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ACROSS THE BLUE WATERS

With dreamy eyes of a ten year old I stared at the purple wrinkled silk stole my aunt was holding in front of me. I was not fascinated by the fabric or colour but the smell of the land of its origin. The garment sent by my grandfather’s cousin came from across the LoC.

In 1947, Kashmir was divided by a ceasefire line –the line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan. It resulted in division of thousands of families.

The blue waters of river Neelam run almost across the LoC. At various points, relatives from both sides come to meet each other on a wedding or a funeral after the announcement is made in a mosque over the loudspeaker. Congratulations as well as condolences are helplessly shouted across as the noisy river furiously threatens to drown their voices.

Straying into each other’s territory is common as the land of many farmers on Loc is lying in both the regions.

In July 2005, Kapoor Jan crossed over to Indian side while grazing her goats. She was arrested and convicted. Failing to get released after serving her term she suffered a brief psychotic episode and was admitted in a Psychiatric Hospital. Post recovery she is still there.

There is no telecommunication between the two parts of once single entity. A recently introduced bus service requires special permit making it impossible to travel across.

I live in the hope that the LoC just like the Berlin Wall will cease to exist one day.

*********************************************************************************************************************************

‘Land doesn’t care who lives and dies on it, yet it possesses us as we fight to possess it.’
Basharat Peer, A young Kashmiri Writer and Author of CURFEWED NIGHT

Comments

sunita.basnet's picture

Beautiful story

Dear Nusrat,

This is a beautiful story of your land. I am sorry to hear that there is no communication between two parties which also create challenge during travelling.

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

Nusrat Ara's picture

Yes the tragedy is worse than

Yes the tragedy is worse than it appears to be but we are living with it. You know the pre paid cell connections have been banned in Kashmir terming it a security threat.Nearly 40 lakh subscribers have been hit. 20000 people will go jobless. We don't have normal lives here.

Regards

Nusrat

Sharese's picture

The politics of land.

Thank you for this account Nusrat! It is amazing how land can be divided and human being social structures control it so differently from one place to another. Yet, does a tree care on which side it grows? Does the dirt know whose feet walk upon it?

The part where you expalin the congratulations or condolence being thrown over the river was a very powerful depiction!

I am hungry to know more about how the land divides the people. More stories of the people that are divided, more about the customs on each side- do the customs mirror eachother but like a glass wall cannot touch eachother?

I love the truth of depiction. Thank you for this account.

Much Peace and Love,
Sharese

Nusrat Ara's picture

Thanks for the kind words. I

Thanks for the kind words. I will try to bring out more stories. There are so many just waiting to be told.

Love

Nusrat

JaniceW's picture

Thank you

Nusrat, I did not realize there was a LoC in Kashmir and now, suddenly all the stories of families torn apart by the Berlin wall come flooding back to me. How wonderful it would be if our generation saw the dismantling of the LoC too and saw families united again. From what I understand the LoC does not even constitute a legally recognized international boundary but is the de-facto border. It seems the fence was built to reduce the number of attacks on soldiers on the Indian side but I wonder if it has in fact done that, or is just a form of control and power.

I would love to hear more about this from you one day, Nusrat. Thank you for sharing your story. With best wishes,
Janice

Nusrat Ara's picture

thanks Janice. I wanted to

thanks Janice. I wanted to write more but had a word limit of 250 :( . You are right. It is just the line of control for the two countries. It runs through difficult terrain. So as far as I know only some parts are fenced where topograpghy allows. The river Neelam acts as a divider for a large part. Apart from the soliders, a lot of people have died trying to cross over or inadvertantly slipping into the wrong part.

You know there are some farmers whose farms lie on the line of control meaning they are spread across the LoC. So the farmer in the morning goes to soliders who let him in to the other side, tends his farm and goes back to other side where his house lies in the evening.He is never sure when his vists will be stopped.Depends on the mood whims of soliders I guess. I think that makes it tragic as well as funny. There are so many farms which can't be cultivated for the same reason as the farmers are not aloowed to cross over.

I hope I am able to write more. Will try to inshallah.

Love

Nusrat

JaniceW's picture

Crazy

It seems so insane that a person's livelihood is determined by the whim of another on any particular day.

Nusrat Ara's picture

Imagine the frustation of the

Imagine the frustation of the farmer who has to seek permission of someone else to visit his farm. It will drive him nuts.

Nusrat

olakitike's picture

A beautifulstory. The first

A beautifulstory. The first line about the piece of cloth totall drew me into the story. It is so beautiful. May LoC like the Berlin wall fall soon.

Nusrat Ara's picture

Insha allah ( God Willing)

Insha allah ( God Willing) Thank you very much. I was afraid if I will be able to express my story. With word length of 250 it was a difficult job. Still I really enjoyed confining it to so little. One learns a lot :).

Send me your story I am waiting.

Lots of Love

Nusrat

Tina's picture

Walls coming down

Hey Nusrat.
This week it is the anniversary of the Berlin wall coming down. Did you know that when you wrote this? I remember that day clearly, just as clearly as I remember the day I visited the wall on a school trip to Berlin a few years before it fell. I will never forget the sight of the snipers with their guns standing on top of the wall, poised to shoot anyone who came anywhere near that wall; And the stories of all the families split by this massive concrete divider really affected me.

But the good news is the Berlin wall did come down and I hope with you that it won't be too long now before the LoC also falls.
Love
Tina

Nusrat Ara's picture

Hey Tina I was just going

Hey Tina I was just going through some writeups on Berlin wall. I remebered your comment. You can write about that as well .Bring in that school trip and other memories. It will turn out to be a good piece.

So start writing.

Lots of Love.

Nusrat

Nusrat Ara's picture

Yes Tina I knew that is why I

Yes Tina I knew that is why I ended it that way. With Berlin wall in people's mind at this time I thought they can relate and understand better.

And I wish and pray the LoC vanishes too and we celebrate its anniversery soon :)

Lots of Love.

Nusrat

jap21's picture

Tragic

It is completely tragic, the pain must be unbearable, and for that reason, this is unacceptable. Please accept my sincere mourning for the existence of such a thing as an LoC.

In the future we should all make sure that we back you up to tear the LoC down. If and when you decide to start an international cause for that, let me know because I want to sign the petition.

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

Nusrat Ara's picture

Thanks for understanding and

Thanks for understanding and sharing our pain. We need all the support we can get.
Thank you very much for being there.

Lots of Love

Nusrat

mrbeckbeck's picture

Captivating storytelling...

I'm finally getting to read the MyStory posts! Quite a conversation going here, and wonderful to read everyone's thoughts. What a community we've got here, hmm?

I am amazed at how much of a story you told in so few words. You're incredibly talented as a writer, I thank you for sharing your unique, courageous voice with us.

More over, this is a story that needs to be told! Tragic, maddening, and destructive human defined boundaries. I weep in my heart for Kapoor Jan, and the pain she must feel. Lives transformed, relationships and families divided so arbitrarily by the LoC. It must end! To do something, or to do nothing, is a decision politicians make every day. And, this story is rarely heard by most people. Because, if we did hear about it, we'd start demanding some action!

Thank you for raising my consciousness about Kashmir, and what Land means to you. I'm happy to be here with you, to learn from you.

Warmly,
Scott

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Volunteer

Nusrat Ara's picture

Thank you Scott. It was so

Thank you Scott.

It was so challenging to keep to the limit of 250 words. So many times I almost gave up thinking I won't be able to condense it to 250. But then I kept trying. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.

Everyone is telling how I have managed to tell so much in so little. It makes me beam with happiness.

And yes so little is known about Kashmir and there is so much which is to be told.

Thanks once again.

Regards

Nusrat

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