Aching and Battered Women of Kashmir
Sumera B. Reshi
According to Daina Mankin Phelps, author of “A Mother’s Side of War”, “For every wounded warrior, there is a multitude of family, friends, and communities who are forever changed”. However, in Kashmir, the life of a mother has not only changed but ruined completely due to the armed conflict. Since 1989 when the armed conflict broken in Kashmir followed by a vicious circle of draconian laws, brutal counterinsurgency, lack of democratic procedures, massive and unimaginable devastation in terms of human resource and economic development. Nonetheless, in all, the foremost victim of Indian illegal occupation and conflict are Kashmiri women who have become prey to rapes, abduction, widowhood et al.
This is not the end of the story, the abrupt disappearances of youth by Indian army have added another dimension to woman’s miseries. The mental well-being of Kashmiri women has risen in these years. According to human rights groups, around 8000 women are suffering from mental trauma because of enforced disappearances, a strategy employed by so-called security forces and protected by the government with the help of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) Disturbed Areas Act (DAA), Public Safety Act (PSA) and several laws that gives impunities to Indian security personnel to crush the genuine uprising in Kashmir.
Women of all age groups have become the first victim of causality. Hajira Begum, a woman in her last phase of life can’t hide her anguish and angst. Her wrinkled face, sunken eyes flooded with tears, searching for her three young sons who vanished in the thin air of conflict as if they were never borne as if they never existed on this side of the globe as if she never fed them as if she waited for them to blossom or thrive in this mortal world. Every morning brings a fresh pain along when she opens a window to peep through or open the door to welcome her martyred sons. But none knocks at her door, no one calls her mother. The wait has become too long yet the ray of hope hasn’t penetrated her lonely heart and how can it be because her sons are no more alive.
During the past four decades, Kashmir hasn’t grown economically, however, we have a crop of orphans and half-orphans, widows and half widows. These women haven’t accepted that their loved ones are gone forever and shall never come back, they still wait for a miracle or a yell. Almost in every household in Kashmir, one can hear silent sops, sighs and cries and the foremost a heartbroken mother, a hopeless wife, a worried daughter and a disconsolate sister. Yet the world and the UN is in deep slumber. None tables their issues, no one cares for their plight because that is Kashmir. Will any care for these silent sops, sunken eyes and heartbroken women of Kashmir?