of looking up my Quran copy. At least as long as this blog lives.

            But I think you copy-pasted the whole stuff from somewhere on the internet. Didn’t you, o naughty believer..!! :)

          • Jonah Ryder

            Hey you are quite welcome :)

            I hope it isn’t falling on to deaf ears as usual. We know you are blind to the Injustices that occur. Nationalism has a tendency of clouting turning vision into tunnel vision.

          • Sanjeev

            @ Jonah Ryder

            In this particular case, I am quite content with my tunnel vision, i.e. the realistic view of Kashmir valley I am getting through the Pir Panjal tunnel.

            Oops, I just gave out my location! Got to save myself from those Jihadis! :)

            Hope you aren’t accompanying them!

          • Jonah Ryder

            So you have resorted to plain mockery? that seems unsanjeevlike no?

            I am carrying out the struggle i.e jihad here with you as we speak. But go on bend words, label cleverly, be a hypocrite, & demagog..we are not surprised at what you do.

            By the way…Berkeley is a far way away from Pir Panjal.

            Sadly not only are you deaf you are also blind, too bad you aren’t mute like the bandar that which you are :)

            all jokes aside..

            You continue to reply ..and try to hostage Kashmirwallas with jingoism, demagoguery and hypocrisy

            Keep it up..the word is just spreading with each reply

      • HINDU MILITANT

        loved your id. Here’s the rejoinder. Allah ke maa ka bhosada. Hazrat mohammed ke maa ki chutt………..

        • Jonah Ryder

          Sanjeev..This is not directed at you but to those that read your comments.

          You need not reply, having said that you surely may. Be it denouncing these retorts as spam or any other jest you try. It will just get repeated over & over & over & over…catch my drift.. :)

          If you are a regular on this site. You know these people like Sanjeev (& the like) as a craven sods that perpetuates the propaganda and agenda of India.

          Their purpose is to coerce and deceive the outsider who doesn’t follow the Kashmir conflict with vigor.

          Thus far they have abused, fueled hatful attacks both virtually and on ground.

          Please take their responses with a grain of salt & ask yourself why the voice of the Kashmir walla is repeatedly attacked by these hate mongers.

          I ask the reader to also consider the beauty of Kashmirwalla to allow them their voice as erroneous it may be. Regardless take this as your warning & please do your research on the Occupied region of Kashmir before coming to any conclusions.

          The voice of the voiceless must carry on, wether being attacked by the likes of mentioned or gaged by agencies on the ground.

          Truth must prevail, no matter how often and powerful the spin masters try to sabotage our attempts to putting it forth.

          Best Regards,

          A Humble supporter of the Kashmiri Cause.

  • Munis

    Amazing!!!

  • Sanjeev

    The incident is telling in more ways than one. Firstly, it makes it obvious to the reader that the violence was started by the Jihadis. If Jihadis had not let loose a reign of bloodbath with their AK-47s, soldiers had no reason to leave the border and go hunting in the towns and villages of J&K. This crucial aspect is cunningly left unsaid in all these motivated narratives on this site. And elsewhere.

    Not that it makes any difference. The rest of us know the truth. We fully support the troops who are doing a high-risk job in J&K purely for the sake of duty. Salute to them!

  • anti-sanjeev-like-people

    You are a hateful person, and people like you are a shame!

    • Sanjeev

      Nice ID! I love your sense of humour.

      You are right in part. I do not think any feeling other than hate is possible when it comes to communal, killer Jihadis of J&K. However, it will help if you concentrated on the subject rather than calling me names.

    • HINDU MILITANT

      Thankyou for compliments. I am a hateful person and proud to be shameless.

  • anti-sanjeev-like-people

    haha! and you stayed on the subject when you said:
    “baba will be relieved of his nightmares…”
    and
    “may Allah be pleased with you…” !!
    look who is talking! Just because of some lunatics’ actions you cant blame the whole Kashmiri Muslim community! If you do so, then YOU infact are communal. Go and get a life.

    • Sanjeev

      “You are a Jihadi..”

      “You are communal..”

      Wow! Such a fruitful discussion! I suggest we can go on until the troops clear the area of poisonous Jihadi weeds and return to their camp. AFSPA roxx, doesn’t it!! :)

  • zahoor wani

    Heartbreaking, brave, and emotional. Very well written Mr. Ruhan Madni. We need writers like you.

    zahoor wani

  • Aditi Thaploo

    There are a thousand stories to say, a million tears to shred, but will that improve anything? I loved the piece written by you Ruhan Madni sahab, and it is fancily written and all, but does it help? The same human rights violations are still happening at the hands of the Paramilitary forces. There are still Kashmiri Muslims who dont talk about the Pandith exodus! It is better to do some work, rather than just getting nostalgic.

  • Ruhan Madni Naqash

    @Aditi Thaploo.
    Thanks for your comment and positive criticism. I dont totally agree with your point that Kashmiri Muslims dont talk about the unfortunate and unjust Pandith Exodus. They do. They talk about it all, at homes, and discuss it in public. They talk about it in hushed tones. I know what those hushed kashmiri tones mean. They pour out shame, and remorse.
    As for your thinking that writing is not “some work” on my part. I think I am playing my role by being a small part of the “Kashmiri-side of the story” which since some years has been reaching the Indian Masses in bulk. That, I think is ‘some work’ on my part.
    @others.. appreciation appreciated. :)

  • kashmiri muslim youth

    Emotions behind each word. An excellent piece of writing, Ruhan sahab.
    @Aditi, Kashmiri pandits have always had a habit of being awesome. We will always keep that in our hearts, and dream of days when we say “Namaskaar Mahra” on our streets again. Respect.

  • voiceofthe

    Yes this is copied & pasted from previous posts.

    Where ever you try to spew hatred this message will follow it in’Shaa’Allah

    The Holy Quran is the most read Text in the world, it is also the most mis-read, i.e people read it without knowledge of the meaning.

    If the Holy Quran is read with meaning and understood then In’Shaa’Allah many problems of this world will cease to be.

    Currently our ummah is divided and without a clear path. In’Shaa’Allah the ummah will come together soon and lead the way once again.

    Nothing escapes aakhira.. we all must atone and face Allah, this is the only truth in the world.

    I do not believe in the violent means by which our religion is being labeled, but I do believe in fighting against tyranny. for what good are my legs if I am made to kneel forever.

    These attacks against what is being said in the defense of Kashmir & Kashmiris are just that.

    One has to also wonder about the timing of this backlash against Kashmiris by the likes of Sanjeev and the many names the person uses to pander. The BJP run on the platform of division, this is what I see these people doing.

    My message is clear, a believer (a MUSLIM) until he/she interpret the Holy Quran in full meaning and applies that to their life, we will continue to suffer.

    The uneducated and ignorant are easily brainwashed, this enables clerics and muftis to take advantage of a desperate situation.

    If only one person reads this and passes it on to others then Sanjeev & the Kind have done us a service since this message has gone through to someone.

    Let us thank him/them.

    The compulsion to try and get in the last word is well defined in Psychology, known as ‘Takers.’ Islam also prohibits us from trying to get in the last word within an argument.

    My aim here is not to get in the last word, rather present the readers with an option.

    • HINDU MILITANT

      who wants to read the unholy koran? did u rad the geeta??? let the believerz suffer. I will answer on akhira, why i killed all kashmiri muslims, but frst let me kill you.

  • Jonah Ryder

    Sanjeev..This is not directed at you but to those that read your comments.

    You need not reply, having said that you surely may. Be it denouncing these retorts as spam or any other jest you try. It will just get repeated over & over & over & over…catch my drift.. :)

    If you are a regular on this site. You know these people like Sanjeev (& the like) as a craven sods that perpetuates the propaganda and agenda of India.

    Their purpose is to coerce and deceive the outsider who doesn’t follow the Kashmir conflict with vigor.

    Thus far they have abused, fueled hatful attacks both virtually and on ground.

    Please take their responses with a grain of salt & ask yourself why the voice of the Kashmir walla is repeatedly attacked by these hate mongers.

    I ask the reader to also consider the beauty of Kashmirwalla to allow them their voice as erroneous it may be. Regardless take this as your warning & please do your research on the Occupied region of Kashmir before coming to any conclusions.

    The voice of the voiceless must carry on, wether being attacked by the likes of mentioned or gaged by agencies on the ground.

    Truth must prevail, no matter how often and powerful the spin masters try to sabotage our attempts to putting it forth.

    Best Regards,

    A Humble supporter of the Kashmiri Cause.