------- and what else can I do to express my resistance against oppression, writes Imran Muhammad Gazi an MBA student.
I have been shot in the ribs. I am on a stretcher in an emergency ward of a city hospital. Who am I? I am a stone pelter from a busy commercial area of Srinagar. This is my comprehensive introduction, no need to have a name, surname, qualification and profession. Just one word sums up my personality” Stone Pelter”. I am not that educated but some of my educated peers tell me I have always been in news right from 1931. You will find me everywhere, i have stood the test of time, leaders have changed slogans have changed but I have not. Yes there was a time when I was sidelined, and gun wielding elders occupied the centre stage.
You can find me on any street of urban Kashmir, although I have some favourite spots, I love jamia Masjid and Maisuma, old town Varmul, Sopur, and Malakhnag Islamabad to name a few. You can easily recognize me as I am the best dressed youth of my area, trendy jeans, smart sports shoe, whacky jacket and few fashion accessories, they say I buy them from the money I get for stone pelting. My income is being discussed everywhere and there is no unanimity on that it varies from 100 to2500,at times I am afraid that I may be brought under income tax net. My attire has little to do with fashion, and more with the nature of my job, I am supposed to be athletic and nimble footed and I have to mingle with the crowds, hence my attire. Ideal day at work is thrilling and exciting, the suspense, the drama, the surge and the chase is right out of 80s blockbuster Hindi cinema.
Why do I pelt stones, this thought had never crossed my mind, I just instinctively new when I had to don the armour and start the battle. It was only after Ragda 2008, I heard some whispers, hushed tones, and few glances of suspicion on the street. I am street smart, I realized I am not the darling of the masses anymore, people who fed me with (Teher) even in the midst of the battle, now hated me. I should have seen this coming, it all started with the fatherly police chief Asif Mujtaba, quoting Hadith against stone pelting, learned man he is, after securing our (duniyah) worldly life, he immediately focused his attention to secure our (akhirat) life here after. We miss him; he was our real benefactor, trying to ensure us peace in this world as well as other world.
A (molvi saheb) priest who calls himself a Puritan, and who lead many processions in Ragda2008, seconded the view and said the hadith is from Bukhari shareef, it was a bolt from the blue (nabi trath) for me, same molvi used to quote Bukhari shareef in 1990s and would read out from Babul jihad (Chapter on jihad) why this hadith was never read to us until now. What had changed, Bukhari Shareef or Molvi Sahib, it was for the first time and not the last time that I have wept, yes warm tears flowed not from my eyes but the stone cold heart of a stone pelter. I wiped my tears, with my rough hands and yes mourning the death of conscience of our Ulema I did what I knew best, yes I pelted stones mocking at the simplicity of the molvi sahib.
A columnist picked up the thread from were the molvi left, writing smoothly with his “LEFT HAND “. He mocked at my lack of education, it is easy to doge the bullet than a writer’s pen I was pinned to the ground, argument lost. There is a saying in Kashmiri (Asoolus kyah kari ghulam rasool).I don’t know the English meaning of this as I am a petty stone pelter. Agreed I am not educated, but my journo brother is, if he is writing today it is because of me who is fighting in the street for the very honour he is trying to defend sitting in his study with a laptop on the table and Coffee Mug in his hand. His colleague who shot frames was shot in broad daylight; he could not get an FIR registered. I did what I knew best, and yes I pelted stones in protest against this cowardice of the police. Street is my school, and this is what I have been taught. Get an FIR registered for your colleague with your university degree in hand and we will talk my brother. Intelligentsia scorn me, to them I am a ruffian, and they refer to me as the lumpen proletariat. They are all learned scholars, poets, linguists, writers; they are mirror of our society.
Enough of arguments, after all I am a stone pelter I can not win an argument with you, for you are learned men. It is clear to me my countrymen that I am an impediment to your progress, it pains me, I don’t want you to be backward, I want you to prosper. What then is the solution? I can not stoop to your level nor can you rise to my level. Don’t you worry I have a solution. Let there be a role reversal for a day, you be the stone pelters and we the perennial stone pelters the target. I will gather all my friends at Eidgah and you stone us to death, we will take all your stones with a smile on our lips and a tear in our eyes, smile we will for your prosperity and tears will roll, for we won’t be there to see the smile on your lips when you achieve your prosperity. Having stoned us don’t you think you won, it is we who have won for once from masters of inaction you have become men of action, and did not we pelt stones all our lives just to make
jis khak Ke Zameer Main ho Atish Chinar
Mumkin Naheen Ki Sard Ho Woh khake Arjmund.
Is it true my country………….
(Imran Muhammad Gazi is an MBA Pass-out Kashmir University. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)