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A desolation called peace

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From the recent past our intellectual class and writers are doing tremendous job by writing books to let the world know the pain and sufferings this nation is going through from the last seventy years. They keep our history alive when there is onslaught on our history and culture from all sides. The present book is one such attempt where it depicts our recent past, humiliation, cover-up, lawlessness, death and destruction. It is the will and courage of this helpless nation which is still resisting the mighty powers one after the other since ages.
The book desolation called peace edited by Ather Zia and Javaid Iqbal Bhat comprises twelve chapters which are contributed by different writers of varied backgrounds. They contribute their write-ups to this book as they have themselves experienced the events of living in the world’s largest military zone and its effects on the people’s lives.
The introductory pages of the book show that how the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir which include Pakistan Administrated Kashmir were sold by the British in the year 1846 to Dogra Mahraja including which include its inhabitants and their properties. When India was struggling to get freedom from British, Kashmir was struggling to get freedom from Maharajas cruel rule.
The presence of UNMOGIP reminds every Kashmiri and describes that Kashmir is a universally accepted dispute which is awaiting its final settlement as per the wishes and aspirations of its people.
In the summer of 2016 when the popular militant commander was killed along with his associates in Kokernag area of South Kashmir, Kashmir erupted on his killing. People in large numbers hit roads and streets to protest and tried to reach his native village to pay homage and took part in his funeral. Soon after the uprising Indian state as usual use its brute force to quell the uprising in which thousands got injured and 112 young boys lost their lives.
The central and state governments used its military might to crush the sentiment. The curfew was imposed in the valley, even in some sensitive areas night curfew was imposed to restrict people to come out of their homes even for medicines and essential commodities.
The state used pellet short guns to control street protests. These pellets caused extensive damage to the eye sight. Some lost their eye sight forever. I will quote a line of the book which is in its introductory part that when a journalist asked two young boys who have lost their eye sight in one of their eyes by these pellets, “Would you continue fighting Indian forces with stones, on which they both replied, yes, why not, we still have one eye left. This shows the sentiment deep in their hearts.”
The first chapter of this book was contributed by Prof. G.R Malik. The author saw the happenings and events as a child, a school going kid, a college going youngster and then as an academician teaching in university of Kashmir. The author narrated that how Sheikh Abdullah raised the flames and passion of freedom in the minds and hearts of common Kashmir’s and later betraying them. The author’s dream if implemented will bring happiness and prosperity in the whole of south Asia include India, Pakistan and in Independent Kashmir.
The second chapter of this book was contributed by Zareef Ahmad Zareef the well known Kashmiri poet, historian and writer. He talks about those times when Kashmiri artisans and craftsmen face cruelty by the hands of monarch by imposing heavy taxes on their produce.
When sheikh Abdullah became the Prime Minister of Kashmir he suppressed dissent and sends his political opponents either into prison or exiled them.
In the third chapter of this book, the author writes as a witness to many of the events of Kashmir. He writes how this long pending dispute puts heavy toll on mental health of its inhabitants even a doctor got post traumatic disorder. The lines of his chapter which I believe makes your eyes moist and strikes deep in your hearts was when the author in early 90s visited one of the jails in Jammu division in hot summers there he met a man who had come from Kupwara to meet his brother in law in woolen clothes. Such was the consequences in living in conflict zone Kashmir.
The fourth chapter of this book was written by well-known academician Mohan Bhan. The movement in Kashmir has consumed lakhs of people since 1947. The resistance movement of Kashmir belongs to all as it is people’s movement which includes minority communities. The author describes how voices were suppressed, exiled, imprisoned, and tortured for demanding their rights and in expressing their sentiments.
The fifth chapter describes how the majority has been converted into minority by the RSS goons backed by Maharajas forces to change the demography of the state of Jammu division in 1947.
In sixth chapter the author Mirza waheed refreshes his old childhood memories of fishing in a nearby lake.
The seventh chapter of book was contributed by well know human rights defender Khurrum Parvez. The life in a place which is constantly being looked into by the intelligence agencies, to live and survive there is very difficult. Whenever one tries to speak the truth he came under their radar and threat. The same thing has happened with the author and with the captain of the Indian army whose consciousness doesn’t allow him to keep his mouth shut.
The clouds of war looming over our heads since 1947 and the misers and sufferings seems to be an unending process which is consuming generation after generations due to this long pending dispute where the Indian state is so brutal which suppress every voice which raises against the atrocities being unleashed by the men in uniform on the helpless and unarmed civilians. The unwillingness and cunning attitude of the world’s largest democracy in resolving this issue has made the lives of people hell in this part of world.
The tenth chapter of the book talks about the rigging of elections in the year 1987 and the start of new phase protest in the shape of armed rebellion against the Delhi’s rule in Kashmir which still continues. Those who fought the elections and try to mould the attention of the world community peacefully were suppressed and elections rigged pave the way for them to pick up arms.
The mistakes which the Indian state is continuously doing one after the other with the help of its local collaborators has pushed the state of Jammu and Kashmir in trouble where death and destruction is the norm of the day.
The chapter which contributed by Mir Khalid the author of Jaffna Street. The tall leader was tall only in his physique and not in his vision and attitude. His duel attitude puts Kashmir into chains. This tall man doesn’t like his opponents and he put them either in prison or exiled them.
The last chapter of this book was contributed Syed Zaffar Mehdi. He writes that we were often labeled as radicalized and brainwashed by the Indian masses that are totally ignorant about the Kashmir problem. They are ignorant and have forgotten that it is the promises made by Indian founding fathers before the world community, their repressive policies and the atrocities unleashed by the men in uniform which doesn’t make our youth and children radicalized but politically coconscious.
The terms like curfew, freedom, beatings, humiliation, killings etc. enter into their minds the day the open their eyes into this part of world. To quote few lines of the author of this chapter “Political Maturity, I realized, does not come with age, it comes with daily experiences. For the children’s of conflict, politics runs in their veins and political lessons are part of their overall upbringing”.
In the concluding part of his chapter the author writes, “We the people of Kashmir wake up every morning to resist. We live to resist. We speak to resist. We write to resist. We breathe to resist. This resistance will someday bring down our occupiers”. He invoke Agha Shahid Ali’s couplet (we shall meet again in Srinagar, by the gates of the villa of peace, our hands blossoming into fists, till the soldiers return the keys and disappear).
The book is written in a lucid language. The contributors of the book have written their part as a witness to the events and happenings or they themselves have faced the brunt of living in a conflict. I personally recommend this book to all my Indian friends to read it so that can understand and think what they were told and what the reality is.