Keeping vigil and keeping my rifle even closer as I safeguard this heaven
The heaven on earth – Kashmir
I have no name from where I have come
I am just a soldier doing my duty
Clad in combat fatigues I watch the locals go about their duty
Children smiling, ladies chatting as the tourists get lost in the beauty of the Dal
I scan the crowds for insurgents, militants who wish to disrupt this heaven
As long as I am on the watch, this will not happen...never..
This heaven is wanted by everyone and in the crossfire I am stuck
I try my best alongwith my comrades to stop the foes from across, yet if they succeed, the whole country starts questioning the force`s ability
Despite wanting to avoid collateral damage, if it happens, the people of this heaven turn up against us
Its a different crossfire. I am caught in whether I do something or not
I patrol the closed bazaars , the empty streets and the haunted Lal Chowk not because its a holiday, its because the separatists have ordered that and the locals fear for their lives
I have to save the country and the locals too
For me thats of paramount importance, I have come to protect them
Yet then too they see me as an outsider – somebody enchroaching their home
I am bound by rules and orders, I must operate within those
I dont like to storm a holy shrine with weapons or burn down a house to either bring the insurgents out or kill them
But I have no other way
Sometime I need to keep nerves of steel and I must do this when I see the security of the place and my comrades at stake
I do not fire first unless fired upon – those are my orders and yet I see innocent locals and my people getting hurt in the meantime coz the insurgents have no care
My only care is to see these people safe.
I wish for a peaceful day in heaven when I am also just another human being wandering in the Dal or walking on the roads stewn with fallen chinar leaves.
I wish to see more tourists and more smiling children
I wish to enjoy the Kahwaa in winter peacefully or go horseriding in Gulmarg or view the beautiful valley in Sonmarg
But whatever it is god, let me know if there is any trouble in this paradise.
For I am a soldier first and will always remain one , for my duty is to protect this heaven.
The story behind this- Sept. 2013 was when I went to Kashmir as a tourist. My few known acquaintances and friends used to say ,"तू जिन्दा वापस नहीं आएगा " (You wont return alive) and I said to them, "I will . I have full faith on the armed forces there'. So off I went there and during that time the shooting and unrest in Shopian was going on and the media had widely publicised that as being an unrest in Kashmir.
Talking to the people, houseboat owners I realised that the real news of Kashmir never reaches the rest of the country. Its
either surpressed or over hyped to be reported. The locals and the soldiers all are a victim of politics and orders. So the idea of this prose came from there. A soldier who has to follow numerous contradictory orders, yet do his duty. The fact that he is also human shows what he really wants in Kashmir.
Heroes: Thats me Reviewed by Shwetabh Mathur on 6:05:00 PM Rating: