Zahid Nabi

Withered flowers of Kashmir

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And they won’t get another season to Bloom!

When French Philosopher, Albert Camus, immortalized his optimism about autumn by opining out that autumn is second spring when each leaf is a flower, he hardly would have imagined that in a valley thousands of miles away from his hometown, opposite of what he believes would turn out to be the truth. Spring season which signifies returning of life after a harsh winter brings with it happiness along with chirping birds countless blooming flowers. The season is celebrated and enormous charm is driven out of it. However for the Kashmir valley, this spring has brought with it another cycle of bloodshed and painfully so. Young men falling to bullets, has become a norm and those who survive are becoming witness to a dreadful episode they would never want to remember. Apple orchards that would once reverberate the humming of bees are now roaring with mortar shells almost daily.

Kashmir in general and its southern districts in particular are witnessing a silent massacre accompanied by destruction on a monstrous scale. Normalcy seems to be story of yesteryears and once abuzz markets are now giving deserted looks. Only commodity in demand seems to be the coffin for dead. Whatever the name given to the dead, Kashmir is losing another generation of youth. Everywhere else children fulfill parental wish by burying/cremating them when they leave for eternity.  However in Kashmir the roles have reversed. Tired shoulders of old men are seen carrying coffins of their children and there can’t be any scene more heart wrenching than that. Wails of women, mourning at funerals, are more common and frequently heard than songs of wanwun at marriage functions. What is more worrying is that there seems to be no end to this phase of killings.

Another day, another hamlet is chosen to bear the brunt of conflict. Homes are raised, teenagers killed and hundreds others who resist are showered with a rain of bullets and pellets which end up snatching life or giving injury and scars for life. Nobody knows when this mayhem will end and the daffodils of the valley will dance again at the passing of a breeze. Whenever it happens, it won’t be less than a miracle. But the valley for time being has seen enough young men sleeping in its graveyards. Seasons will come and go. Next spring, tulip garden in Srinagar will bloom again, but the teenaged tulips of Shopian, Pulwama or any other town silenced by roaring guns will never come out of their graves.

(Author is a Ph.D. Scholar and can be reached at [email protected])

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