Updated: Apr 24, 2021
This recorded log from diary of a company commander of Rashtriya Rifles serving in Kashmir during year 2019-2020 talks of the elephant in the room and faces the tough questions. Saying that, Kashmiris are on which side ? Lets find out ...
Hum kya chahte? Azadi!
Zara zor se bolo – Azadi
Hai hak hamara – Azadi!
Hum chheen ke lenge – Azadi!
Khushboo wali – Azadi!
Hai jaan se pyari – Azadi!
Aye moula dede – Azadi
Shodah ke Sadkey – azadi
Agar Shaheed huwa toh, mera kafan pe likhna – Azadi
Aayee, Aayee – Azaadi!
The slogans kept playing in my head over and over again even after I had gone to bed. It is my first posting in the valley and I had barely finished one month of my tenure as a Company Commander in the RR Battalion. I had seen people on various News Channels and YouTube videos chanting the slogans for Azadi, but it was my first time experiencing the same in reality.
What is Azadi?? And why is it that their chants troubled me so much ??
I spent my whole night contemplating about the same. If I kept aside my feelings attached with the uniform and only thought as a human being, what these people are asking is a basic fundamental right for everyone and everyone should be able to exercise it.
We are serving here, amidst such weather conditions, staying away from our families for months, forgetting our own problems at home and still we are touted as the oppressor?? What for??
These were the doubts that kept plaguing me throughout the night. I woke up feeling groggy and disoriented and went through my daily routine activities in a haze. In the evening I went to the wedding of a local named Azad who had a small shop near my COB and had become a good friend in a short time. As I sat with other guests the thoughts of the previous day were still lingering in my mind.
“Kya hua beta aaj kuch jyada hi khamosh lag rahe ho??” asked Mr Nabi Lone, who was
the grandfather of Azad.
“Baba aapne bhi dekha ki kal yahan kai ladke azaadi ke naare laga rahe the, asal me in
logon ko chahiye kya??”
”Jaane do beta, bacche hain wo abhi”
“Par mai sach me janna chahta hoon ki Kashmir ke liye azadi ka matlab kya hai?” I persisted.
“Beta ye log nadaan hain, azaadi ka sahi matlab nahi jaante. Meri umar ab 70 saal ho gayi hai, maine Kashmir ko lagbhag Hindustan ki Azadi se hi dekha hai. Ek samay tha jab Kashmir ko duniya ki jannat kaha jaata tha. Door daraj se log ghumne ke liye Kashmir aate the. Lagbhag har picture ki shooting Kashmir me hoti thi. Hum log kahin bhi aa jaa sakte the. Kuch bhi kaam kar sakte the. Mai bhi Dal jheel me shikara chalata tha aur achhe paise kamakar apne ghar bhejta tha. Phir 90 ka daur aaya”
he paused, taking a deep breath and his eyes moistening. I waited politely for him to continue.
“Pehle pehle hume laga ki ye hamare liye farishte ki tarah hain, ye hum logon ko azaadi dilwayenge” he continued.
“Jaise jaise kuch saal bitte gye hamara dhanda band ho gya, kyonki logon ne Kashmir aana band kar diya. Hum logon ko Srinagar chhod kar waapis yahan aana pada. Par tab bhi hum is ummeed mein the ki ye log hume azaadi dilwayenge."
Fir ek din mera bada beta Tahir, Azad ka walid apni biwi aur ek saal ke bacche ko ghar par
chhod kar chala gya, kuch samay baad hume pata chala ki woh tanzeem me shaamil ho gya hai”
he paused to take a sip from the glass of water placed next to him.
He continued after sometime.
“Tahir ke jaane se jaise ghar me ek matam sa chha gya, ab tak militancy ke baare me humne sirf suna tha, par ab ye hamari zindagi ka hissa ban chuki thi. Azad jab humse poochta tha ki - Abbu kab aayenge? toh hamare muh band ho jaate aur aankhein jhuk jaati thi”
Tahir ki maa din raat namaaz me dua karti thi wo ghar waapis aa jaye. Wo hamesha mujhse kehti thi “Mujhe azadi nahi chahiye, mujhe bas mera ladka chahiye”, par uski ye hasrat adhoori hi reh gyi. Uske ek saal baad hume khabar mili ki Tahir fauj ke saath golibari me mara gya.
I was afraid that this conversation was turning the celebratory atmosphere in the house to a somber one, but at the same time I was curious to know more.
Humse hamari azadi chinne waala aur koi nhi balki ye dehshatgard hi hain. Agar Kashmir ko kisi se azaadi chahiye to wo hai in dehshatgardon se taaki hum azaad ho sakein apni marzi ka kaam karne ke liye. Apni marzi se kahin bhi ghumne ke liye, aur sabse zaroori hum azaad ho sakein apni jawan auladon ki kabr par mitti daalne se.
There were tears flowing out his eyes, perhaps to wash away his sorrows. However, to me it felt that it was washing away all my self doubts and filling me with fresh determination to stay true to my duty and serve honestly so that I can help others like Mr Nabi Lone to get the azadi, they dream of.