Memories from childhood

We share here a poem written by him, based on his childhood growing up near the Line of Control (LOC) in the decade of 1990s, in one of the most conflict ridden borders of the world in Poonch district, J&K, India.

Life at LOC

Hundreds of miles away I still remember
The dark nights illumined by search lights in the sky
Probing for militants crossing border on the sly
Huddled with families in underground bunkers
Sounds of our pounding hearts competing with shattering windowpanes
Running to see the razed houses by the first rays of the sun
Counting the number of injured and neighbors who had been
Not by horror but by routine
I still remember
The news of children exploded in minefields
Of grazing-cum-playgrounds now turned graveyards
Of school grounds bearing tombs of students
Remainders of young lives nipped away in impudence
A punishment for playing during unprovoked crossfire
A punishment for having born near cross border wire
I still remember
The news of missing fathers and sons
Either killed by militants or taken for torturous enquiries by armed combatants
Entire villages herded intermittently to migration camps
Days passed in despair and hopes of returning home
Homes, fields & schools occupied or destroyed in ceaseless shelling
I still remember
The quinquennial rituals guided by party loyalties of family elders
But everyday lives dependent on Army – the destroyer and the savior
For lack of alternative in employment, security and infrastructure
Ours are the lives lived in continual neglect
Of indifferent bureaucracy and power-hungry politicians
Lives away from modernity caught in time warp
Caught in a vicious cycle of marginalization and abandonment
Ours are the voices silenced from mainstream media
From the debates and discussions of national intelligentsia
I still remember and will always remember
The silenced life of LOC.

 

 

This poem was first published in the e-Journal Modern Research Studies, Vol 2 Issue 1 (March 2015) (http://www.modernresearch.in/archive/vol02-issue01). The cross border firing had stopped following the 2003 ceasefire agreed between Indo-Pak nations but have resumed with higher intensity in the last few years. For the recent news on ceasefire violations, see DailyExcelsior Rising Kashmir. 

 

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