THE year was 2013, day was February 9, and I woke up early and prepared myself to reach the college. When I stepped outside the view was different, it wasn’t the usual sunlight and the morning breeze carried with it the cry of injustice and incisive melancholy. I checked my attire for the day as I was going to be at college. The phone rang and I attended. Mother said that I should stay at home and not venture out on that day. The rest of the conversation was striking back and forth the walls of the mind, trying to find an explanation.
My reaction was to switch on the TV where ‘breaking news’ scrolls kept running the channels. Afzal Guru was hanged. As the news spread people of Kashmir everywhere started protesting. The protests were against the fulfillment of the collective conscience of the Indian nationalists. In the chaos and melancholy I could only see myself helpless imprisoned in the four walled room. The only thought reverberating in my mind was that of Dr Allama Iqbal’s – “Mullah ko jo hai hind mein sajde ki ijazat; Nadan ye samajhta hai ki Islam hai azad”
It was injustice, and the secret hanging then denying the family the remains are black spots on the justice system of India. Parallel thoughts and perception that Kashmiris were subject to victimization filled the head. Are Kashmiris born to suffer?
The answer at that time was filled with null and voids. The intensity of rage against Kashmiris rose speedily within no time and in every corner of India. My renter asked me to vacate the room perhaps to avoid defamation in the locality (as they were housing a helpless Kashmiri). Again that was to the satisfaction of the collective conscience. It helped me to find the answer to silent question.
Why can’t their eyes witness it as injustice? Why only Kashmiris and few people in India have second thoughts on this secret hanging! My mind was full of “whys” only. The thought found the meaning in the quote of renowned Indian poet Aalam Nizami: “Muflisi kitni khatarnak hai tum kya jaano; Ye salamat koyi rishta nahi rehne deti”
This was not a novel thing to have had happened to the soul of Kashmir – some decades before we have suffered from the same agony – when Maqbool Butt was hanged in the same fashion. Who was Afzal Guru?
Afzal Guru was a college drop-out, a surrendered freedom fighter, once a graduate candidate of Delhi University and victim of state injustice. More than that he was a person of principles who never stated anything for his own expediency.
Once Afzal was told by security forces to coach the two sons of higher officials of defense to avoid the threats of kidnapping. And while filing of Curative petition on his behalf by Senior Counsel Indra Jaisingh, he asked him the names of people whose children he had taught.
But Afzal said that if he made those names public, the students would face stigma and he did not want to harm them. It has been written in Nandita Haksar’s book “The many faces of Kashmiri Nationalism”as: “She (Indra Jaising) was deeply impressed by how honorable he was. Afzal was not the kind of human being who would sacrifice principles for the sake of expediency”.
It is also said that in Delhi, Afzal Guru was taken to the Police Station of the Special Cell at Lodhi road. He was beaten, tortured and humiliated. It was the holy month of Ramzan and the policemen urinated in his mouth, telling him he could break his fast with their urine.
This shows the nature of democracy and secularism that the world’s largest democratic country boasts about. At last I will quote the words from Afzal Guru’s letter to his lawyer: “Jahan mai hu ki khud sara jahan hu, makaan mai hu lekin la’makaan hu”. ( I am in Universe in such a way that I am myself a universe, I live in a space but I am Spaceless)
—Courtesy: Kashmir Watch