Our graveyards have no space

We know we are an occupied people, we know we have been cheated into slavery, we know our struggle is just and we know our movement (like any such movement in history) is against a colonial power. But what does that suggest? Push our young to wolves. When shall our leaders learn to behave with maturity.

As I write this piece, my fingers tremble on the keyboard. Just typing out the name Eesa Fazili is a pain. He could have lived more but we lost him to the monster of occupation which is taking lives as fodder. He could have breathed more but we tossed him to a bear which is devouring us for decades. He could have waited more, but we were in a hurry to offer his blood as oil to lubricate the killing machines of a lethal force. He (along-with the boys who continue to fall) is a tragedy that defines us as a people. When life prevails, sons carry the coffins of their fathers. When death haunts, it’s the reverse. If I shake while writing about this young blooming boy who vanished before entering the garden of his youth, what about his father?

A devastated soul Noor-un-Naeem Fazili narrates a heart-rending tale of his son’s metamorphosis from a hardworking and focussed student to an underground gunman. A traumatised father frantically searches for his son from village to village but finds him nowhere till his body bag reaches home one day. All in general, but parents in particular will feel the agony. No word, no slogan can describe it. Parents who see through the eyes of their children can realise that crushing pain Naeem has gone through. I was moved by the way he suggested the friends of his son to `excel in other fields’ and `not to leave studies mid-way and lace themselves with degrees’. I bow in awe for such maturity and sagacity. Fazili leads by example and leaves a lesson. Save lives, guard lives before we lose lives.

Compared to his deep sense of responsibility and care, Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s response is – as usual – shocking. He says Eesa was `close to him’ and the boy’s `commitment to freedom mission was exemplary’. What did he do as he was seeing this young boy preparing to die for a cause. Watch him die?

If Geelani makes Eesa a `moral precedent’, where shall that morality begin from? From neighbour’s home or from your home? Geelani Sahab, presume your son seeks your guidance, would you prepare him like a sheep to the slaughter? Or even if you do, is that leadership? My heart bleeds at this horrifying sense of leading a nation. My remark may be too cheap and too ordinary to be called `intellectual’, but if you call the boy’s mission `praiseworthy’ what message does it carry. If youth are `laying their lives to end an age-old slavery’, are those lives worth just a tribute in your stock. Is the blood of our children worth a customary press-note that fills a mere column in a newspaper?

Our graveyards have no space now. Spare a little for those who want to live. Our boys are our capital. Let them live for a cause before they die for it. How many Eesas have to hang before there is none left for crucifixion? How many?