In a region mired in conflict, it takes all the more courage, and perseverance to be the voice of the voiceless and to separate facts from propaganda. Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

The birds always fly

My grave was left open after a long time. I was taken out of it and lifted into the world but for a short period. I was also told that no human could see me. However, the animals and birds could look at me and talk to me. I was also told that I would know their languages too.
My feet took me towards an oasis. I also came across a farm in my journey. It was totally desolated. Some old date trees were erected there. I remembered that I used to play with the squirrels in the same farm in my childhood. I knew whose farms these were, and Allah knew who they belonged to too. I stepped forward and saw four or five children playing and chatting with one another. “When I grow big, I will become a rebel,” one of them said. It was a new word for me. I wanted to ask him what the word ‘rebel’ meant, but I realized that they would neither be able to see me nor listen to me. All in vain, I started moving further ahead. I came upon a flag stuck on a stem of a date tree. I went nearer to the flag and fixed it. I looked around the deserted oasis, and at that very point heard a bird asking me, “Sir why are you so surprised and astonished?” I replied, “Why is this oasis so desolate? Where did the eloquent nightingales and pigeons go?” The bird answered, “Now a days, scavengers have captured this oasis and…” I stopped the bird and said, “What kind of a flag is that and who attached it to the stem?” The bird responded, “Bejjar’s grandson has erected this flag here and this is the sign of rebels.” Again the same word ‘rebel’ came in front of me, the one the child had used with his friends. “Rebellion! What is rebellion?” “Rebels are those who are fighting for their rights and freedom,” he replied.
We both kept our silence as sounds of gunfire startled me from nowhere. The bird fell to the ground. ‘Bury me under the shadow of the flag under the stem,’ he said
“With whom?”
“With those who had seized the oasis.”
“Where will Bejjar’s grandson be now?”
“Ever since the time he erected this flag, he has been off to find the rebels to ask for their forgiveness.” I got confused. The bird continued, “Once he tore a rebel’s picture into pieces. This happened during a conversation where his friend spoke against their religion by accident. To make his friend understand how he felt, Bejjar’s grandson, in anger, tore the picture of a rebel that his friend praised. But soon after, he regretted his actions. He realised that he could have slapped his friend instead, in spite of tearing the picture of the rebel he so likely admired. Since then, along with a torn piece of the picture, he was in search of his friend to say sorry to him. And he promised never to return back until he wasn’t forgiven. Sir, he is mad.” A new word grew across me once again, ‘mad’. “Sir, I am the guardian of this oasis unless he doesn’t come back,” the bird said. There was a huge love for rebels in the hearts of birds and people, I thought to myself. It was not possible to subjugate them. The bird asked, “Sir, you inquired about the eloquent pigeons and nightingales!” I replied with a yes. “Sir, from those some were killed and some turned into rebels. And some are with the scavengers, showing their eloquence to them. I am sitting here because I am beyond death but our rebels have weakened the enemies. Now a days, the rebels are in full power,” he responded. The bird was very happy for that. He also said that since the enemies had started abducting and killing the poor residents, the protectors of the flag were increasing. We both kept our silence as sounds of gunfire startled me from nowhere. The bird fell down to the ground. Before giving up on his life, he said, “Bury me under the shadow of the flag under the stem.” I buried him there and started moving away. After I passed the area with a few steps, I turned back and saw another bird sitting on the stem as a guardian.