I reclined on my barren banks after a hectic, depressive and disgusting phase. I was looking towards the sky where I could see nothing but smog.
My sight was blurred with the blood that was splashed on me. I thought to myself whether I was really made to exist to see this day.
I remembered the times when the season was making a shift, from bone-piercing cold to a pleasant summer.
The night was illuminated. Clouds had given all way for the stars to twinkle and the moon to express itself. Nature was never cruel to me. I was made to originate from the beautiful mountainous region at the base of Pir Panjal.
I also enjoyed the honour of being named by Ancient Greeks Hydaspes which also happened to be the name of one of their gods. Having been mentioned in Rigveda as Vitasta, the holy scriptures of Indo-Aryans mentions me as a mark.
In the recent past, King Jahangir in 1620, got impressed by my scenic look and ordered the renovation of the spring of my origin in the shape of an octagon.
My course was made by nature in such a way that I nourished and fertilized many cities that came along my path. I used to be sparklingly lucid and quiet.
A friend to all and a good listener, everyone used to express their anguish to me. I used to be an honest companion who would keep all their secrets. My patience and calmness used to be the source of inspiration for many people.
My course was free. I used to flow in any direction I liked. No divisions and boundaries ever divided me. It was in my nature to be non-controversial; I lived in peace and harmony with the people of all places and all shades of life.
The respect and love that I had for ages saw a gradual decline. This happened due to devilish human intervention. Hydaspes was walled off. Vitasta had to see its brutal divide on communal grounds.
From my course to my discourse, everything witnessed a change: a downhill change. My lush green shores were turned into virtual dustbins. Most of the drainage water was emptied into my strikingly clean waters.
Source of inspiration in past, now I have been regarded as the last abode of the ones who want to end their life. Paradox still exists—some jump into me to end their lives while some come to me to save their lives from greater dangers.
My course was barred. My path was diverted. Dams and barrages were built on me that ultimately turned my calm nature into a controversial one.
My agonies did not end here. I saw mothers crying for their sons and sisters wailing for their brothers. I witnessed wives striving for their missing husbands and daughters mourning for their fathers.
Unfortunately, it was I who had harbored the memory of their loved ones. I witnessed terrible things. I saw a son getting killed by one faction and two years later his father getting killed by another group.
I don’t want to know who killed whom. I am terrified by the persistent deaths. My waters are polluted with fiery pain….
Kusu Boze Kaswane Naar Ha Loug Jhelumas
Khotsan Chas Be Yer Ma Gas Jhelumas…..
Is anyone listening? Who can I tell? My river is on fire!
And I fear I shall slip into its waters…..( Lyrics Alif Band)
I do realize that I can’t go back in time and reverse the destruction and devastation done to my lucid waters and versatile banks. Now I swell with a little downpour giving many people sleepless nights. I know wrongs done can’t be undone.
But my thoughts are mine, my belief is mine, and my dreams are mine, and this will keep me flowing. I have seen endless bickering, brutality and bloodshed; and things going beyond my control.
However, the Jhelum in me will never stop. I believe in the infinite power of hope. The hope to resurge whenever I am sacrificed at the altar of self-interest. The hope to gush gracefully whenever mean betrayal beats me.
The hope helps me to overcome the excruciating pain and agony. I believe one day I will flow serenely and re-energize and nourish everyone with peace and harmony.
I have a firm belief that people across will come down, all together, to my shores to sip my clean waters again. Someday I will be free of all woe. And live to see my tides drifting without disgrace.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK