The bus was cruising along and only stray reading cabin lights illuminated the cabin with discretion as the curtains were drawn for the night journey from Chandigarh to Delhi. It my maiden ride on a Super deluxe AC bus. After a brief halt at a wayside eatery the journey resumed with most of the passengers dozing off. Few like me were wandering through the darkness that had little to offer at that point in time. My co traveller realising my restive state initiated the dialogue with a customary introduction. In a while we were chirping like we had been dwelling and rubbing feathers on the same branch of a guava tree.
She appeared to be well versed with almost every current affair around the globe, be it fashion, politics, sports , any thing one could possibly think of. And the most fascinating thing that attracted my attention was her immense knowledge of books and of course Jaw dropping looks to mesmerise anyone and everyone.
I had been watching her flipping the pages of AYN RAND’s “The Fountain head” which I had recently concluded reading. Noticing my interest that I was quite drawn towards her, she took the initiative and soon we began to exchange our views and opinions on almost everything through the night until we hit the destination in the wee hours boarding off to the not so pleasant early September morning whiff of Delhi Terminal. As a parting gift , she handed me over a Novel “ The Exodus” by Leon Uris ,which I still I treasure as a souvenir from a Punjabi damsel who was pursuing English( literature at the Punjab university Chandigarh.
I had by then had the opportunity of reading only one of his fine works “The Hajj”. His narrative would actually take one along and transform the imagination into reality.
With byes and a word to meet up again we walked our ways on that fateful September morning .
As I started settled Down in my room, I took out my cigarette pack to light one of the many I would puff at. all night as the title of this Leon Uris book had generated some extraordinary quest.
When I began to read, little could I conceive that some day soon history would be witness to another event .Though not as grave in magnitude yet ripping apart the lives of a community by their disengagement from their Home and Hearth.
Punjab was on the boil and govt had been exposed all ends up at the ham handed manner the situations were dealt with. The heir apparent was a rookie and had too little of experience and Wisdom to take serious and worthwhile calls. His coterie were equally inept and were busy experimenting and often fumbled as toddlers.Life in the region was restive and getting mired by regular spate of discreet massacres and retaliatory action by the forces. As the Theatre of terror and travail was at its worst best, Govt. as well as the public was unaware of the scene being created for another long drawn engagement in the neighbourhood. National leadership had little time to bother about the under current brewing up in the most sensitive state of the country.
Circa 1986,,,,,Even as things appeared hunky dory till the middle of eighties , The Heaven on Earth had some murkier phase to witness that lay ahead .
I had a chance of meeting an American duo (American boy and a girl of Gujrati origin) who were touring across the valley to ascertain the sentiment and choice of the average native with regard their heart bleeding for Pakistan. They were gathering the feedback for an assignment from an American university to be published in it’s Journal. The expressed their curiosity to know my take on the matter. I conclusively in no uncertain terms made my point, it’s a farce, no body would cross over given an opportunity, The lady was awestruck at my revelation. She disclosed that after interviewing scores and scores of people they found my observation at stark variance. I stood my ground maintaining that it was the modus operandi to bleed and suck to the last drop in order to pursue theAgenda to drain the economy of a developing nation. At the Coffee shop though there were not much of hustle yet few heads turned at my unsolicited views that were responded with grins and growls . A dear friend advised me to leave venue for my continued presence might become tough for them to entertain.
I chose to ignore and went ahead to complete my argument to emphasise that average Kashmiri was too naive to be drawn into extremism and hostility. I had been resting my argument on the basis of my knowledge of how petty skirmishes would happen amongst the neighbourhood dwellers only to peak at stone pelting and die down at the dusk with the placing of a basket upside down.
Never in my wildest imagination could I comprehend the magnitude to which this war has been waged.
That Kashmir would burn for the Joy of others. How could Kashmir get so blunted , how could the leaders of the masses allow their followers to bludgeon the unarmed community and in the consequential reaction let the youth of motherland die endlessly in vain.
Preaching that Almighty keeps an eye on His faithful, why did they not utter a word of dissent to condemn the massacre of unarmed. Instead theyContinued with their lavish foreign jaunts and merrymaking at luxury hotels and patronised state of the art medical facilities, The patriarchs of the movement left their blood soaked ( blinded ) brothers in Lurch. Perhaps that themselves had failed in their evaluation of the disaster the hackneyed movement would bring. As it all started as a resentment by the disgruntled section who were convinced that the 1987 elections were rigged to the last ballot. Here, one can see how GOI went completely vision less in not allowing any representation to the MUF. Had Delhi acted in some wisdom by accommodating couple of Fundamentalists, I am sure The stars over the Valley’s Horizon must have been shimmering differently.
In quest of power and money majority of the leaders spearheading the cult of violence fell prey to the Vultures they fed rendering the movement goalless soliciting meddling by non state actors. It’s a fact that whosoever, from any which side, involved or engaged in this Theatre of ugly war and mayhem, have had their lump of share , Better or Bitter. Endless proposals involving unaccounted money are being floated executed later shelved mid way seriously bleeding the exchequer over and again. All governments have been high on Oratory relentlessly yet none could succeed at bringing harmonious atmosphere wherein both the Executant and the plaintiff could hold meaningful confabulations. Why the intent is missing, why not the introspective approach adored to wriggle out the issue. As long as vested interests are allowed to flourish and attained, the parasites will feast on the dead and the alive with impunity.
The” Exodus “has not merely displaced a minority , it has exterminated the values and ethos of an Significant Period in History. And look at the” Wrath of God” the resultant consequence has despaired, impaired too many to count and many more to mourn and veil .