Survival he may look silent and weak
Survival was more important thanresistance as the narrator became the reluctantcollaborator. Survival is a natural andbiological impulse of every living being. Almostevery activity of living beings isbiologically calculated for survival and evolution of life.Struggle for survival is universal buthumanity is unique as it strives beyond merephysical existence. Struggle for survivalsharpens human intellect and leads to furtherinvention of various strategies forsurvival. A survivor is a determined and committedself to thwart any threat to his life anddignity.
An elevated notion of identity andmorality busts a survivor to fight thedebilitating and destructive forces. A survivor doesnot mean a superman or heroic warrior; hemay look silent and weak from outside but hekeeps on employing various strategiesagainst the anti-life surrounding without losing hisidentity and human character. During hisfirst visit down in the valley, he is horrified atthe prospect of his job. The area is fullof dead bodies, both intact and dismembered.These bodies; some huddled together andothers forlorn are in various stages of theirdecay and are surrounded by yellowflowers. The dreadful sight of the dead bodies makeshim cry and he wants someone to give aproper funeral to these rotting corpses.
Thedescription of protagonist’s visit to thevalley of corpses is written in most harrowing andhaunting prose.I look at the few corpses and amimmediately horrified at theprospects of what my first ever jobentails. There are bare wounds, holesdark and visceral, and limbless, armless,even headless, torsos. . .
. Thereare erstwhile legs and arms and backbonesand ribcages surrounded bysparkling swathes of yellow created by thethousands and thousands offlowers all across the valley. . .It makes me cry, it makes me want to runaway, to disappear.
. . .
And these people die, after all. Someonehas to pay visit, pay respect—offera secret fateha. (page 7-11)While at his frightening work involvingdismembered corpses, his thoughts vacillatebetween macabre present and idyllic past.
After an evening consorting with the bodies in’no man’s land, the narrator while pickinghis way back to home is reminded of his past.His past consisted of relatively peacefultime preceding the militancy. The protagonistrevisits his happy childhood, where hespent an enjoyable childhood with his four closefriends; Hussain, Gul, Mohammed and Ashfaqforming famous five. Growing up with hisfriends in the village he used to playcricket on lush green fields, swim in fresh watersand listen to the Bollywood songs sung byhis closest friend, Hussain. They all used toloiter the village streets without caringfor anyone in the world. They are shown spendingtheir childhood among the idyllic capes ofsnow clad mountains, babbling brooks, blueskies, greener meadows, etc. But soontheir beautiful and peaceful world was turnedupside down with the stirrings ofinsurgency in Kashmir.
Their happiness vanished, whenmilitancy in Kashmir found its way totheir village. The stories about how young menwronged by the defense authority cross theborder to get training and return as freedomfighters to avenge upon India reachedtheir village. The whole village resonated with thestories of the brutalities of defenseauthorities across the whole Kashmir. There isdescription about a village, Poshpur whereall boys from the village disappeared andcrossed the border to get armed training:I’d heard stories of how hundreds of youngmen— excited, idealisticteenagers; hurt, angry boys wronged bypolice or army action; vengefulbrothers with raped sisters and mothers athome; .
. . had been leavinghome everywhere and joining the Movementby walking the perilous walkacross the border to receive arms andtraining and return as militants, asfreedom fighters. . . . All the boys fromPoshpur are gone, gone, no oneleft in the village, it’s empty now, all empty!It’s all happening, dear,happening everywhere.
(24).The major reason to cross the Line ofControl of teenagers to get arm and become the freedom fighters to fight withIndian forces for revenant of their brutalities. Kashmiris are enduring tyrony ofIndian authorities for their survival at all forms. Indian forces have committedmany human rights abuses and acts of terror against Kashmiri civilianpopulation including extrajudicial killing, rape, torture and enforced disappearances.
With this thedistant cries of Azadi (freedom movement) started echoing in thissecluded region,Nowgam. These things had great impact on the psyche of young boysand they startedcrossing the border into Pakistan for armed training imparted by variousmilitantorganizations. Narrator’s friends were no exception, they too lured by freedommovement crossedthe Line of Control without informing him. He could not come to theterm with thesudden disappearance of the group of his childhood friends smuggledacross the borderto militant’s training camp. The first to disappear among them wasHussain. Hissudden departure came as a jolt to him. Missing and worrying constantlyabout his friend,he could not be at peace with everyone’s reconciliation of Hussain’scrossing theborder.
He could not understand his motives for crossing over into AzadKashmir and longedfor his resumption of their bond. Since Hussain was a kind of personwho could not beswayed easily, this made him believe that there was something elsebehind his belovedfriend’s disappearance:While everyoneseemed sort of reconciled to Hussain’s going across theborder, and manyeven admired him for being the first one from thevillage, I justcouldn’t be at peace with it. . .
. What made him „join? , howhad it all comeabout, who was behind it? Although he could be somewhatimpressionable attimes, he wasn’t someone swayed so easily. (57)He was driven bythe desire to find out, one way or another to get informationabout Hussain. Thefirst person he sought help to know about Hussain is Gul. Both Guland Hussain usedto go home together in the evening after all friends? usual huddle in thestreet beforeparting. At Gul’s place narrator came to know that there were peopleresiding in themountains who helped young boys in crossing Line of Control. Thesepeople acted asguides since they knew the mountainous routes very well.
Gul came toknow about a man,Shaban Khatana whose son, Rehman helped young boys to crossborder. After Hussaindisappearance others teenagers Gul, Muhammad and Ashfaq also follow him. Thedevastation that befell village after their departure was like a nightm