Agony of a Kashmiri mother

An event in Aligarh Muslim University organized by its student union in which an eminent personality from Kashmir was invited who not only ignited our souls but gave us reason to initiate things no matter what conditions are faced. She taught us whatever may be the conditions when we stand for a cause all conditions will follow our command. She was none other than the “Iron lady of Kashmir” Parveena Ahangar, the founder and chairperson of “The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons”(APDP). She was given the presidential award by Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association in 1988, nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, nominated for Indian of the year 2011 by CNN-IBN, and shortlisted for Frontline Defenders award 2012. All these are not her achievements but milestones of her journey. 

A simple middle class housewife struggling for her loss as well as for the people who are like her made her founder of APDP, women’s right activist and a revolutionary lady. Her journey of agony started when she lost her son, Javed Ahangar, then a 16 year old student, stands disappeared since 18th August, 1990, after being picked up allegedly by the Indian Army who mistook him for a militant. A mother searched every corner of the state as well as of the country to get back her son. She doesn’t left any stone unturned but her heart breaking efforts proved futile. A lion hearted mother went to every jail and to every judiciary office to get any green signal for her child’s whereabouts.

Parveena Ahangar in her journey to search her lost son met other people who were like her and were searching their dear ones. The heart which was weeping for her son found many hearts alike. She associate people and became the voice of their suffering and pain. It would be great to say that she became voice of voiceless. The disappointment which she faced was enough to break her but she defeated her all negative waves and stand in front of everyone as a single worrier who fought for the people as well as for her own cause. It is well said when a person can’t sense his own pain how can any other feel the same. 

She made her voice loud so that it may be heard. The Kashmir valley is the most militarized zone in the world in present scenario. There are more than 10,000 people who went disappeared. A majority of those disappeared are young men and minors. Enforced disappearance do not discriminate any as it engulfed people from every strata and profession. She internationally demanded to end the practice of involuntary disappearance.

The enforced disappearances have always targeted men but the indirect victims of it are women who bear all the brunt of this heinous crime committed against humanity. Besides this indirect affect they are getting directly victimized by the forces. Parveena Ahangar stands for such women’s rights and security who get crucified for no reason. She extended a helping hand to the victims of the famous mass rape cases in Kunan Poshpora. The Kashmiri media introduced a new term for a woman whose husband has disappeared and she is known as “Half Widow”.

A Half-widow is a woman living with a split identity who is neither a wife nor a widow of a missing man. The children of these mothers who hardly manage to get through life or we can say survive are given assistance by this iron lady of Kashmir. We all suffer from various traumas due to loss of some loved ones but she made her agony weapon against the atrocities which she and people like her witnessed. There may not seem any concrete results of her efforts but she has voiced her message to the world which has a subtle effect on the people across the globe. She gave message in her every speech that she has made a platform for upcoming generation to fight for the cause.

The crime is being committed against humanity so every human is accountable, so we all should play our part. When a woman who is illiterate and with little resource can change the world’s perception to see the whole problem in new version. All what she was having a zeal and light of hope in her heart which helps her to voice against the crimes? A mother was seen in tears when she placed all her struggle story in front of thousands of students and made them weep. A message was simple a mother was in agony and we really could sense her pain. It was just a single mother who made us weep hours and hours remembering her pain and struggle. Let’s think what about those hundreds of hundred mothers who are waiting to hear whereabouts of their children.

Author is PHD student at AMU. Email:


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