Monday, March 1, 2010

Reminiscences of Ikhwaan Raaj

That night was a misery. We heard his desperate cries, his pleas to spare his life, the heart rattling moans of his mother and echoing sobs of his hapless father. Amidst this helplessness and desperation he was taken. He must have been in the middle of a sweet dream as he was picked up from his bed to which he never returned. We all shut our doors and windows, swallowed even our murmurs and put off our lights, lest someone would take us and our near ones too – from our? Cosy beds. That family cried alone that night, no one could dare to go near that house – people feared for their own lives. A hazy morning turned into a bleeding one as the body of my neighbour – a young athletic boy was found in nearby “Malkah”. Ikhwanis did it we were told. That night terrorizes me still and the guilt of inaction on my part that night scolds my conscience every moment. I do not dare to look straight into the eyes of my deceased neighbour’s parents even now, more than fifteen years after that unfortunate incident!This incident happened barely a few months after a relative of ours was murdered in the same circumstances by gunmen belonging to the same cult. A young handsome boy in his teens from Pampore was the only son of his noble parents. He was mercilessly dragged along the saffron fields on an ill-fated night and killed. Ikhwanis did their job well to let a family suffer for ever! Pampore, I am told, has seen more gruesome incidents than the one in which our relative was killed. Fields were decorated more often by human blood than by blossoming saffron flowers!Were these boys defiants, stone pelters, or what? Gunmen I am sure, they were not. And even if they were – was this the way to deal with them? Did someone hear these boys ever? Where is justice? These uncomfortable questions would agitate me often but with time I learnt to digest these harsh anecdotes possibly. I got desensitized. These two incidents were lying there in my memory shelf till I got to know about the infamous Moma Kanna and his famous Padma award. As TV channels flashed Kanna’s pictures, innocent faces of two boys smeared with blood who were killed by the likes of Moma Kanna stumbled from the shelf and flashed before my eyes. “For what fault were we killed”? they seemed to be asking. Before I could think of an answer to their query, another face appeared on the television in the inset picture with Kanna. This face, a well known Muslim intellectual, an ex-bureaucrat with the Jammu & Kashmir Govt., an expert on Kashmir affairs-was playing with words to explain his viewpoint for recommending Kanna for the prestigious Padma award. This person knows the trajectory of Kashmir’s tragedy, its giver, executer and its sufferer. He is supposed to be an interlocutor also. Can he pretend innocence? He has written a book on Kashmir – the theme I guess is peace. Awarding Moma Kanna a Padma is perhaps the first step towards achieving that peace!!! No wonder Kanna has been recommended! We would not ask the politicians as to why they recommended Kanna. For them “Everything is fair in love and war”. In their love for power, they betrayed the nation, befriended the likes of Kanna and Kuka Parray and enjoyed the power over the powerless.Ikhwani movement represents the darkest phase in the history of Kashmir. “Sarkar Nawaz Bandook Bardar” as Ikhwanis were popularly called, represented a special class of gunmen who could plunder, loot, rape or do as “Sarkar” wished them to. Their actions had a special “Sanction”. Their acts too barbaric for a civilized society were rewarded handsomely then, (they even made it to the Legislative Assembly) and are awarded now with Padma for instance. Thanks to those honourable civil servants who recommended them. The ones who forgot how Kashmiris helped them in their tragedies whether it was after near fatal accidents or other hiccups!Sadam was hanged on an Eid day – his hanging gave all sensible Muslims a feeling of humiliation, subjugation and sprouted the thorns of hatred against America for which the seeds were sown much earlier and Moma Kanna, the Padma awardee, was honoured for massacring and torturing the innocent. What does the nation of India expect from Kashmiris?

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