Of A Sad Day



Lullabies, which I heard were perhaps different.  Many a time, when I look back, I start believing that my grandmother was Madam Lafarge, in cradlesongs; with all deftness, she knit ‘all the chapters of our tragedy.’ She sang of cavalry chasing the unarmed to the rivulet and drowning them to death. She sang of turbaned soldiers shooting folks in prayer outside the prison like partridges in a bush and coots in a wetland. She sang of chivalry of leaders that no persecution could destroy. Her cradlesongs and stories with all their pain cascaded with ‘shimmering glow of a belief’ as the poet says that none could:
 “check our march,
 Towards our cause
One single step……………….”
Our whole generation grew up with stories of martyrdom and chivalry of people.  The images of blood soaked body of potter’s son; the first martyr, I had seen as a toddler from latticed window of our house   nightmarishly haunted me for many years.  In our childhood portraits of jailed and exiled leaders almost adorned walls of every shop and house in our Mohalla. To me   all these leaders seemed larger than life- this was also true about my siblings and peers. It was a dream come true, when we saw most of the jailed leaders’ in flesh and blood. It was our belief. Yes!  we had come to believe they were fighting for the freedom. Of all the leaders Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and Mirza Muhammad Afzal Beg enjoyed greatest public adulation.
True, songs of freedom had been dinned into our ears through cradlesongs. Moreover, macabre after macabre enacted on the streets in our part of city had influenced our psyche but in real sense, during the 1964 Holy Relic Movement a whole generation of boys and student was for first time politically baptized.  I have very vivid impressions about a massive public gathering about two hundred thousand people in the Muslim Park of Jamia Masjid. I along with all boys of our Mohalla was part of this massive crowd. On a massive, temporally built stage of wooden planks, there was motley gathering of leader’s mostly turbaned clerics heading various religious organizations.   Resolution demanding right to self-determination and releasing of jailed leaders was passed in the rally. In support of this resolution, thousands raised their, my schoolmates and I joined thousands others. 
 Now on, instead of songs associated with games like “gaaram” and “gour-mouj-gour” the slogans thunderously raised by a robust sloganeer of our locality Abdul Rehman Sodgar at the rally of the Action Committee became theme songs for all children. In our locality, every lane resounded with rhythmic slogans like Furan Karo- Furan Karo- Raishumari Furan Karo’ and many other slogans.    There was hardly a boy in our Mohalla that did not scribble these slogans with charcoal or white chalk on every walls of the house.   Like elders, I also glued my ears to the radio and listened curiously programs from Tradkhal Radio Station. I was no more a mute listener to the political discussion on shop fronts but often joined them.
On April 8, 1964 Sheikh Abdullah was released from Kud jail. There was widespread jubilation over the release but some elders in our Mohalla were skeptical about Abdullah’s release- they had no faith in his leadership. However, the discussions at the barber’s shop, inside tailor shops and on the lawns of the hospice ended at an optimistic note:  “wya’nn ga’che fae’sela’ (Now Kashmir dispute will be resolved). After announcement that Sher-i-Kashmir would be going to Pakistan on a 17-day tour to meet President Field Marshall Ayub Khan the optimism about ‘fae’sela’ gained strength. “This time it will be resolved” definetly was the refrain in our home. For getting clear reception of Azad Kashmir Radio some of our neighbors sent their radio sets to mechanics for fine tuning- and fixed fresh aerials on their roofs or inside the room.
No sooner, Sheikh Abdullah arrived in Pakistan people fixed their ears to their Radio Pakistan- hardly missing a news bulletin.  Market places and homes were rife with news and heresies about the success of the meeting about Sheikh and President Ayub dominating the discourse.  On 26th evening crackers were burst “after  when Sheikh announced that a meeting between Nehru and Ayub would take place in New Delhi in June, and that he (Abdullah) would “not be far from the conference table”. On 27th when Sheikh was in Muzaffarabad, it was at about 2 P.M, All India Radio announced Jawaharlal did of cardic arrest.- gloom descends on the city, people called it Kashmir as “ill-fated  none – not even children believed he died a natural death……

Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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