Unemployment: A Reason To Die

JK Bank

By Mudasir Majeed Peer

Most of the times, unemployment has been a reason for the death of many people.  It is not any gun which can fire rounds of bullets in a jiffy, neither; it is any knife which can rip up a human belly. It is not even a noose which can block a wind pipe, carrying oxygen to a body. But it certainly does share a very close bond with all these means of death.


Unemployment is a vicious cause which blanks out the cerebral region of a person and just leaves him or her in an optional sphere of life. Either a person is forced to join the table of lunatics or to embrace the death. Also, it deprives him/her of the deserved space in a society. Majority of people, who ultimately fail to recognize the path which can fetch them their livelihood, prefer death. They do such, only to avoid the disdain from the people with whom they have blood ties.

Few weeks ago, when I was leaving mosque after offering evening prayers, I met a friend. After a normal chat he turned to the issue of unemployment. He blurted out, “Hey! You know a very close friend of mine, who would teach together with me at a private school a year ago, has died”. On further inquest he revealed the story of how his friend struggled for a pittance to continue his education and then finally died. I became so curious about the actual grounds of his friends death after hearing about him. Next morning I set off for the place to which the deceased boy belonged.

Gugloosa, a village, 13-Kilometers ahead of Kupwara town, was my point of purpose. It is the place where people face poverty in well amount but don’t make it an excuse to mar the education of their children. Poverty ridden village to which this deceased boy, who struggled to live but couldn’t make it till end, belonged.

Bilal Ahmad Parray, 24, died a mysterious death at a hotel in Orissa, belonged to Gugloosa village. He had lost his father in early years of his teenage. He had no one who could bear his study expenses after his father’s demise. In fact he had his family who were in grief of the loss. He has grief ridden mother, four unmarried sisters and an elder brother. His brother works at a stone quarry, from dawn to dusk, just to earn scanty wages. Gugloosa is the stronghold of National Conference Member of Legislative Assembly from Kupwara, Mir Saifullah, as he too belongs to this village. He resides a few miles away from the Bilal’s house.

As I alit from bus, I saw hordes of men roving on streets of this village. I could see a complete state of morass. As I ambled along the roadside, with a note-book, a pen in hand and a backpack slung over shoulders, I saw some bystanders probing me from some distance away. They were busy in conversations, talking about Bilal’s death. Everyone had a story to tell about his death.  I walked a few more steps past them; I could see a crowd following me. Staring at me, they precisely got me well. A boy amongst them said, “He is some kind of media person. So he must have come to report this incident.”

I stopped there. Within just seconds I was chained around by some boys, asking me “Do you belong to any newspaper?” After my positive reply, they start revealing different stories about Bilal. I was flummoxed with a number of voices, at once, giving different versions. I was not able to listen even to the one. I requested them to just take me to any of the family members of Bilal. Following this, everyone struck hands against his mouth with the index finger staying vertically across in the middle of lips, beckoning me not to visit their house. I demanded a reason for not allowing me to meet them. They said that his family is yet oblivious about his passing away, except his brother Bashir, who along with some more relatives had gone to fetch his corpse from Orissa.

Confused at the varied statements of locals, I better thought to contact some close associate of Bilal. Finding a person of meaning, in this crowd, was just untying the Gordian knot. An old man took me a few steps away from the crowd and told me about a person. Bilal’s friend and his confidant since childhood but he didn’t join the crowd. I made an earnest request to this old man to introduce me to him.

A meekly constructed three room house, with an extension in front (Verandah) and a rag spread over it. A bearded boy leaning against wall, with cheeks cupped in hands, was sitting on Verandah. As I came close to him, I found him in a pensive mood. I greeted him but he didn’t react. I was so disappointed. I thought of return but the man who took me to this house told me to go sit inside. I went in the house and waited alone in a room. After a few minutes they too joined me. I was so confused about what to do and what to ask.

I maintained silence for around ten minutes. But the ten minutes couldn’t silence my eyes, as I was unable to resist the hysterical tears which splashed down from the eyes of Ajaz, Bilal’s friend. I could very well feel how a person feels after meeting a tragedy. Grief, despair, dejection, uneasiness, madness, sadness, tears, cries and what not, all this takes control over a person after he/she meets any tragic upset and rips his/her feelings apart. Same was the state of Aijaz. When I started conversation with him, his every word was coming out with a deep weepy shrill.

Whatever the details Aijaz revealed about his friend spoke the volumes about his friendly affair with Bilal. An affair which was hardly describing Aijaz as a person not related to Bilal by blood, a truly close-knit bond. He revealed all stories about his friend. He shared a story about the circumstances which compelled Bilal to join army and also the conversations which they had on phone during his training. He also unfolded some points which might have forced him to kill himself.

Bilal was an arts graduate. He would have deserved a very good place among the meritorious lot, as his academic achievements speak. He had graduated with 60 per cent marks. During graduation he was working as a teacher at a private school. The wages, thus earned, would exhaust in his study expenses and some in supporting the daily family expenses. After this degree he planned to go for masters in economics. He took admission in post-graduation in economics through Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). Due to the mounting financial strains at home, he was turning distressful. He was in dire need of job but there was no job at the just finishing of graduation.

In Kashmir, there has been following a bizarre trend of job selection. There is no specificity in choosing a job. A person here hardly gets the job of his/her choice. Unemployment has set its roots deep. This makes people possessing elite degrees to choose rather struggle for second rate jobs. Bilal was a simple graduate but he had a big life ahead. He was in just 20s many decades were to come forth but fate didn’t allow him to reach even to his 30s. He had to break away from his family, friends and everyone and the reason became unemployment.

Bilal got a job in army last year. Not willing for the job, but the pathetic financial circumstances at home made him to go for it. He went to Orissa for training. At the just beginning of training he felt somewhat uneasy and annoyed as the course was more of hectic schedule and the job against his will—a job above and beyond the call of duty. He used to convey on phone every detail to his friend Ajaz. The daily happenings, appreciation from higher officials, the weather of Orissa and everything he used to share with his friend. He had now adapted an army man in him. He had conveyed to his friend Ajaz about his now willingness and satisfaction for job.

One day during routine training parade on ground, Bilal had a fracture in leg. The stringent laws of army don’t approve a person if he is physically unfit. So did happen to Bilal. He was told to return his home for rest and also to take some treatment. He came back after three months of training, stayed at home and also took some treatment.

After one month at home, Bilal went back to Orissa to resume his duties. He was told there to get his medical fitness report before joining. He went for medical examination. Before leaving to doctor he called his friend and told him if he will be medically disqualified and thus discharged from service then it would be last call from him.  But Ajaz had not minded it and had thought it as a joke.  Very much unsure about the successful medical reports, desponded Bilal had gone to doctor. What he didn’t wish to hear he had to hear. He was declared medically unfit and his every dream was vanished.

At the time of joining army, Bilal was patted by elders in Village and was told to return as a big army officer. He was in the line of fire now. Ajaz said, “He was fearful of societal criticism.”

After a state of shape up or ship out, he was shattered. After the unfit medical reports, he was boarded out from the services. On the same day he left the army encampment and stayed in a hotel. A Central Investigation Department (CID) official disclosed that he was in a hotel for two consecutive days. “As the hotel management grew suspicious about his continuous stay inside the room they knocked the door. After no response from him, the hotel employees entered the room by breaking its window and there they found Bilal dead,” he said.

There have not been actual reports about the cause of his death, but the last call to his friend has much to say. He was buried in Orissa as his family reached five days after his death and till that the body was decomposed, not in a state to carry to his native place.

Whatever the causes will emerge after the investigation, we may conclude that there was a connection of his board out from service on medical grounds related to his death.

Unemployment has become a lethal weapon now. People now die due to it. If precious human lives start wasting like this then the day is not far when this land will become a desert. The responsibilities do lie to people also who are at the helm of affairs. They should come down from the superiority ego and play a proactive role in counselling and educating people so that there will be a check on it. Holding a big seat doesn’t hold anyone at high. What keeps one higher is the generosity towards those who fail to recognize any path. They should hold them by hand and make them understand.

Mudasir Majeed Peer is staff writer with The Kashmir Walla.


  1. it is another betrayel from india. Can’t the writer say it that Bilal was deliberately declared unfit on medical grounds.
    India will always try to make kashmir a barren land and unemployement is one of tools with addition to gun, drugs or whatever.

  2. A journalist has done justice with his profession, pleading the plight of unemployed. Author on the other hand has failed in justifying his argument. What was the sole reason of Bilal’s death? Was it unemployment? Was it his broken leg? Was it fear of societal criticism?. I fail to visualise the boy, who narrated this story to the journalist, leaning against the wall and cupping his chin, LEANING AGAINST THE WALL AND CUPPING HIS CHIN? A journalist may have seen this but I’m damn sure AUTHOR has seen his head leaning forward and chin cupped.. Here I see a clash between author and the journalist, who happens to be my dear friend.
    Coming to the deceased, may his soul rest in peace-which may not had he done what I comprehend(from the religious point of view) I despise those who succumb to tragedy like unemployment, I despise those who lack trust in divine forces, I despise those who take their life away which is not their own..
    @Mariam… Do you know whats the number of kashmiri youth in Indian army, Indian air force, Indian navy? Why would they, after recruiting him for training, fail him in the medical test….?

  3. Kudos to the author for bringing a truly humane work, it was great to read the story written in the best words. However, when I look at the total structure of the write-up, it is total bullshit. Firstly the author makes a generalization that unemployment has taken many lives. If a total of 100 or more cases are reported from, the state of Jammu and Kashmir that show that unemployment was the cause of their deaths, that doesn’t mean it is the “angel of death.” Husbands attempt suicides and die after getting tortured by the wives doesn’t mean that we relate wives to bullets and guns.
    Secondly, at one place the author writes, ‘poverty ridden village.’ I want to know what the standards of poverty are. Is it earning Rs 40 or 50 per day per head or more. How can the author say, “poverty-ridden village.” Moreover, Poor people don’t send their children to Orissa. They can’t even afford to make their children graduates. And how much money is, “scanty Wages.”
    Thirdly, this write-up was an opinion piece. It was about the author how he would narrate the story. Telling the story of a man in a most poignant way who has committed suicide. Suicide. It is ridiculous. Allah the exalted says in the quran, ‘And do not kill yourselves.’ Surah Nisa, Ayah 29.
    So it is sure that the author has written what is considered a fasiq act. Moreover, it is better to remain silent when somebody commits an Open rebellion to Allah I mean fasiq. In a hadith Narrated By Thabit bin Ad-Dahhak : The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, “Whoever intentionally swears falsely by a religion other than Islam, then he is what he has said, (e.g. if he says, ‘If such thing is not true then I am a Jew,’ he is really a Jew). And whoever commits suicide with piece of iron will be punished with the same piece of iron in the Hell Fire.” Sahih Bukhari. Volume 002, Book 023, Hadith Number 445.
    Narrated Jundab the Prophet said, “A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so Allah said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him. Sahih Bukhari. Volume 002, Book 023, Hadith Number 445.
    Even the Imam or another high dignatory who has good knowledge about Islam is not required to offer jenaza to the deceased. It is Islamic Fiqh.
    As for the mental trauma the deceased was suffering from, I can say, the deceased should have patience. There are people in this world who live in poverty where they hardly can feed themselves for one time but they don’t kill themselves. The deceased could have worked in a field or did any labor rather than killing himself.
    Outside the religion, I can say suicide is an act of cowardice and almost every constitution with a few exceptions relate it to murder.
    The other thing is that the deceased had gone to train for Indian army. Maybe in the near future, he would be a murderer, a rapist, or an oppressor. And it is a well-known fact that Indian army is oppressor as well as tyrant. Writing about him in heart wrenching narrative is meaningless. The author could have even written on a widow who with so many challenges lives her life quite bravely but no, the author will write about a coward who makes her sisters weep every day and his mother languishing for him. This shows the kind of mentality the author possesses.
    I have said that it was unfortunate that he was joining Indian army due to poverty so a question will arise from my opponents that Syed Ali shah Geelani should have then helped him. Why will that great old man help him? That man fights for an Islamic state and in Islam zakat is an obligation. I am sure if here had been an Islamic state, Unemployment would not even in her dreams dream of coming to kashmir and haunt it.
    Therefore, it was bizarre to read this big piece because there was nothing to read like, that was worthy.