The Autumn of Our Time
Fall has arrived. Inviting change and a beautiful metamorphosis, it has enveloped Kashmir with a splendid vibrancy of gold. All around Chinars dazzle, willows drape branches in brown, walnuts and cypresses dip fingers in a yellow-russet hue, grass is bronzed and flowers give way to bareness. This autumn Kashmir continues to bathe in the glory of what is pure and innocent. Nature cares for it and showcases the same. No one questions this transformation. All know it is necessary, paving the path towards a better spring and mellow fruit. Not only that but autumn provides too, at present; ripened harvest and content stomachs. The season is a gift to all both in quality and quantity of character. Relinquishing what is old and haggard to encompass everything which will help us develop, is the message autumn brings in this time and every time it visits. It is always encouraging us to let go of our worries and insecurities because with these, we are held back and away from our goal of finding tranquility. Letting go of something replaceable but close to us is a difficult task but practicing that makes us strong, makes us clear minded about our targets, about our dreams and hopes. Drop the curtain of indifference, wake up to a new tomorrow; this is a special lesson we need to take from autumn this autumn.
I bring this forth to all because what we are going through at present makes us ignorant of the beauties lying around, and, of course, it would as the life we celebrated so much has been degraded and left dilapidated. I have presented a special resemblance to our condition with Chinars in these verses:
Na surkh-o-sabza ho giriftaar
Na bandh paden ho lalazaar
Khakh-e-anaa ke khilwat khaanu mein
Na kho gayen ho Chinar, na kho gayen ho Chinar
What makes us so is not a question anyone should ask as the ferocious wind has taken our aim from us. We are left alone to despair and as despondent as we are, we have let this state of our affairs affect our sanity. This is where we lose our way. Our paths are not to be forgotten neither the aspiration. This autumn our wills are not to be shaken, our hopes not to be shattered. We are a people who have fought tyrannous hurricanes of policy. We are not someone who are easily defeated. This autumn we are letting go of what brought this upon us to create our own policy; the policy of independency and self-righteousness. We must not fear what is in front of us or our future. The hand which kills the helpless suffers amputation by a force unseen in one way or the other. The people ruling us now are all mighty and huff and puff about their superiority but we all know what happened to the giant who tried to eat Jack (the beanstalk hero). He huffed and puffed and smelled out Jack but due to his humongous size which shouldered an equally heavy but puny intellect, he fell down the beanstalk and perished. Autumn is about letting go sometimes to achieve what is hopefully our bright future. Like the hero struggled, we do too. The giant won't be a giant for too long if the torture continues. Not us, we are not the ones to bring it down; its own high headedness will. The more power you have, the more you can protect people or neglect them. If it gets to your head, you are but a useless nobody whom the power controls. The present situation is just an example of what happened to all who let the power gain possession of their selves. The autumn comes with a gust of wind too. To some, it is a realization of fruitfulness and serenity while to others it comes to pluck prosperity out keeping them forever discontent and in misery. The latter, I believe, are all who we know as 'you know who'.
I have been an admirer of autumn since I understood its significance in my life and our life. Autumn is not something to be afraid of, not as a season or when it dawns in your life. It is a time of harvesting what you sowed, a time to feel at peace with oneself and a time to be ready to let go of the harness to start your afterlife. Akin to a green leaf which thrives in spring and blooms in summer to finally change color every autumn, we once reach this stage too. The leaf knows it has completed its duty and is now ready to fulfill its destiny; to return to the earth it once sprouted from. This analogy can be applied to us too.
We have to understand that the face of our revolution should be focused and not in delusion. We must understand that this revolution has to progress from our hands to the next, so for this to happen we must not deface it. We are not the only ones facing cruelty; the children are too. This is their revolution too. This uprising has to be kept constant not by throwing away lives but in a deeply thought-of way whose roots are grounded firmly and that which cannot be shaken. The face of our revolution should be a change; from our traditionally ineffective modes of revolt to a new age demonstration. This reprisal will achieve its goal by practically thinking of a way to survive amidst oppression and not losing economic security. People, this struggle has seen decades with no apparent result. There is something, someone, an idea or even a word that needs to change, to transmute, to make this work. Lives lost, eyes blinded, bodies bombarded with bullets doesn't do Kashmiris any good. This makes us bleed internally, hemorrhaging our veins and carrying out a cycle of natural rot. The cruel are not blamed this way. We decay on our own. What else do they need?
The face of our revolution today is stress, depression. We can't let these cloud our target. A healthy mind rests in a healthy body and a healthy body is dependent on an intelligent mind. We need peace, a place we can enjoy our springs and autumns in, a place so full of mirth that sorrows don't even find a corner to sleep. We desperately require a perfect agenda; that favoring and safeguarding our people because it is they who make us live. Some very intimidating verses by Sa'di Shirazi declare:
Be not much incensed against a slave
Oppress him not, grieve not his heart.
Thou hast purchased him for ten dirhams
And hast not after all created him by thy power.
How long is this command, pride and power to last?
There is a Master more exalted than thou.
O thou owner of Arslan and of Aghosh,
Do not forget Him who is thy commander.