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Rumors of Spring

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The forceful expulsion of Kashmiri Pandit community in 1989 fueled the occupation of Kashmir by Indian military that is burning Kashmir in its ire to date. The year 2019 revoked the special status of Kashmir in Indian law but Kashmiri people still yearn for independence. In her book “Rumours of Spring”, Farah Bashir dramatically sketches the terrors instilled in the body and soul of every Kashmiri post 1989. In the wake of the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir in the 1990s, Kashmir saw a long nightmare that in the words of Basharat Peer can be called as “Curfewed Night”.

Curfew and poisoning had things in common is what I realized on 14 August 1994”.

As the Indian military started a reign of terror in the valley, night curfews started taking a daily tour and the days were suppressed miserably but not curfewed. Adults and children alike started seeking refuge in odd self harms to escape the constant terror. Farah Bashir hide herself behind the habit of scratching her hair while others like her aunt built a guilty habit of saluting Indian army everyday. Such actions were the dire defense mechanism of Kashmiri people against the dreads of Indian army.

Kashmir is the only region in the world where if you are about to lock the gate of your home you can be attacked by the metallic monster known as “Steel Daen” hiding beside your gate for no reason. In Kashmir people inhale fear and exhale cry for help but no one outside Kashmir is ready to inhale that exhaled Kashmiri cry!

Bunkers — the ground floor of native’s houses where Indian troops resided. “Bunker” is a hair-raising term for Kashmiris. What would life be in a place where you are living right above ruthless soldiers and right inside the boot soldiers. People in Kashmir can not open their windows because the tear gas might choke them. Kashmiri air is a poisonous air that can kill people even inside the closed doors.

Like weed, they had cropped up everywhere, they followed us no matter which route we took, they stared at us in our faces. Who knew they would eventually become landmarks and become a part of our addresses: ‘the house next to the small bunker’, ‘the lane before the large bunker!”

I really have nothing to give you. What can I give you? I have nothing at home. I have no one to fall back on except Allah T’allah. Please help me find him. At least, tell me which prison he is in? Please.” — a chant that became a routine beg of every Kashmiri women. Mothers have to run from police station to police station in order to find their disappeared innocent sons, wives have to get on their knees in front of the soldiers for their husbands, daughters have to wide open their dupattas to beg for their fathers.

Sudden disappearances and deaths are more common than rains in Kashmir. People in Kashmir are subjected to sudden crackdowns, soldiers come and turn the home upside down, throwing away the rice and flour on the floor. Women of the house have to clean the food after the soldier’s leisure crackdown is over. This causes food shortage and often starvation in many weak households. Apparently for security reasons but actually for fun, Indian soldiers had made life in Kashmir miserable. Girls find their safe heaven in covering themselves with clothes so as not to be seen by the troops. The lusty eyes of soldiers despises young women.

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No romance was possible in a valley with burnt post offices, Farah Bashir describes her first love’s downfall because in Kashmir you can’t love!Every Kashmiri has PTSD or djinn as an equivalent term for mental sickness. Constant terror and assault needs no other imprint than mental sickness and Kashmir is all a torture cell. School girls used to change bus routes to escape troops.

The death of Kashmiri culture started setting in 1990s. No more traditions were followed because you cannot! By now, Kashmiri culture is dead more or less. The wedding ceremonies that once took days to end now are two hour long daylight function. The major factor that makes Kashmiris to stay in Kashmir is the preservation of Kashmir’s culture and heritage but after 2019, the sight is miserable.

As soon as the corona virus hit the world, people started losing their feelings. A natural pandemic made people loose the meaning of life so how in a region where there’s a human pandemic, feelings like excitement, joy, happiness not dry up completely? The horrifying Tom and Jerry play of militants and the Indian army had devastated even the little sources of escape. Cinemas were questioned first by militias as against Islamic principles and then were taken over by Indian troops — big bunkers.


A prominent leader Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq’s funeral procession in 1990, witnessed massive bloodshed because his people were carrying his body to graveyard and Indian soldiers started firing to stop the funeral. Kashmiris are loyal to Kashmir and its leaders, they didn’t stop, many died in the funeral but they took the body to the graveyard. Murdering politicians is easy in Kashmir. Mohammad Farooq, another political leader, was shot dead in his house.

“Q. K., Q. K., Q. K., q. k., Q. K., q. k., q. k., Q. K.”

These were the letters Bashir’s cousin used to write on walls of his home and his mother used to erase them. There was constant writing and erasing war going on between the mother and son because the mother feared the troops would kill his son on basis of suspicion. Later it was found that the mysterious Q. K meant QUIT KASHMIR. Such was the desire in young men for Independence. Later on, as more young bloods started boiling, terms like ‘GO INDIA GO’, ‘Al-Umar’, ‘Taeju’ became common in the valley. Kids born after 1990 saw these terrors as a mockery because it is the only thing they have ever seen!

© 2022 Umaima

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