Leaves of Chinar


A silence of grief echoes at the tip of the country and there is no one listening. You’re meant to fear speaking out, would you still say something? While Kashmir’s visual tranquillity may survive, the hearts in the mountains grow weak and hopeless.
Devastating waves have continued to test The Valley for as long as we can remember. In times where the land you worshipped starts to crack on foreign orders, you either succumb or rebel. The outcry on 8th July ’16 of over 3 lakh people moaned a rebel, almost every mosque in Kashmir prayed for this terrorist’s departed soul. We have only seen heroes being moaned so where did Burhan Wani invite this devotion from. Wani was not shy of the authorities and the only way he felt fear could be battled was with fear. Hizbul Mujahideen, the militant group that Wani was a part of is the load less travelled but travelled at that for many Kashmiris. If the effort is worth it, only time will tell but the initiative to stand tall and demand to live life the way you pictured it is what really has been setting a standard for the locals. Is this the direction Kashmiris are looking to now?
The fight for freedom is often a thin line between terrorism and heroism. Wani’s case was best described as desperation. Extremism, in a suppressed climate like that of Kashmir’s, is part and parcel to larger checks and balances. The killing of a militant set yet another cloud of curfew in all of Kashmir.

As Kashmir entered the 66th Day of confinement, the dangerous silence on some streets is eerie. While on some others, voices of the hopeful masses refuse to die in protest. Is this Kashmir’s second intifada as the Political Commentator Prem Shankar Jha describes?
Resentment is fresh in the air for many like one young Fatima. She is depressed by these dreary days and curfewed nights, everytime she comes back to Kashmir, a piece of its soul has broken away. There are still a hundred pellets embedded in skulls.
Fatima describes the alternative that was introduced to these pellets, some toxic PAVA shells which will be introduced to numb the crowds along with red chillies. It’s a battle to risk losing your senses or your life and that’s why entrapment is all they can resort to with absolutely no contact to the outside burrows even with all communication lines being cut as felt convenient.
2 kms before the Srinagar Airport there is a sign that reads “Any trespasser will be shot”, its propaganda now, so deeply rooted that it doesn’t startle Fatima anymore. Her son is used to erratic education; he’s seen brutality and no longer allows any hope to get ignited of an undisturbed childhood, out there in his playground, its cricket with guns.
This Bandh has killed around 80 in Kashmir, most in Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian. PM Modi had sent his trustee Rajnath for Mehbooba Mufti’s solace, “To apply balm on the wounds of the people of J&K, the entire leadership of the country should come forward” but the balm coming out of our bureaucratic backlog is too little too late.

Fatima prays that come November, as the leaves of chinar have fallen, snow has started to descend and the branches are lilac with frost, the blood of our people will be covered but she knows that the pain will remain.

Featured image credits: blogs.tribune.com.pk

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Baani Kashyap.