Uncertainty thy name is Kashmir

Srinagar: Subah hoti hai shaam hoti hai zindagi yuunhi tamaam hoti hai, answers 55-year-old Abdullah, a resident of Bemina, Srinagar on asking how life moves on nowadays in the valley. The sudden speed with which Article 370 that granted J&K special status was revoked has left the valleyites traumatized with only one question on everyone’s lips: “When is this uncertainty going to end?” While the question stays the same, a myriad of answers add to the prevailing chaos and confusion.

A small gathering of middle-aged men waiting for the prayer outside the mosque in Bemina is a microcosm of this uncertainty.

 

Asked what you think about the prevailing situation, Abdullah, the most vocal person in the group says, “This is going to be the last time the valley will ever witness a long haul of shutdowns. They have already tinkered with the special status. What is left now? Our identity is gone. What should we protest for in the future? This has to be the final nail in the coffin.”

The other men surrounding Abdullah agree in unison. Seconding him, Nazir Ahmad, a businessman by profession says, “I think this has to do with the Indo-Pak war which was brewing from quite some time. Now the two countries have all the possible reasons to wage war against each other. Let’s brace up for something worse.”

Nazir says: “The US president talks of mediation but it never happens. He changes statements at the drop of the hat. I see him saying one thing today and completely opposite the next day. Whom should we trust?”

Rafiq Ahmad, an employee of J&K Bank chips in, “I fear for my job. The bank is already in dire straits. We might be integrated with the Punjab National Bank soon and the salary will directly come from the centre. The salary is definitely going to see a slump instead of hike.”

Manzoor Ahmad, the most patient listener clears his throat to say something, “I don’t think the central government has any concrete strategy in mind about the restoration of normalcy. This will stretch for a longer time than our expectations. They have stuck to the wait and watch formula,” he utters slowly.

He adds, “Whatever be the case, I will not let my young sons go to college even if they issue orders related to reopening of educational institutions. I heard that in our area, scores of youngsters were randomly detained just because they were spotted on roads.”

With this the call to evening prayer is announced and Abdullah ends the conversation on a positive note, “Pashrviv Khudayas (Lets hand over our affairs to God).”

Note: Names in the story have been changed on request.

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About the Author

When the world fails to make sense, Hirra Azmat seeks solace in words. Both worlds, literary and the physical lend color to her journalism.

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