The two shades of youth life in Kashmir

24 years of my 29 year old life, have I lived in Indian side of Kashmir and now I am living out of Kashmir for the past five years in an Indian city. Apart from the heat and the sweat the only thing that disturbs me a lot is the utter contrast of freedom back home in Kashmir and the freedom say in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow and the other places I have so far visited in India. Being a Kashmiri I have had my share of experiences with Indian occupational forces in Kashmir, but all of that was sort of okay and it didn’t hurt as much as it did after I came out of Kashmir and saw the other side of India. The two sides of India were right in front of my eyes. The India in Kashmir and the India outside of it, the two are poles apart. The former is a colonial force, a demon and a war criminal and the later is a free and democratic country where you got a lot of opportunities and you are free almost like a bird (though lately they are having some problems even there now with respect to eating as per your wish and being a minority, but they are still a million times better off than the India we have known in Kashmir).

Before 1986 there was one single orphanage in Kashmir valley, now there are more than 700. A UK based charity “Save the Children” conducted a study and concluded that Kashmir valley has 215,000 orphans out of which more than 37% have lost one or both parents to the prevailing conflict.

As a Kashmiri

Am I happy about being with India: No

Am I happy about the way Kashmir is: No

What do I want: The right to choose be given to the people of the Jammu & Kashmir.

I was used as a human shield by Indian army in one of their search operations in 2007 (I have written a detailed account about that in one one of the posts here). My friend in college was killed and labelled as a terrorist and the two army men were rewarded for that. We protested in our college the other day, but only to see our profs. and even lady principal beaten and six more students injured by tear gas shelling.

A close relative of mine was abducted in mid 1990s and never returned back like the other 10,000 men and youth of Kashmir. None of these 10,000 men has ever come back and there are no traces of them in any Indian prisons. This fact and the fact of mass graves in Kashmir fit each other like a hand in a glove, a war crime next only to the Holocaust since WW-II. Our disappeared relative has three daughters and one son who were young kids like I was in 1990s. They studied hard, one daughter and the son became engineers, the other two daughters became teachers. The kids of my relatives let India rob them of their father and they did not choose gun as the option for resistance, Burhan, however did. The question is, who is wrong? The kids of my relative, Burhan or Indian state that has brought all of this upon us. That is for you to answer.

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