Withering winter has always added beauty to the landscape of Kashmir. The silver-grey clouds, an engulfing-thick fog around the trees and the snow covered mountains are a captivating scene for anyone who thrives on Nature. It was the same mild-cold morning of February in my town Srinagar. A very beautiful part of the Kashmir Valley. I am 22 years old and I often go around for a walk with my younger brother Haris who is 17 years old and he is like me in love with the morning walk in an open area. We stroll around and discuss the unmatchable and unprecedented beauty of our valley, sometimes we go far along the trail of trees walking on the tracks there. We have been walking around the same since childhood, have grown up loving this valley. This place resides in our heart, and it is actually a part of our heart. This morning too, we went out for a walk.
Today, my brother has brought his little goat. He takes care of his little goat the most. It is 7 months old now, white in colour, small legs, and small ears. It is a very happy little animal when it jumps alongside Haris and plays with him. We were entirely engrossed in the beauty and enjoying the coziness that we have taken in this sanctuary. The clouds were floating over the valley, birds were chirping in the trees, and the morning breeze was touching our cheeks to feel the cold. Suddenly, we heard the fire-shots, these must have shot in any near area. This shooting distorted the peace of this valley just in few seconds. I immediately held my younger brother’s hand who already had picked up his little goat in the arms and we hurried to the home down in the town. I was more concerned for my younger brother’s safe return than my own as he would easily get scared of these situations after our father’s martyrdom in a protest rally against Indian-Army oppression two years back. I was running ahead of him, I could see the birds flying all around due to the noise of shooting but suddenly I could see nothing. It was all black. I just realized that I fell down on the earth and something went piercing my chest. I could only cast my eyes over my younger brother for once and I knew it was the last time.
I just remembered to run faster holding my brother’s hand behind him. I was all baffled like always I have found myself in such situations. In one arm, I had my little goat. It got quiet now, not happy any more. The firing shots were increasing and it felt these were very near. I looked upward the sky, the same jubilant-valley with its exotic nature seemed to be silent, the only sound I could hear was the firing shots. In the same glance, I noticed that the birds were flying abruptly up towards the sky due to this human’s intervention in their habitation. The chatters made by them have got fainted in this gunfire. Amidst all this urgency, suddenly I got a thrust and I saw my brother falling on the ground. The next thing I heard was the shriek that was caused by any stray bullet hit to him from any near place. The blood was all around him. In this very moment, he saw me last time with tears in the eyes as he was too helpless to stay with me and protect me any longer. I was devastated and fell on him, held him in my arms but he closed his eyes forever. It was the last time when I embraced him too lovingly that I never wanted to be separated. The pain prevails all over me and even in such panic-noisy state, it was all silence, and it left my whole world silent forever.
Unlike to the lives of many normal citizens of towns and cities, we young people in Kashmir have grown up like this, seeing curfew, sieges, firings, strikes and unwanted raids on the houses and also unjustifiable-arrests of young men. This has been our lives for the last seven decades. The men, women, young, children all have gone witnessing the same unending episodes of injustice, violence, and oppression since their birth to death. No one can ever understand the ordeals we go through every day living here. Indian Army that claims to be the professional has left no stone unturned to unleash its power over us, anytime and any moment. It has the self-assumed right to cordon our lives to the extent of paralysis. I lost my father and then I lost my brother too. he was an intelligent young man who had promising aspirations for his future. Like many of his age, he also became the target of Indian Army violence. They made silent another emerging voice, shut another dreamful eye and gave us another fatal stroke. It was another painful part to bury the young loving brother like a father. Yet my story is not only one of its kind, but it is also the story of every other house in this Kashmir valley.
I feel proud when I say that my people of Kashmir has become the resilient most population. Kashmir can be definitely suggested as one of the synonyms for courage. Despite every brutal kind of oppression imposed by the Indian Army, the people here have managed to raise their voice for self-determination, very deserving political rights and above all the freedom. The independence that is the forever dream of every Kashmiri. Hundred-thousands of unarmed and innocent people in Kashmir have lost their lives in the pursuit to get rid of Indian oppression. No matter what but none of the people here have ever bowed to the Indian dominion. Will never bow too!
I have pride in my eyes that the valley of Kashmir is a symbol of struggle also that it has shown an unprecedented example of resistance. This valley bore the pains and wounds all alone since many eras. Its mountains echoed with the thunder of firings and shelling, its clouds got dusted with the smoke of fire emanated from the protests. Its trees often shed the leaves due to the jostle caused by shelling. This valley has often got injured when its sons were tortured to death and daughters were ravaged mercilessly but it stands still with a strong hope to be free from its unwanted and torturous rulers.
We the people in Kashmir have gone through every ruler’s hostile initiatives even for our daily life activities and for the practice of basic religious rights. Be at any predecessor or successor, all have come in the rule and took the power in hand’s to usurp the rights that no one can think living in this global village to arrogate. The international community seems almost failed to bring justice to us. There is a kind of tacit consent forwarded to the Indian occupation. The easiest solution to give us the right to choose, to decide and make our own government seem to the International stakeholders an impracticable idea.
We have left with us the courage, to stand and to resist the Indian occupation till the time we bring freedom to the valley. This courage has brought us one fruit for sure that we got succeeded to disparage India and Indian Army in any part of the world community on the basis of the Human Rights violation and atrocities that India has continued to practice over the innocent people of Kashmir. India with all its might and media power too could not make us silent to speak for the right of self-determination. We with only courage, resistance and determination slam and slap India every time and everywhere. The dream of our freedom will be a reality one day!