Just then there was a great deal of excitement in the graveyard
The stooped old lady was almost blind with cataract but then she did not need eyes to find her way to the Martyr’s graveyard, she had tread this path too often. She hobbled along on a cane resting frequently along the way.
There was a big crowd today. “Martyr’s day…Martyr’s…” she muttered to herself, a wistful smile on her face. The word had always been central to her life. A couple of years after her birth her eldest brother had fallen to bullets outside the central jail. Of course she was too young at that time to have any memories of the event. She didn’t even remember when she had started visiting his grave where even in her childhood days she would purge her own personal sorrows by letting the tears flow down her cheeks. People would see the little girl; shake their heads in commiseration, and talk of the sacrifices of the martyr’s.
Just then there was a great deal of excitement in the graveyard, people started running in a particular direction shouting slogans. “Sheikh Sahib has come!” she muttered to herself and then she shook her head and cackled with laughter as she remembered that he was dead, buried in a well guarded tomb elsewhere and that anyway it had long ceased to be about him. Her mind jumped to those heady days when a tall leader had captured the imagination of a nation. The lines of her aged and wrinkled face softened as she recalled those rallies and processions that she would invariably be a part of. Those were revolutionary times. The Leader’s photo adorned their single room dwelling and her husband would excitedly discuss his meetings with the Great Leader.
His words captured her rustic imagination and she would be proud of him. Suddenly things changed. Freedom again became a dangerous word, a seditious concept to be spoken of in whispered tones. The Lion was caged and so were many of his associates. The Lion returned finally as the Lion King and so did many of his associates… but not all of them. Her husband was one of those who didn’t. “Your husband laid down his life for the qaum. He is a Martyr,” the mohalla president of the Lion’s party had told her when he visited her home for the first and the last time.
“Martyr’s…” she seemed to be obsessed with the word and kept mumbling it over and over again. Her son had also talked of freedom and justice. His eyes shone with a strange fervor, reminding her of her dead husband. He was a teacher by profession and a preacher by his own volition. Later they said he preached dangerous ideas. There were again raids and searches. She was confused because these were the times of the Lion King… the same Lion who had once held the promise of freedom! There must be some mistake, her simple mind concluded. She talked to her son urging him to meet the Great Leader, the Lion himself.
“No mother! He is a tame lion now… quite afraid of his ringmasters. Lions were never meant to be tamed…that trait belongs to a particular species… There are no lions now only watchdogs loyal to their masters and the interests of those masters…,” he had said. These were dangerous words, perhaps he always spoke like this. That’s why they took him away a couple of days later dragging him by his beard. She ran from pillar-to-post but leave alone securing his release she couldn’t even get an audience with the Leader.
They broke his spirit. God is merciful; the poor fellow lost his reason much before his life. He would roam the streets and occasionally laugh out loud. He flew into a rage one day as he saw a policeman beating a woman with a rifle butt. The mad fellow lunged at the policeman and tried to grab his rifle. The bullet, which the authorities later said was fired accidentally as a result of the scuffle, pierced his heart. People called him a mad-martyr…
“The blood of the Martyr’s will bear fruit one day!” They had shouted while taking her grandson for burial to the ‘martyr’s graveyard’. She had sent him out to buy medicines for her. A grenade had exploded somewhere along the way. In ‘retaliation’, her grandson had been stopped, stripped, beaten and finally shot through the head.
“The blood of the Martyr’s will bear fruit one day!” she repeated to herself.
Someone shouted at her for obstructing his path but she never heard him. She had gone increasingly deaf with age. She almost heard nothing nowadays, not even the ever-changing slogans. Not that she missed anything for hadn’t she heard it all before!
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 14 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OPINION
Police Arrest 3 Accused
Pazalpora (Bandipora), July 13: Pall of gloom descended over Pazalpora village in this north Kashmir district on Saturday following a death of 20 year old girl who was set ablaze allegedly by her uncle More
- Srinagar City
Office-goers, students find revised timings inconvenient
SYED IMRAN ALI HAMDANI
Srinagar, July 13: The revision of train timings past extension of the service to Banihal last month, has put scores of Srinagar-bound commuters particularly the office-goers and students to inconvenience More
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Jammu, July 13: Over 2.18 lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance at the cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas even as a batch of 1,280 devotees left for their onward journey from here today.Over More
- South Asia
‘Kashmir can re-ignite Indo-Pak conflict’
NISAR AHMED THOKAR
Islamabad, July 13: Stressing the need for a peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute, speakers at a seminar hosted by APHC-M PaK chapter on Saturday observed that the decades’ long old unresolved dispute More
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
United Nations, July 13: Pakistani teen activist Malala Yousafzai told the UN that she would not be silenced by terrorist threats, as she gave her first public speech since being shot in the head by the More
The University of Kashmir is posing a new challenge to regional parties in J&K,particularly National Conference
MATTER OF CONCERN
Had National Conference founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah been alive, he would not allow so many things to happen that his progeny is otherwise permitting. There is a reason to it: who would like to see More