March 31, 2008


Place: Lolab, North Kashmir.
Time: A moonlit mid-summers night.


A Voice from somewhere: Ages have passed since my first step north-ward, these dust-ridden furrows on my face have a matchless acquaintance with the stars, that shine brighter in my company; for always have I taken them along, even when the summer suns scared them away; so many deserts have I crossed and countless oceans sailed through, and they always ushered me to easy milestones but never misled me into fatal longitudes, thus how invincible is their guidance.

An old man (raises his voice in retort):

In this fretful darkness who else can console this sleepless sky, but a wanderer on heavens sufferance. I too have trotted but south-ward, for how long I don’t remember but for these cankerous feet; our heads are grey as I divine, might be that our tales are equally similar; so come lets halt a little while near that mound-of-a-rock, as some well-inhabited city seems to fall by.

(The ruffled sound of wild-grass brings them closer and the two shadows raise hands in ceremony)

The old man:

Now that this rock has unfolded its carpets of moss to shelter us, what an occasion I find to hear about you and your country!

The wanderer:

My life is such a pitiable mishap. I am the spirit of an ancient hermit who came to threaten the gods with his occult powers, and as a curse, the insecure gods caged his soul in the body of a north-ward wanderer and commanded it to be lost in between the poles. Thus for centuries I have been reaching nowhere, though countless civilizations were born and replaced under my feet. But one day when I know the whereabouts of a disguised saint, I shall be united with my own flesh and this unyielding journey coming to a finish. My accidental accomplice, why don’t you also confide in me, what brought you to this unexpected rendezvous?

The old man (joy!):

My friend. Who shall commit to wander if he is not made to do so? I am from a royal descent but by a similar prejudice condemned to wilderness, till one day ,I found someone "whose fate dragged in a direction opposite to mine”, and here I met you, the one who can return me my lost youth and regency..(Surprised but sparkling eyes)

The wanderer:

We are all lost in the search of our own identities; I am not alone my friend. Every one of us seems to be living as an impersonator, devoid of his face or bereft of his soul. But how can there be no condition for your freedom as the gods loathe our high spirits and sport when the obstacles trip us down?

The old man:

This world is too busy to repeal the conditions, and thus I have to answer with utmost sincerity, three questions that naturally come to your mind right now, and moment I do it, I shall complete my sentence.

The wanderer:

My dear friend, the questions come naturally to all of us, but I wish the answers came the same way. But I feel, (pauses and looks around), firstly I must ask you which strange city is this nearby whose lights are searching the sky but the people and the hutments are smudged with darkness?

The old man (sad):

This is a city of odds, where people have the erroneous belief that their miseries descend from above, so their glaring search-lights shine upward, as no one ever taught them to peek into their own unlit lives where laid the sodden seeds of their suffering.

The wanderer:

Looks that this city is teeming with people, for its colonies have burst beyond its boundaries, but there must be no true leaders to guide or brave men to guard them. But has this city lost its civility as well, lest in such a dreadful night, why are these women and children being trafficked away and how could these raves be their own men? see their language is one, their grandparents must also be one for how alike are they in their ways of behavior, but dear companion, my heart bleeds with their screams, just tell me who are these wailing women and children?

The old man (sighs):

Have you never seen before a brother shedding the blood of his own sibling, for wealth and women; but here no disputes of land fuelled this animosity nor did the insincere words of cunning women incite them to unsheathe their swords; but they were two brothers, who worshipped the same god and ate from the same earthen bowl, till one chose to tie a black-thread on his right-wrist, out of faith or fashion, I am not sure which one, but the other did not. Their idleness and their astounding fertility saw them grow in numbers and soon they became two families and then two communities similar by all respects except the custom of that black lace; but the boundless love kept their herds together; a shared past vouched for a wholesome future and then suddenly as if by a hideous conspiracy, the love turned into hostility of equal magnitude and thus erupted an era of violence and bloodshed. Every night they evict their women and children away from their safe motherland into exile, and slay them without charges leveled and the guilt proved. It is the pain of homelessness they are departing with but how savage are those swords that cease to melt, in the manner their tragedy has wrecked your and mine heart. They shall seek refuge somewhere but still die of hunger or bad weather, though after falling ill, for here, bullets never let them fall ill and kill them at the zenith of a healthy youth.

Pause. My friend, tell me what is the last question that strikes your mind, for I want to answer it before taking my next breath even-how close am I to where it took me centuries of struggle to reach! And how anxious am I at the finish, though?

The wanderer:

Those sobbing children broke my heart asunder, how hard is it to survive a forced bondage, for someone’s mistaken sense of freedom, and I am reminded of my own lost privileges and the travails of trodden distance and nothing else tugs my mind but the knowledge of that disguised saint who can relieve me from this shameful redundancy. Tell me where is he?

The old man (angry):

A while back we met by chance and you chose to be my savior that too without a condition, but now, when I am just a whisper away from my release, how vainly has you come to bargain? By asking from me the whereabouts of that saint, you wish to make me a race-horse and win for your own selfish purpose? You have really seen the world and wiped its all vice and avarice with your ragged sleeve.

The wanderer:

No. We old star-gazers are nonetheless both star-crossed you remember, so along the road to your freedom, I just found the lead to mine, thus we both shall beat the unstoppable and return to the grandeur of our past. The angels have blundered in keeping delicate interconnections between our lives that help us to group against them. So you must not decline to answer lest both of us get spun in the wheel of everlasting misery.

The old man:

By hearsay I have known that such a disguised saint lives among the haunted hillocks of that city that I told you about, but you can not risk to go in his search as the road is exquisitely perilous and the city-gate is guarded by a rein less beast.

But then, every year in the month of January and August the saint returns to this rock as his movements get restricted due to curbs and curfew there, and whole night, in the company of glow-worms he writes obituaries to those killed and disappeared and sends blessings to them; see his holy foot-print inscribed on this stone,(they both feel for it with their hands.) and you rub your forehead over it, so that if your wander-lust wanes a little, you shall wait for his retreat.

(The wanderer puts his head on the foot impression and a feeling of quietness prevails within him.)

(The old man perceives a sudden quiver of transformation within him and he stands up in gratitude, expressing joy)

The wanderer:

(Raising his head) I came to change myself for good but saw the world changed for the worst; that fated city needs the Saint more than I need him, so let him heal their wounds first and bestow them with peace and wisdom. I can wait for ages now, my friend, anchored to this sacred impression for my bondage is too insignificant for the suffering of that people.

The old man:

Good bye, what a seeker I met in you, and walks away free.

The wanderer:

Good bye, what a leader I met in you and bows to him.

By Shah Faisal


March 20, 2008

Kashmiri Hindus (Pandits) are in exile since early 1990 after Islamic religious fundamentalists in the valley of Kashmir took to armed subversion and terrorism and drove them out of their centuries old habitat.
  • Today, Kashmir is on the brink of being separated from India. It is the beginning of a comprehensive plan to bring about the total disintegration of India - a fact not realized by most of the Indians.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits who were forced to leave their sacred land because of the war waged by Islamic terrorists must now live in despicable conditions in their own country and are on the verge of extinction as a race.
  • Called "migrants" by the administration, the Kashmiri Pandits are in fact refugees in their own country due to total failure of the Indian State to provide security and safety to them when they were ruthlessly persecuted, threatened, tortured and murdered by the Islamic terrorists.
  • PANUN KASHMIR (meaning our own Kashmir) is a struggle to reconquer that Kashmir which is almost lost.
  • PANUN KASHMIR is an effort to Save Kashmiri Pandits to Save Kashmir to Save India.
Besides being a struggle for survival as a cultural entity and an ancient race, PANUN KASHMIR is a movement for the political survival of over 700,000 Kashmiri Pandits in their birthland.

March 17, 2008

Seeking the road to justice

IT WAS A fine day until I switched on my computer at office and found a link in a pop up that landed me on Sakshi Juneja’s blog. I went through it and for a minute could not believe what I was reading. One of my team members and who has been a role model for the youth of this country was spilling the venom on me. I was shocked and failed to understand as to what led to my involvement in this.

That was followed by the blame game, of passing comments that sometimes supported him and sometimes me. I felt like running away from all the mess and all that appeared me. I literally asked myself if I really deserve such a treatment and that too at the time where I was concerned for the security of my family and was busy running after the UP Police and the media to help me out? Ironically even this was questioned by this person who went around saying that I was faking it. I don’t know why and how but he had reasoned that if it had been the truth then how come only I was being threatened and not him or others who were part of the campaign to ensure justice to my friend Priyadarshini Mattoo.

People used to claim and demand the credits for their support. People were doing everything and anything to prove that I have nothing to do with Priyadarshini Mattoo. I did it only and only for publicity and for becoming popular.

People maligned me on net, on blogs, in conferences, within the circle of journalists, within my community and even those whom I helped during their struggle turned against me. And the worst part of it was the UP Police, which made me go crazy. My covers were removed all of a sudden and I stand cornered from everywhere. My character was assassinated, my integrity was questioned, my commitment and the relation with the deceased and a dear friend was put in question, my relation with the family of Priya was put in question, my family was tarnished etc., etc. People tried every medium to pull me down. I became so unpopular that even the Media turned against me.

All the time I kept on thinking and analyzing as to what was my fault? This Question made me so restless that I lost interest in everything. It was because of this reason that I didn’t go to Supreme Court when the appeal filed by Santosh Singh was accepted. I was agitated, frustrated and deeply hurt. I wanted to end this saga. I withdrew myself into shell. I lost hope of bringing the truth out in the open once again. I lost faith on humanity and on a relationship like friendship. I had no courage to face these imposters. I had no strength to counter them. I was shattered to pieces.

I was not only the monster figure for Santosh Singh but also to my very own people who saw me as a threat or maybe something more than what it appears...The threat was not only from those against whom I raged the war but from my very own people. This was dirty and sick...How could they? Why did they? God!

I was living in my own world of fear and dejection and all of a sudden one fine day my cell phone rang. I answered it and on the other side it was the most soothing voice I had ever heard. It was the voice of my uncle, C. L. Mattoo. He just told me one thing that Indu remember no matter what world says I see Priya in you and don’t give up. Your friend’s wishes and my blessings are with you. Come out of this shell and fight it. The way you fought for justice for your friend Priyadarshini.

He has been like this ever since the fight for justice began. Every time I lost faith he brought it back in my life. Every time my opponents struck me, he made me bounce back with his spirit to fight for righteousness. Every time my integrity was questioned he put his hand over my head. Every time I felt I was alone he was standing next to me.

I got an answer to my Question that I didn’t deserve what I was getting and with the help of my Uncle, family, friends and people of this nation will beat all the odds and let truth and justice prevail. We will bounce back. Even if it takes 10 more years, as it did in my friend Priyadarshini Mattoo’s case.

The on going fight for Justice will continue till I am alive. No one and nothing can deter me from going for it.

March 16, 2008

Be determined, say women fighting for justice

New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) Neelam Krishnamurthy, Neelam Katara, Indu Jalali, Sabina Lall...They are all women who have been moved by personal tragedy to step into India's courts day after day to bring culprits to book, inspiring in the process hundreds of thousands who had lost faith in the system.

So what does International Women's Day March 8 mean to them?

Krishnamurthy, convener of the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), who lost two of her children in the Uphaar fire tragedy that claimed 59 innocent lives in 1997, believes it is about determination.

'Women's Day is not about someone taking a prize in the auditorium amidst a small crowd, it's about their empowerment at the grassroots,' Krishnamurthy told IANS.

She said women's empowerment starts from home where a father gives equal rights to his daughter, a husband gives due respect to his wife and a brother gives equal liberty to his sister.

'Strong determination is the only way out if women want to make their presence felt in a male-dominated society,' Krishnamurthy said.

She has been at the forefront of the Uphaar case, which last year saw a lower court convicting business tycoon brothers Sushil and Gopal Ansal along with 10 others. But nothing has been able to fill the vacuum created by the death of her children.

'People say life moves on, but only those who go through pain know that it never does. I feel as if I have been served a living death sentence all these years, fighting for justice,' said Krishnamurthy.

'All my friends and relatives wanted me to adopt a child, but I could never do it. They didn't understand my pain. That is when I realised that no one can help you and you have to deal with your grief on your own,' Krishnamurthy said.

Indu Jalali, who fought for justice for her friend Priyadarshini Mattoo under the banner of 'Justice for Priyadarshini', said: 'In the beginning we were not taken seriously by anyone and instead everyone discouraged us. But our determination helped us in sailing through the tides of sorrow and pain.'

Priyadarshini was brutally raped and murdered Jan 23, 1996, in broad daylight in a south Delhi locality by her senior at the Law Faculty, Delhi University, Santosh Kumar Singh, the son of a senior police officer. He was given the death sentence by the Delhi High Court in October 2006.

'No one supported us but with time and the help of people belonging to various sections of society, justice was achieved,' said Jalali.

'Women need to get rid of taboos prevailing in our society and come out strongly against injustice to them. Until they make themselves heard, no one will help them,' she said.

The resolute face of Sabrina Lall was one splashed in the media time and again as she fought for justice for her sister Jessica who was shot dead by Manu Sharma, the son of a powerful and wealthy politician, in April 1999.

Even as her parents died during the course of trial, Sabrina carried on her fight, inspiring the nation to back her with all its might. In 2006, the Delhi High Court sentenced Manu Sharma to life imprisonment and two other accomplices and co-accused to four years in jail.

Neelam Katara, the mother of Nitish Katara, is another such woman. Nitish was kidnapped and killed allegedly by ex-Rajya Sabha MP D.P. Yadav's son Vikas and his cousin Vishal Yadav in February 2002. The case is still pending in a trial court.

As she waits for justice, Neelam Katara said: 'The system needs to be more sensitive towards women, especially in cases of rape and molestation where the protection of their identity is more important.

'Education of women needs to be strengthened and only then will they be able to take important decisions of their life themselves.'