Kashmir: A letter from hell to heaven

Photo: Taiwan News

By Kabir Ahmad

Dear Athar,

I hope you are fine and doing good in the hereafter. While I don’t know you, I have seen your photos on the social media. You have become a part of me now. I have heard the gut-wrenching cries of your family. You had promised to return home the next day. But you didn’t.

Ever since you left home, your family has been searching for you in every nook and corner. There is grief in your homeland. There is a deluge of sadness, and people have forgotten the address of happiness. Everyone was waiting for you. As the new year began, the world prayed for the erasure of 2020 from the history of human existence. The year brought miseries to the world and wrecked the human race. You braved everything with your family and were waiting for a new dawn. The family and friends don’t want to wake up to the new year without you.

You had left for a night, but three weeks have passed. There is no sight of you. There is a rumour in the town that you have been killed and branded as a “dreaded terrorist”. There are reports that those trigger-happy men needed your blood to keep the sovereignty intact. When you left home, these men sniffed an opportunity. You were soon consigned to the dungeons of death, along with two more boys. As the news reached home, the time stopped. Everyone left to see you in the city of ruins.

Athar, it snowed after you left. Before the sky turned gray, I saw your father wailing on a busted road. I guess the passersby might have taken him for a frenzied man. I wish those onlookers never learn about frenzy. Your parents, friends and relatives ran after your body, pleading, begging, and requesting to perform your last rites. But all in vain. The mountains were waiting for your arrival and the sky was mourning the helplessness of your near and dear ones. Those who stole your life, stole your corpse as well. Nobody was allowed to bid you a final goodbye. Your family laid you in a pit in the dead of the night in the snow-capped land.

An empty grave in your homeland is waiting for your return. Isn’t it hysteric to dig a grave and leave it empty? But then, such delirium is the product of our repressive wails. Do you know you didn’t even get a funeral? Those who killed you muffled our shrieks as well. Anyone who holds a bit of courage to let out a cry might be taken away and consigned to a horrible fate.

Your death followed a script that fits a pattern. But the script failed for we know the truth they always conceal. The memories of Shopian fake encounter are still fresh and the wounds are yet to heal. You know that death and destruction have become our daily routine. Thousands have been killed for the sake of the Indian flag, but they were only meant for gallantry awards, cash and out of turn promotions. They lie buried in mountains, forests, riverbanks, known and unknown graveyards. Many parents died of false hopes as they waited for their beloveds to return from the graves. Thousands still hold on to such hopes. These killings and the despair that follows are the hallmarks of India’s existence in Kashmir.

I am writing to you from the frozen land. While you smile in the heavens, I hope you are telling our tale to the angles of God. Enough of our sufferings and pain. Let the God grace us with freedom, peace, and justice.


Kabir Ahmad is a student and can be reached at @kabwrites on Twitter.


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Cafe Dissensus Everyday is the blog of Cafe Dissensus magazine, born in New York City and currently based in India. All materials on the site are protected under Creative Commons License.


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