By Musaib Hafiz
Circa 2010. Massive protests erupted in the beautiful vale of Kashmir, covering and colouring it with blood and violence. It was the month of July, its fag end, when people began to move in a procession towards Maisuma from Chanapora and adjoining areas to jointly protest against the killings.
Twenty seven year old Iqbal – an STD owner –operator from Natipora sustained a head injury and got killed. His killing was followed by huge protests across the valley especially Natipora; I was a participant in each of these protests- albeit a passive one.
Seeing the mayhem and my emotional condition, my parents decided to send me outside the state to pursue higher studies.hey feared for my life. They assured and convinced me to want me to fight with pen rather than a stone or gun. Decisions were taken quickly so much so that I was given a tearful farewell the next day -especially by my mother- who could not bear the fact of me going away from her but, at the same time, wanted me to live and be happy. (This is the dilemma that most Kashmiris mothers face in one form or the other)
I vividly remember those twelve 12 hours that I spent with my family before bidding adieu to Kashmir. These moments are unforgettable for me. It was a moment of epiphany for me: I, for the first time, realized how important I was (and am) for my family; the affection they showered on me was extraordinary.
The journey to Punjab, my new abode, was as difficult and tiring as I could have imagined. The pain of the homeland was making it all the more difficult. My thoughts were saturated with the days and nights of Kashmir until I reached my destination, the Punjab University, Patiala. I was a class 12th student when I landed in the university and the next three years of my life were spent in the university with a hope that one day I will return back and be able to alleviate the pain of my brethren.
I am back but the pain has increased manifold assuming different forms, permutations and combination. I, sometimes feel helpless, sometimes strong enough to bring a smile on the faces of those whose lives have been shattered by this conflict. But, as they say, hope springs eternal in the human heart. So does it in mine.
—The author is a student of Mass communication and Journalism at Media Education Research Centre, University of Kashmir. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org