Its been a long time since I posted. Hope you all have been well and taking care of yourself and all that you hold dear.
I have been away..mostly, from the computer. Its been in the backpack quitely walking with me, listening to the conversations or sometimes open left unattended, its life-charge seeping out and it quietly shutting out the world.
I was in Kashmir for my field-work (its ironic how it becomes field-work?). It was above all a gut-wrenching time and full of intrigue.
I reached there at the height of Neelofar-Asiya double murder and rape.(Read more about it here:http://www.kashmirprocess.org/reports/shopian/toc.html)
It was in the news as I left US and by the time I was there the controversy reached the pinnacle. State machinery was hyper trying to shove it under the carpet. There was choas, confusion, distortion of facts...bottomline it went onto show how Kashmir issue is being stage-managed by India with people, especially women as young as Asiya was, just 16 and her pregnant sister-in-law 27, who bear the brunt of this low intensity war.
I did not visit Shopian (where these two young ladies belong to). For many reasons, for one I was working on custodial disappearances. I would have gone to offer my condolences to the family but what do you say to people who have not only face untimely death of two women and an unborn child but suffer through a hell of murder-rape.
What did I have to offer the family? An empty handed researcher SLASH writer who is horrified at the display of this pornography of voilence? Cringing from the sheer prurience of such encounters, I did not want to be one of the many who went with all due respects, the right reasons and sit with the family, when I had nothing tangible to offer them...like promise them that the perpetrators will be brought to book, like it will never happen again..like give them a sense of what closure for them could be....
In spirit, in words my solidarity and my work is at their disposal, but physically I felt/am useless.
Physically in Kashmir everyone is useless...you can be picked up by the army at any time and disappeared. The law is on their side. For all practical purposes, you do not exist if they decide you dont.
Thats the Armed Forces Special Protection Act that blankets Kashmir from any prying outside eyes and Indian occupation can do whatever they want with impunity.
Friends, maybe reliving the tragedy of Kashmir seen is causing me to rant..a hopeless rant. I promise coherence and reason next time.
I want to share the heart-side of my work which does not find much place elsewhere with you all. Hope you will bear with me.
peace and love