Kashmir is Our Shame: Anandi Pandey (15)

A fight for Kashmir, a fight for life

Have you been reading the newspaper, my friend?
Yes? You must know what we are doing, right?
Killing thousands of Kashmiri civilians, who just want to be free? Some would argue and blame Pakistan for occupying Kashmir. Some would do the same for India. But we’re forgetting Kashmiris are neither Indian nor Pakistani. They are Kashmiris. They want to be just that. Nothing less, nothing more.
But what about us? We are humans and we must do what humans do the best. We must be selfish. We must kill innocents. We must take away whatever integrity they have. We must not even consider them ‘humans’. Right now for us this is a war between India and Pakistan.  Not a war for the freedom of Kashmir as a whole, but between India and Pakistan. Everything else is just….a technicality. Ignore it.
You get that right? Apparently we need to ignore the small 11 year-old boy, Nasir being killed by pellets. We need to ignore that he was killed. We need to ignore that his body was stepped on by hundreds, leaving footprints, even on his face. We need to ignore that his ears had turned blue. Or, that his fists couldn’t open because his fingers were so terribly broken. Also, that when his sister touched the back his head, her hand was covered with blood. We need to ignore that his back was marred in such a way that it looked like a bubble wrap sheet and not actually human skin?
And our government tells us pellets are harmless, by the way. That they cannot murder.
He was just an 11 year-old boy for God’s sake! What had he done to deserve this? He must have killed. Oh no! Wait, that’s us. He must have destroyed lives. No, no wait again, that’s still us. He must have at least brutally hit another human being? Wait a minute, that is still US!
What is even more unfortunate is that it isn’t just an 11 year-old Nasir. (Somehow even that word undermines the situation.) Scores of innocent Kashmiri civilians, from infants to a 90-year old, almost already-dying elders. From pregnant women to people with disabilities. From brilliant kids who could have had a bright future, to men and women whose lives have been drastically altered. From children like you and I, to adults like our parents. They all are there. Innocent but dying. If not physically, then mentally dying.
Can you imagine yourself in that situation for just a second? Can you imagine not being able to go out of your homes without the fear of being hit by pellets? Or killed? Can you imagine only seeing army men with guns wherever you turn?  Can you imagine going to bed not knowing if you’ll be alive tomorrow? Can you imagine living constantly in fear?
A fear that could kill you from the inside, rotting your brain till it has no life left. 
It makes you shudder and shiver with paranoia, disgust and what not, doesn’t it? Me too my friend, me too.
Now, know that this isn’t a situation, but reality. A reality happening a few thousand miles away from you. While you are sitting in your warm cosy blankets, drinking coffee and watching television, they are dropping dead like mosquitos after you apply a mosquito repellent.
Sad. Really, sad. And we call ourselves humans.
It is something to think about. Something to do something about. Why are we not doing anything? We read about Kashmir in the newspaper. We call it the ‘Kashmir issue’.  We read about what is happening as facts.
‘A person was killed.’ How tragic.
‘Indian military took an action.’ Way to go.
‘Pakistani military took an action.’ Okay, expected.
‘A curfew was imposed onto the people’s life.’ Alright. Understandable.
NO! It’s not just understandable. We are talking about actual human lives aren’t we? We are talking about civilians being injured, killed, and beaten aren’t we? We are talking about living beings aren’t we?
How can we just dismiss this as a ‘fact’? Or an ‘event’? They deserve better. Much better.
Be empathetic at least, you can do that right?
If not that do anything.
I beg of you, do not dismiss it.
Even if you think about it, talk about it, it could help. You never know.
We read and then think, this will be over eventually. Honestly, I don’t think this will ever be over. This will be engraved in the minds of thousands of Kashmiris for as long as they live. That is, if they survive.
When we will recount our childhood to our kids or our grandkids, we’ll most probably be telling them of what toys we played with or how we lied to our parents. Things that are normal to us.
Them? They will be speechless. Because to them what’s normal is blood, bullets, dead bodies and fear. No child deserves to even listen of such a nightmare, let alone live it.
However, it is not a nightmare. It is a hell on earth, my friend. As real as you are.
You breathe air, it breathes death. You eat food, it eats humans. You bathe in water, it bathes in blood.
But we are still stuck in this heaven where Indians create their own version, Pakistanis create their own version, and the media sells it to its readers. Readers like you and I.
Readers who need to understand, it’s not India versus Pakistan. It’s innocent Kashmiris against all of us, fighting for life. Human beings fighting for another second, simply to breathe.
This is what we call democracy? Liberalism? Socialism? Right to life?
Shame on us.
Please, I beg, stop killing. Even if you are silently killing by dismissing their reality.
Just think, not as an Indian or a Pakistani or a citizen from any other nation, but as a human. Think.
They deserve better. Much better.
(Anandi Pandey is a Class XI student studying at Study Hall, Lucknow)



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