a story scripted in pain..
And Hajira ran, like never before-gasping and barefoot. So many fearful eyes peeping from window glasses following her, so many guns from the nearby military bunker pointing towards her-but towards the bare street she ran alone leaving behind the groaning body of her husband Ghulam Nabi Mahajan(68) that was lying on the threshold of their house- his head inside and legs spread on the street outside.
Hajira(66) reaches near her son Aijaz (26) who has been fired in his eyes. Taking his unrecognisable head in her lap and listening to his groans she encourages him to hold his breath till she finds a way, and yells for help, “oh my neighbours. Wont you still come out. They killed my one more son today.”they all listen, in fact watch,but none dares to come out. With tears rolling effortlessly, she takes off her khasa( head cloth), puts it on Aijaz’s face, crying, collapsing and caressing her son like never before.
More than hour passes, Hajira’s attempts do not stop but Aijaz’s breath does. Hajira listens silence, stands up, screaming, makes rounds around her sons body in madness,“she was like meacth(insane), she ran around his body for several minutes, barefooted, bareheaded, i thought she turned mad,” says the eye witness, 78 year old Abdul Rehman, a neighbour who was watching from balcony.
Many rounds of bullets are fired at the place from the nearby bunker to silence Hajira’s wails but the wails grew louder. And louder.
Exhausted from the unanswered yells Hajira moves toward her house to share the grief with her injured husband. Mahajan was no more lying on the threshold. The blood stains too were not signifying further tragedy. And it was he whom Hajira heard crying for help. So he could be enough fine to share her grief with. With all these thoughts going in her mind She opens the door of her house, only to find him dead-unattended.
Ali Mohammad Mahajan a renowned calligrapher of valley was 68 working with Hamadard and Daily Aftab. In his house at Brari pora, he lived with his wife Hajira and two sons. His elder son, Mohammad Amin Mahajan, an engineer was married to Sakeena with two children foziya and Tanveer. Aijaz, his unmarried son was doing business. Mahajans two daughters Firdousa and rifat were already married.
On 21 May 1990, Mohammad Amin went to offer funeral prayers of his friends daughter at zainakadal and while returning home got killed when security forces opened fire on Mirwaiz Farooq’s funeral procession. That time Foziya was in 8th and tanveer in 2nd standard. The same day, Amins uncle Ghulam Mohi-ud-din mahajan died of shock.
That was the first jolt to the family of Mahajan who continued to work at the age of 68 to feed his sons widow and two orphans, “he never cried before his children but he was broken within. On the first eid after our brothers death he bought new clothes for all. I asked him what has he brought in the bag he was hiding from all. I snatched it from him and saw a velvety cloth. He said it is the clothes for my son. Wont he celebrate eid,”recalls Mahajan’s daughter Firdousa in tears.
However the older days seemed to be back when Aijaz started his business and the family saw a girl for him, “i and hajira went to market and purchased gold for the bride. He was getting engaged next week,” says Syeda, Aijaz’s aunt. But then the situation had to change again-this time for worst.
On 29 September 1992 morning, a crackdown announcement was heard in a nearby area Tarabal and Mahajan decided to stay indoor and instructed the same to Aijaz. Around 2pm after lunch Aijaz went upstairs to clean his room in second floor. In the top floor Mahajan went back to his calligraphy work in the room facing the street. Hajira and sakeena were busy in kitchen with Foziya studying in her room.
It was afternoon when crackdown was over and people were ordered to return to their homes. As soon as the military men got into vehicle for leaving the spot, militants opened fire agitating the forces who started beating people after dragging them from their homes.
Mahajan, who watched people being dragged took it as a crackdown and decided to come out with his son to avoid any beating and humiliation .Aijaz wasn't finished with his work.the plate of peeled apples that hajira had brought an hour before was still untouched. Mahajan went downstairs and Aijaz followed the same.The duo were about to leave their home when Mahajan went back to return keys to Hajira she might need during search operation.
By the time Aijaz moved out. “First he was beaten and then they fired him in his eye and he fell. When Mahajan Sahab opened the door he saw his son lying down. He turned back and screamed come out they killed our Nann Seab(his nickname)too, but then he too was fired in his head and he fell down on the door. His cap fell from his head,” recalls Abdul Rehmaan. “such a humble human being he was.”
More than 2 hours passed and Aijaz was still lying there. Sakeena and foziya crying over Mahajans body with Hajira making busy rounds of mourning between two bodies-lying some metres away from one another.
When the dusk fell the bodies were taken to police control room, “it was around 9pm and some neighbour called me and i was taken there in the police vehicle.when i reached i saw people taking out their dead bodies from the same vehicle. Then it was karbala-all dark-my mother had tear off her clothes, their bodies were kept in mosque.i don't remember after that,” recalls firdousa.
Mahajan had been the favourite calligrapher of eminent poets and writers like Ghulam Nabi Khayal and Shafi Shaida. He had lost his job in Radio Kashmir during Bakhshi’s regime over a program that was against the taste of the ruling government. Soon,Mahajan had joined Hamdard and later Daily Aftab. He also owned a bookshop-M.B booksellers in downtown area.
The tragedy left the three women alone in their house.Firdousa, and her husband Mohammad Ashraf khan who was also brother of sakeena shifted to Mahajan’s house along with their three daughters, “nothing remained like before, my mother was yet another corpse, unreactive and numb.we all were pretending to be happy for one another but happiness was long gone now,” firdousa says.
Firdousa’s family spent three years in Mahajans house till her health deteriorated and her husband decided to shift to their own house and they left for never to return back. Hajira didn't visit the house during her 8 year long stay at her daughters house till her body was brought in 2001 for the last rites and her funeral was taken out from there.
After hajira’s death the house was sold to some neighbour along with the belongings of the family. Malaysia.“we didn't took out a single belonging from that house except the photo albums that we burn down later. Those albums would scratch the wounds. We never look at the house when we pass by that road.what is the fun of recalling those days when they will not return,” says Sakeena.
Sakeena lives with tanveer in a house that her brothers constructed for her in sadrabal area. Tanveer some years back got job under SRO 43. Foziya has been married in Malaysia.
After Amin’s death Hajira would often cry and say that there can be nothing more tragic than his death. She didn't know there was. That will make her a corpse, “My mother left silently.she was numb. I don't know what was going on within her. She never complained after that-went where ever she was taken. I don't know if she needed anything. May be she wanted to cry but could not pour out her heart in her daughters house.”firdousa says.
“that is what pains me more. And this pain is different-as if someone pours hot oil in your chest.”