In the summer of 2020, an Indian journalist went to cover ‘normalcy’ in occupied Kashmir and returned with a lasting interaction with a girl named Nafeesa, giving him sleepless nights.
WHEN the European Union delegates arrived in Kashmir Valley earlier this year to gauge the situation by having a ‘symbolic’ Shikara ride in the iconic Dal Lake, a journalist accompanying them walked through the lanes of Srinagar to meet one of his college-mates, Bilal Ahmed Dar, at the latter’s residence.
While returning from Dar’s home, Arvind Mishra, working with the Economic Times, heard a voice coming from inside the house.
The voice was of Dar’s cousin Nafeesa Umar.
Nafeesa’s words forced Mishra to think of the conversation he had with her for several nights.
The way Nafeesa expressed her agony, in spite of the paucity of time, deeply unsettled the scribe.
Mishra has now come up with a short film called, ‘Kya Kashmir Ki Nafeesa Ki Dua Qubool Ho Gayi’ (Has Nafeesa’s wish been fulfilled), to detail the conversation with his friend’s cousin.
Living in a curfew zone, Nafeesa says in a sad voice, “A place where curfew is imposed for the last seven months, one cannot even peep out of the window, so forget about going out.”
The Internet was shut for several months in the region. Even landline services were down for several days.
“Everything is shut including schools and offices. How will people survive, what will happen to the sick people?,” Nafeesa asks.
“No one is there to feel for us.”
At a time when many Kashmiris are reeling under lockdown depression, disheartened Nafeesa exclaims, “There is no limit to the oppression we are facing and nobody cares.”
To Nafeesa, everyone living outside Kashmir is like an onlooker.
“We have suffered a lot,” adds Nafeesa, “and are still suffering.”
The thing which pained Nafeesa the most is the casual attitude of people living outside Kashmir toward the situation.
“The thing which pains me most is when someone sitting in peace says, ‘Kashmiris deserve this’,” she continued.
Nafeesa said, she never wished misfortune for anyone, but her sole wish to her Almighty is to cause something which locks people inside their homes and forces them to think what’s happening to an ordinary Kashmiri.
And now when the entire world is under a lockdown, Nafeesa’s wish apparently has been fulfilled.
While penning down his thoughts, Mishra vividly remembers each and every word Nafeesa said during the conversation he had with her.
The conversation becomes more relevant as the desperation for coming out of their home is pouring out of every ordinary Indian’s soul.
During the largest lockdown in the history of mankind, Nafeesa’s words still echo in every household where people justified the curfews imposed in Kashmir, while sitting in their lavishing living rooms. ~ Mrinal Pathak