Lasting Torment

An American playwright writes, “We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.”

Exactly the same way, we all in this part of the world live in a valley on fire. And, we all are helplessly watching the fire gobble up us slowly. We are badly blocked. Cornered in a chaos. So much so, our heritage and history is becoming highly flammable. We cannot pull anything out of this fire. What is more, our Gen Z is getting vulnerable. Even while you read this, they are getting tortured and killed…

Their time past, pulled down

Cracked and flung to the fire

The fact is that the fire here never douses for good. We can never stamp out this fire. It rages off and on. It is not a baptism of fire. Whenever our identity catches fire, we tend the blaze and try to give the kiss of life to embers. We roar. We riot. And we write. Endlessly. In vain.

We are painting with fire. With fire brush on a slice of fire. That’s why, the fire in Kashmir only burns. It does not illuminate. It obscures. It does not purify. It perishes. The fire here discharges darkness. It spreads thick smog of suspicion. It is shrouded in mystery.

Of course, it is not Aatash-i-Namrood, which was trounced by Prophet Ibrahim so bravely. It is not the fire, which Prophet Musa saw in the valley of Tuwa. In reality, it is the fire, which after flaming for thousand years in Persia was suddenly extinguished on the day of birth of Last Messenger (PBUH). But ironically, it continues to rage here. The fire of ignorance and slavery.

Fighting this fire, we fight no real freedom. We don’t fight with fire in the belly. We are no fireballs. We fight no selves. We fight no one. We just become emotional and turn weepy. Some of us hide. A few reveal. Many find themselves in the line of fire. And several others have too many irons in this fire. It all, finally, results in worst self-pitying and forgetting everything forever. Quite quickly.

But the fire remains on. All of us contribute in flaring up this fire. We hang fire. We look for vague reasons to hold on to our illusions. We do not look within to locate the shady side. We play with the fire that has harsh lessons to draw upon. 

Yes, the loss and agony is miserable. The smoldering scene is disturbing. Our sense of belief and belonging is razed. We are searching the charred history in the debris. What colossal misfortune than this for any nation!

 We did start the Fire. And we are ceaselessly feeding this fire to burn us into ashes. Let us confess that we can’t quench this fire at the first spark. A spark neglected, is gradually burning down the whole valley. It is getting furious. It is getting scary. It has started sucking in more of us. Years back, a spark at revered places like Chrar-e-Sharief Shrine and Islamic Library at Hazratbal has swelled up in to an inferno. The blaze is making everything blurry.  

Bottomline: Before the fire devours us entirely, we need to fight it out fearlessly and honestly. If we can’t speak out the truth, let us not fall prey to speculations and schemes. Straight way is the best way, and we need mystical fires, not the self-destructive ones, to light up our difficult pathways. And what better than reverting to divine help to seek guidance and make a distinction between Fire here and hereafter— “They will long to get out of the Fire, but never will they get out there from; and theirs will be a lasting torment”( 5:37).

May we be rescued and pardoned!