They are beneath the sod. Two old frail souls supported by a young teenager looking at every passing by stranger beside a single storey mud house as if waiting for their return. Hey! Those who disappear seldom return back and in case of Kashmir they never did.
Gloom has another name and that is Raja Begum. Full of pain. Pain is another member of this ill-fated family. Meet Raja Begum and your tears keep no limit. She is one of those mothers who lost their dear ones to this violence with no hope and no support neither from ‘pro-freedom’ leaders nor from the state government. She has lost her everything. She has lost Qayoom and Majeed -her two sons to this seemingly unending violence. Raja Begum lives in a mud house of Banday Mohalla, Murrin Tangwaari of block Wagoora with her husband and a teenage daughter.
Whenever I see any young boy coming towards our home, I see Qayoom and Majeed in them. But that proves a limited happiness for me. Son! Do you know what life actually means? Life is when a mother grooms her offspring, watches them growing old, waits for them until evening, waits to hug them, kiss them and waiting for the day to see them prosperous and happy. But when you are left without fulfilling this hope, when you are snatched off this right to live; there is no meaning to this cruel life. When you are given dreadful nights and days only to wait, when you are given a futile hope, life becomes meaningless. Whole world looks like hell. I am still waiting for my disappeared son. 19 years but he never came back.
Raja Begum lost her two sons to this violence. Ghulam Qadir Malik is second husband of Raja Begum after she was married to Ali Mohammad Ganie of Kanispora, from whom she had two sons Abdul Majeed Ganaie and Abdul Qayoom Ganaie, both lost to violence.
I was pregnant when I lost my first son, Abdul Majeed Ganaie. He disappeared. Till date nobody knows who kidnapped/killed him. Majeed went to Chandoosa for vegetables but never came back. I will never send him to market again. But when will he come back? Majeed was naughty but someone snatched him from us. My younger son Ab Qayoom Ganaie, a labourer by profession who used to earn 50 rupees a day for survival, was arrested, tortured and later died in hospital. Nobody knows who arrested him. Nobody knows who killed him. We got information after days. People reportedly buried him at Kanispora.
Raja Begum is the gloomy face who every year used to attend protest march at Srinagar organised by association of disappeared. She claims that nobody helped her, neither to locate her son nor morally and economically. However she reiterates that during one visit to Srinagar she was given a ‘Pheran’ by someone from association of disappeared.
“Neither pro-freedom parties nor the government helped me. I am a cardiac patient, with a farmer husband and a 19 year old daughter, who is engaged as I want to see her off in my life only. Who will take care of her after us. Doctors have advised me to remain in open. I can’t stay insides, as it suffocates me,” Raja Begum said.
In a single storey, we are left with no hope. I visited every army camp, police station, Hurriyat office, every house and forest but this long wait seems to have no end. Ghulam Qadir, gave my two sons the shelter, married off my two daughters. Now this frail man is the only manly figure in this house. We are hopeless. Nobody is there to take care of us. We are in old age now. There are scars, pain, memories and unending wait.
2015 Kashmir Despatch