Anti national piece : Read it at your own risk.
It was the year 1999. At the age of just 9 years old, Neha was going to experience a little of the destruction that happens when two nations wage a war against each other. She was living in Kashmir which itself was the reason for which these two nations were always ready to pick up arms and destroy each other.
The first time she could remember, she heard about a soldier dying in the war was while getting ready for her dance performance at her school’s annual function. She was studying at an Army School where most of her teachers were always Army officer’s wives. She could hear one of her teachers telling someone “She is so young. I don’t know how she will take care of her 2 year old child. This is what a war ultimately does, destroy someone’s happy life.”
For the next two months Neha would see a lot of war related stories on various news channels. From the window of her classroom she would see a helicopter land every three to four hours on the helipad not very far away from her school. Two men would take a stretcher near the helicopter to take an injured soldier to the nearby army hospital.
The few months of Kargil war made Neha familiar with the emotion people called “Patriotism”. She made a poster for her classroom display board where she wrote a list of various army men who had lost their lives in the war and glued their pictures with their names. She made it with the help of her mother who wrote “Vande Matram” at the end. When she took it to her class the next day, her class teacher immediately put it up on the board. Neha had never felt so proud of a poster before. She was ecstatic when she saw the poster on the display board throughout the next year too.
But over the next few years, Neha’s concept of patriotism kept on confusing her. The first time it happened was when she noticed a section of students in her school assembly not ready to sing the national anthem and could remember how much a senior faculty scolded them. Neha got angry at them too. They were living in India, if they can’t respect the national anthem maybe they should not be living here.
The second time it happened was when she was groped by an Army man who would wait outside the gate of their school everyday. Neha was just 12 years old. Over the next few years she would keep on hearing vulgar comments from the bunkers located between her home and the school. She had never felt so scared while walking alone for those 500 metres. If these men were there to protect people here, why were they doing something like this to me, Neha would think.
The third time it happened was when she moved to Delhi. While she became quite adaptive to the quirks of this new place, she was not able to adjust with people here. It was not her fault. The problem was that she was from Kashmir and she would keep on getting bombarded with strange questions. Someone asked her with a lot of excitement, “Did you see the whole Kargil war happening through your own eyes?”. She wanted to say that “No I didn’t. But I did see injured army men getting carried to a hospital.” But the weirdest moment was when someone commented “ Dude it must be so exciting to stay in a place like Kashmir. It must be so adventurous.” Neha muttered in her mind “ Sure when you are waiting for your school to blow up after the principal had received a call about a bomb in the premises or when you can still hear the screams of an injured captain being driven away from nearby your house, it is so damn exciting.” People who were close to her were also not behind. While someone mentioned “You must have an AK-47 in your bag” and another deduced “Maybe your father is close to a terrorist and that’s how you manged to stay in Kashmir for so long.”
While she carried on with her life, these kind of comments would force her to think, “If they care about Kashmir so much, why don’t they care about the people there?”, “Why am I being targeted with such comments when I do feel that I am a part of a nation called India?” and finally “Why can’t they leave Kashmir alone and not keep on making a mess there just for their own political benefits?”.
It is 2016 now. Social media is in a full bloom. These days it is specifically being used to encourage the two nations to go on a war again. Of course it is the best way to decide once for all on who does Kashmir belongs to. So what if it will involve thousands of lives being lost on both the sides, it is ok. Even if it results in a huge psychological impact on kids. Kids who when grow up will use pseudo names to put their stories out in the world, it is ok. Let us pray for some more tension which will ultimately result again in a war between the two nations both of which have nuclear weapons. It is ok yaar, think how exciting it will be. We will have more patriotic movies and our kids in future will have to battle against the ramifications of a nuclear attack.
It is ok. Let’s pray together.