From Insha of Shopian to Iqra Sadiq of Rajouri Kadal, in the current uprising girls and women of Kashmir have left silent milestones embedded in blood and sacrifices. This is becoming the bedrock of current upheaval which is spreading even to schools. Insha was at her home, studying when she lost both her eyes to a pellet burst when the men in uniform were dispersing a protest on the nearby road. She became the symbol of Kashmir irony and tragedy in the year 2016 and now in the spring of 2017 we have Iqra Sadiq a student of Women's College Nawa Kadal who was part of a peaceful protest, when they were allowed by police to move on the street peaceful, received a slingshot from a CRPF bunker in her head. She was rushed to SMHS hospital and her pictures in the media with a broken skull, dominated the discourse on Kashmir protests in the year 2017.
Between Insha and Iqra the blood soaked sentences on Kashmir were punctuated by silent resilient stories of women to provide anchor of the deep rooted unrest in Kashmir. In the recent past a 32 year old Makhni Begum from a village of Hyhama close to the border with her silent eyes was struggling with her six year old son Faisal in SMHS hospital. She received bullets on her son and her daughter inside her home when "stray bullets of armed forces" killed her twelve year old daughter Kaneeza on the spot. Her struggle to reach Srinagar hospital with her son leaving behind her other children and bed ridden husband did not receive any media coverage but the women like her by their resilience and patience have definitely added in the chapters of struggle in Kashmir.
Makhni Begum is a typical case of a Kashmiri women struggling with patience against all odds around her. She told a visiting journalist in SMHS hospital that she has six members of family with almost no means of livelihood. She was alone in hospital with her son and having virtually no money in her pocket to buy medicines. Makhni has seen a hell of life. When the "stray" bullets of armed forces hit her daughter and son she was unaware of what has befallen on her. When she rushed out with her son who was screaming with bullet injury, she never knew that her daughter Kaneeza was lying already dead on the floor of her house. She has survived and is looking for means to fend her family and feed her bedridden husband. I have mentioned this tragedy of Makhni Begum only to make my point that how silently without any media glare women in Kashmir have suffered and survived in the conflict.
It was only after the images of Iqra Sadiq were dominating media that another girl of Nawa Kadal College Khushboo was hit in her head by another sling shot of CRPF jawan and a picture of a local photojournalist leaving aside his camera and taking her in his lap with blood oozing, became another symbol of the current resistance and fueled more protests by girl students across Kashmir.
In the current quantum of protests in Kashmir valley girls and women have certainly been very prominent and also dominating in certain extraordinary situations. In some video clips which went viral village women were seen engaged in pitched battles with police and the armed forces giving resistance a new meaning in Kashmir. They showed fearlessness when women and girls rushed to encounter sites along with men to provide safe passage to entrapped militants. These pictures and videos evoked huge response from civil society forcing many to go down to memory lane and talk about 60's when on their resilience Kashmir's college going girls a song was penned Yeh Srinagar ki betiyan nidhar dalear betiyan–.
With each passing day the visibility and presence of girls and women in the protests and in the overall resistance movement is becoming a reality. The recent pictures of student agitation have captured some of the fearless girls either kicking a police vehicle or charging with a stick towards police. Girls of Kashmir have come a long way to make a statement about their choice to be the part of resistance in Kashmir.