In The Dark Alley
....... AND I WAS SILENCED BY HIS ANSWERS, NARRATES SHAMS IRFAN
“Bullets for stones, barbed wires, curfew-ed days and curfew-ed nights, teargas shells cracking skulls, young boys beaten to death ruthlessly, ‘stray’ bullets straying right into you like guided missiles, sixteen-deaths: men, women and children in last 30 days - and they think we will give up our fight”—said a young boy whom I walked into in a dark-alley, on a long and silent curfew-ed evening. Though, his face was covered with a green bandana, with “Go India Go Back” written on it, and he talked in a hoarse voice; yet his eyes speaketh aloud of his young age. Barely-sixteen, with hands soiled of day’s toil; he tried to walk past me without a word or a gesture.
“You will get yourself killed someday”, I said in a whisper that was barely audible amid the sound of silence around us; there is no-life left in this city except us, as if. He stopped, under the light of a lonely lamp hanging uncertainly, like our fate, from the wooden pole barely visible under its own dim light. “As if we are living right now; look around you and find life - if you can - inside these brick walls and cemented with fear hearts” he replied in a tone that was clearly defying his age. “But, can throwing stones bring back life to this, city of dead” I forced my question before he could have moved away from the harassed yellow light that was glowing fearfully above him. From the look in his eyes and the twitching of muscles under the bandana that covered his face; my question hit him hard and deep, I thought. “You [previous generation] used guns against guns and failed but we never questioned your methods, now we are fighting with stones and the whole world is up in arms against us” he pointed out. “I am afraid; soon you will say these stones are weapons-of-mass-destruction.” he replied angrily and started to walk. But something inside me, perhaps a small premonition voice, that sort-of beeps when you head danger’s way, told me not to tread further.
But you only learn by your own mistakes. He said: “No matter how peacefully you protest, or how vocal you are about injustice, they will kill you anyway. They are the biggest democracy and do not discriminate between men, women, kids, young, old, ill, poor, rich and all, while they kill” he added quickly before putting his mask back.
“But, by throwing stones at security forces don’t you give them reason or let us say excuse to shoot and kill. How many lives could have been saved had you restrained your anger? If only, you knew the value of human life, none of you would have stepped out like this, risking yours” I asked hurriedly, fearing he might run off any moment, after all his blood is too young to be controlled by just words and no action. But to my surprise he stayed and replied, “It is an everyday struggle for us. Either we use stones to fight back or offer our heads in submission, there is no other way out! And for people like you [pointing his blaming finger at my face], stop dreaming about freedom and remain content with your suppressed lives or stay together and give a good fight back, at-least”.
Filled with guilt and anger, I decided not to challenge his ideals anymore; he and kids like him are the children of conflict; since the day they opened their eyes they have been subjected to oppression and humiliation only. How can one expect them to remain silent when the world around them is full of contempt?
And before he could fade away in the darkness of night [it is night now] he turned towards me, with his eyes fixed on mine, he said “No doubt, they have caged us in like a herd of sheep but still India cannot fetter our souls and aspirations” and he vanished in the silence of night or maybe it was the darkness; I can’t tell.
(Note: The above conversation is a work of fiction but inspired by the real events and dialogues that are currently shaping the psyche of young Kashmiris who are living constantly under the shadow of death. The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 4 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 4 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 5 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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