Letter To An Unborn Kashmiri
By Sajad Hamid
25 August, 2010
Date: August 24th 2010 .
Time: 5.00 am .
Dear Future Kashmiri,
First of all, let me introduce myself to you, I am your predecessor. I was born in a place what was once (people say) a land of lotus-eaters, the beautiful Dal lake and the shikaray wallahs, the scenic meadows and the Sufis and the Rishis who brought the message of love, harmony and beauty to this land. But sadly all this doesn't exist anymore. I have been raised in the shadow of constant fear and bloodshed, forced to watch my peers being orphaned, mothers and sisters being raped and molested and countless other atrocities at the hands of armed forces. I have grown adult without ever knowing peace.
I know it must seem weird of me to write you a letter while you are still in your mother's womb preparing to bless this land of conflict, but I feel it's my prime responsibility to tell you something about the world you are planning to make your own. I hope you'll indulge me.
The world that you will be born into is a hard one. You will be born into a land at war. You will be surrounded by more than 700,000 men in uniform asking you to prove your identity every second. You will see streets painted red with blood of young innocent teenagers massacred in cold blood. You will see cities turned into ghost towns. The air that you will get to breathe, the water that you will get to drink, the food that you will get to eat, in fact everything around you would seem to be restrained. Your freedom will stand strangulated, your self-esteem and dignity murdered. You will feel like an alien in your own land deprived of basic human rights and freedom of speech. You will not be allowed to protest even in the most peaceful manner.
Let me tell you about your father first. Your father is one amongst the 10, 000 people who have been subjected to enforced custodial disappearance. It's quite possible that your father could be a victim of custodial killing or a fake encounter and there are absolutely no chances of accountability on the part of armed forces as they enjoy impunity by the draconian laws empowered to them. There seems to be no obligation on the part of state to bring those responsible to justice .
Your mother is a half-widow (from your father's plight, you might well understand why she is called a half-widow). She is the most amazing person you will ever get to know. Your beautiful mother worked long and hard to bring you into this world. She is your mother and father. The laws of your country would have allowed you to have been destroyed before you were even born, but your Mom would never have considered that. She carried you inside her body for nine long months despite having to bear incessant molestations, abuses and humiliations at the hands of (in)security forces. She misses your father so badly and she hasn't given up the hope of seeing him one day.
When I imagine your little face, I sometimes think about how lucky you are that you have not yet been born into this world and I wish you could forever remain so innocent. I pray that you will not get to see such terrible things as are occurring right now; that the land and its rulers will have evolved beyond such madness by the time you are old enough to understand. I pray that you will never have to hurl stones or shoes; I pray that you will never have to write this letter to your future generation.
You are an eternal creature, for in your little body dwells a never dying soul. You represent our very best hopes and dreams. Sleep well and gain lots of strength. You'll need it for what lies ahead of you. Who knows what the future holds for you?
PhD Student, Germany,