With the immense power of creativity, every tree strives to make itself a better piece of art than its earlier one. This tree that I call Purpy, is no exception in this sense. However, they differ in their choice of making themselves a different kind of piece of art.
The hard-work of a tree to develop a (or many) unique piece(es) of art(s) is less appreciated and underdeveloped. From a seed, that looks like a ill formed zero drawn by a novice learner, to its first green step in the multi-colour world, to its developed tender body parts, and finally, to a full grown and mature work of art. Sometimes it takes 20 years for a tree to produce an astonishing work of art, and sometimes it takes more than 20 years. I anticipate either of the case is with Purpy.
The situated-ness of Purpy is quite disheartening but rather fascinating. It stands tall and thin close to Periyar Hostel, Jawaharlal Nehru University, but at the same time can’t be considered as owned by Periyar hostel.
रह कर भी,
मुझे तनहा रहने दो!
It can be most disheartening in the sense that Purpy decorates the welcome gate of Periyar hostel wonderfully for at least 30 days of its prime, and it is left disowned for the whole year. This is sheer alienation of anyone’s existence beyond its productivity. One of the Dhaba, Godavari: Under the Tree, famous for its un-delectable tea and other food stuffs can be considered as a real mother or a real witness of its growth from a child to a mature tree.
Additionally, there is a small avenue that connects two boys hostels, Periyar and Kaveri, and leads to the administration and academic blocks of university. This 3.5 inch broad street also divides a big garden into two where many round-shaped-benches and rocks are there to witness the beauty of the tree while having a (many) cup(s) of tea. The venture point of the street is quite significant and interesting. This avenue that opens up the various possibilities for many of its passerby actually starts with a chain of iron connected to two iron polls. One of the iron polls is the best friend of Purpy which stands next to him since I moved to Periyar Hostel.
My affection towards brute and naked fact was the main reason why I got attentive to experience the development of Purpy that can’t be seen from any famous and comfortable place. First time, when I saw this tree, Purpy, it was sleek, naked and exposed. Purpy demonstrated me its real face, its full naked body, its brute beauty, and its own truth with out any cover up. It did not wrap up itself with false convictions of dark branches, green leaves and mesmerising flowers. Even in order to appreciate this short of beauty, you need to take pain, and come out of your mumsy place by taking few strides to the parking lot of Periyar hostel – The dirtiest place to acknowledge the purest beauty!
That moment I never thought that a tree which looks like a dry painting brush can be engulfed with many colours to be appreciated as a piece of an art. I made mistake of confining an artist to his current situated-ness. Who can refrain an artist to create an another fascinating work of art? Even the bars of iron can only create huddles, but cannot keep its creativity into a jail. AND, THAT IS WHAT PURPY DOES! It FIGHTS a long battle of eleven months in each year just to show its creativity, yeasty materialisation of full blown finished project for a month. It was too purple, full of small purple flower embracing the dark brown branches of Purpy. It also creates an aura of purple-ness down on the ground that forces us to look up and acknowledge Purpy for what he is!
This is the existential burden that this tree explicates to us that we are bound to suffer throughout our life just to get a temporarily appreciated; an appreciation for 10 or 20 days. Even that appreciation is neither in your hand nor it comes from you. Purpy waits patiently for many days in its prime for the people who appreciate art to come and apprise its creativity, its finished work of art after the struggle of so many days, its suffering. ALAS! most of the time, his patience goes in vain!
The full blown picturesque work of an art that is presented by Purpy is an expression of a “normal” and peaceful end of a tree after his eternal struggle. This mesmerising aura of its beauty captures the mind of apperceive in those boundaries from where even a careful experiencer finds difficult to go beyond what lies beyond the appearances. I guess that is the why NO ONE, till now, has not written any acknowledgement letter for Purpy to illuminate what he is.
This year, it is not only Purpy who struggled the whole eleven months for its new, another unique artistic work, but I have also gone through the same pain for the exact same period counting each day of Purpy’s struggle, watching him facing 46 degree temperature from April to mid August, looking at his naked body getting drenched by severe rain from mid august to late October, and perceiving him shivering with out any protection under the temperature around +5 to – 5 from November to February. This was a painful experience of watching him standing tall day and night. However, I would like to thank the universal mother, the moon, for showering over him the light and lotion of love and affection that healed his body and provided him a temporary sojourn in this big journey.
The whole phenomenon of 11 months of watching him struggling and penning down every brute aspects of Purpy’s existence was a new muse for my own artistic work, though full of immense and penetrating pain; an artist’s suffering as a muse of another artist’s creativity. Many owl-y nights, many early mornings gaze, many noons and afternoons puzzles was the result of this inquiry, and for this, the one you are reading, piece of work, I find this surprisingly worth suffering of 11 months. There were two sufferings in this particular period of time, a) universal suffering of Purpy and b) particular suffering of mine that was nothing comparison to Purpy’s.
So, here I come to my point, when I asked you that one day, after dumping our cups of tea and throwing our intellectual chit-chat away for a while, we will stride to the parking area of Periyar hostel to experience the finished project of eleven months struggle of Purpy’s. I did not mean to show you just his finished artistic work, his purple tender body with brownish shade at its breast and spine, and a tall darkish purple face under the umbrella of light pink with bluish shade. I mean to delineate you HIS EVERY EFFORT to push the brush with various colours and angels in slow motion, his each stroke on his own body to carve himself better, its struggle to be the brush himself, its various images, from brute naked body to a beautiful bride in purple Lahanga, his astonishing patience for other’s appreciation, his celebration of his own alienation, his courage against all failure, his close friendship with his iron rod HOT gut, and MY SUFFERING of eleven months that grew with Purpy’s company. His solitude was at his own work of artistic creation, but mine was at the creation of Purpy’s marvellous creation.
NOW, I stand lone watching purpy going again to the same struggle, reminding myself of struggles and suffering of both that we went through, the closeness that we shared, the unspoken talk, the sympathy we showered to each other, our true love of appreciation and experiencing each other, and the care we gave from the core of our heart. I thought of narrating the same story to you while EXPERIENCING him, purpy. But, Alas! YOU ARE NOT HERE. I STAND ALONE, NARRATING MY STORY TO MYSELF ONLY as I PROMISED!
गोदावरी ढाबा के कुत्ता-साम्राज्य के बीच एक ऐसा भी कुत्ता हैं जो वहां पर लोकतंत्र होने के बावजूद भी शांत ही रहता हैं। “शाहरुख़” नाम से जाने जाने वाले और हमारे बहुत ही प्रिय इस कुत्ते की खास बात ये है कि ये बुद्धत्व को प्राप्त हैं, और “शान्ति” का मार्ग इन्होने वर्तमान की स्थिति को देखकर ही चुना हैं। एक ओर जब कोई भी कुत्ता बाहर से आता है, तो कुत्ता साम्राज्य के वरिष्ठ नेता जैसे “पगला” “बिंदास”और “कालिया” उन सब पर भौंकना शुरू कर देते हैं, तब ये शाहरुख, लोकतंत्र के मौलिक अधिकारों की रक्षा करते हुए आपको शांत ही नजर आएंगे। सिर्फ एक बार मुँह उठाते हैं, और गोदावरी ढाबा के नेताओ के फालतू के “कुत्ता-वाद” से खुद को बचाते हैं। और इनकी महानता इससे जग जाहिर है की रात में जब पेरियार निवासी खाना को कूड़ादान में दाल कर सो रहे होते है, तो शाहरुख़, कुत्ता साम्राज्य के झूठे नेताओ को भोज के लिए अपने द्वार खोल देते है, वो भी बिना किसी विदेशी कूटनीति के। जहां एक ओर गोदावरी ढाबा के कुत्तों ने एक अर्थहीन कुत्तावाद को सीमाओं तक कैद कर रखा है, भले ही उनकी सीमाओं के अंदर कुत्तों की हालत दिन प्रतिदिन ख़राब हो रही हो, वहां शाहरुख़ ने सीमाओं को खोलकर एक नए तरह के “कुत्तावाद” को जन्म दिया है। और हाँ, इसके बखान के लिए वो कभी “भौखा” भी नहीं।
Believe me, this is not just a story. It is a marvellous narration about the lived painful experiences of many women of Kunan and Poshpora (two hamlets in Kupwara district) and the living struggle for the justice of these women. “This book is about one night . . . a night that refused to end for 24 long years, a night that holds stories of violation, injustices, oppression and falsehood, as well as acts of courage, bravery and truth.” (p. 1) Before I go on explaining my understanding of this book, let me start with few lines.
गूँगे हो जाते हैं,
कर्म से अलग होकर,
शक्तिहीन हो जाता है,
उधड़ी हुई चमड़ी को,
फिर से खड़ा देखकर।
I hope you know the feeling when you ask for justice even for a very small thing, and justice is not served. This very small thing might change a small portion of your life or might change your whole life, but the incident of “mass rape, in the two villages, of 31 women by the 4th Rajputana Rifles regiment of the Indian Army on 23rd of February 1991” not only changed the life of the victims, but also moulded the life of future generations of the victims. Ironically, it took 23 years for Indian government to acknowledge the fact that there was a mass rape. And surprisingly, it has been 27 years, but no justice has been given to the victims of Kunan and Pashpora. Most of them are either dead or fragile in their physical condition.
First, I want to salute the five authors who were so adamant to stand for this cause, and worked on this book to take out the voice into public. Despite the questions like – “what will you do, a bunch of young girls? why are you begging for justice? Don’t you care for your lives? Don’t you care for you family? Do you know yo can be raped too?” (p. 192)they were so firm on the proposition that says “. . . resistance has no gender. It is a universal language spoken by those who are oppressed.” (p. 192)
बहुत है ज़ुल्म के दस्त-ए-बहाना-जू के लिए
जो चंद अहल-ए-जुनूँ तेरे नाम-लेवा हैं
बने हैं अहल-ए-हवस मुद्दई भी मुंसिफ़ भी
किसे वकील करें किस से मुंसिफ़ी चाहें
मगर गुज़ारने वालों के दिन गुज़रते हैं
तिरे फ़िराक़ में यूँ सुब्ह ओ शाम करते हैं
Imagine a condition where 50 women (Including these 5) with State Human Right Commission (SHRC) and J&K coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) are fighting for justice against state – a state whose 4th Rajputana Rifles regiment is accused for mass rape of 31 women in two villages, and to cover up it has major officers in army, it has their police, CBI, intelligence agencies, judiciary and many others which even we don’t know. In this particular condition, where justice was so elusive, these girls with the victims of mass rape were fighting for the justice. In order to get the justice, 50 persons (mostly women) filed a PIL in 2013, after 22 years of the incident just to reopen the case which was, surprisingly, closed by the police in 2012 without any serious investigation. Samreena (one of the author of this book) writes,
“we filed the petition not because we expect justice from the system and we wanted to make the Indian army answerable, to make them understand that they cannot go scot-free and repeat the same crime. Our struggle is not about outcomes but developing a culture of resistance where people will question impunity, where we will not remain silent in the face of injustice. The fear that it can happen with us is much more than the fear that our careers will be ruined. To live a life with dignity and honour is more important than anything else.” (p. 174)
Let me just mention the contents page, so it can give you a broader picture.
Zubaan Series on Sexual Violence and Impunity in South Asia: An Introduction – Urvashi Butalia, Laxmi Murthy, Navsharan Singh
Boonyi Tal – Afreen Tal
Preface – Sahba Husain
Kunan Poshpora and Women in Kashmir
Making Sense of Kunan Poshpora Mass Rape: Sexual Violence and Impunity in Kashmir
That night in Kunan Poshpora
Life in Kunan Poshpora Today
Inquiries and Impunity
People who remember
The recent Struggle: An Insider’s View
People involved in the Project
An illuminating and expository introduction tells us about the project on sexual violence and Impunity, the evolution of the rights for women, and the chronological account of the legal proceedings for the inclusion of sexual violence as a crime against humanity. Further, it provides the detailed analysis of women’s movement across South Asia in bringing the issue of social violence and impunity to public attention.
Boonyi Tal is a breathtaking poem which helps us imagine the kind of situation might be there at the time of cardon-off. It can be loosely translated as Beneath the Chinar. Chinar is used as an all pervading image of Kashmir and its people.
Preface – It gives us a brief account of unfortunate incident, the intention of the author to write this book, the effort that was made by the people in order to get justice, and the struggle of the women of Kunan and Poshpora. It also raises few questions which I think are significant to mention here.
Is rape in India punishable but rape in Kashmir justifiable when committed by the men in uniform, the protectors of India’s honour in Kashmir? Is this the typical ‘face’ of attitude of the Indian authorities – of burying the truth and denying justice? (p. xxv)
Each chapter or two is written by one or other writer mentioned above. So, you might find some repetition. But I think it is necessary to repeat things when you have to rekindle the memories of unjustified events, and victims of those incidents are living with our feeling their breath. At one point, one of the survival says, “I am breathing but not alive.” (p. 86)
अब अपनी रूह के छालो का कुछ हिसाब कर दूँ,
मैं चाहता था कि चराग़ों को आफ़ताब कर दूँ,
बुतों से अगर मुझको इजाजत मिल जाये,
तो शहर भर के खुदाओं को बेनकाब कर दूँ। #राहत इंदौरी
The simple and significant question is – why did the victims of Kunan and Posphpora not get the justice even after, say 27 years? Was there a complete silence after this violent and inhumane incident? or were they forced to be silent?
One of the authors answers this question. She writes,
“There’re many delaying tactics available to the authorities. The army, for example, simply denies things. The police delays filing FIR’s for as long as they can. In many cases, public outrage and pressure pushes the police to file FIR’s, but this does not mean that investigations will be carried out. Investigations are delayed and if carried out are shoddy and aimed at protecting those responsible by failing to collect proper evidence. In fact the whole procedure is a farce, a mockery of India’s judiciary system. The medical examination of the rape victim, which is the most important evidence in case of rape, is frequently delayed and tampered with to destroy evidence. (p. 62)
As we all know, Indian Judiciary system in particular believes in ‘evidences’ and to bring all the evidences to the court comes under the purview of police. The police department itself has hierarchy, and, in most cases, have conflict in interests. Because of this, they work under some sort of power, and more likely are inclined to tamper the evidences, in order to woo their seniors and other leaders. If there are many layers, and each layers is subjected to be corrupt, who can hope for justice in this darkest shade of dark?
A women’s rape is seen as a permanent blot on her family’s sense of dignity and honour. As Seema Kazi states,
“the sexual appropriation of Kashmiri Muslim women by the military functions not just as an especially potent politically weapon but also as a cultural weapon to inflict collective dishonour on Kashmiri Muslim men.” (p. 54)
“Women have refrained from filing complaints about sexual abuse because of three main reasons; the social problem that a public admission of rape leads to; the fear of reprisal; and the utter lack of faith in judiciary system” (p. 55)
However, one might ask – why soldiers of Rajputana Rifles or any soldier for that matter commits heinous crime like rape? What do they get with this inhumane crime? How do they become so audacious to take this step?
“Rape has been used strategically and systematically to threaten, humiliate and degrade the populace and kill their spirit in the struggle against military occupation. Rapes have thus been seen used as a form of punishment for Kashmiri people, a punishment for rising against an unjustifiable dominance.” (p. 52)
A study conducted by Medecins Sans Frontiers (2005) found that 67% of respondents of Kupwara district (Kunan & Poshpora are situated there only) had witnessed or heard of an act of rape or molestation, since 1989. (p. 52) It also pointed out that Kashmiri women are the worst sufferers of sexual violence in the world.
सबसे बुरा होता हैं,
खुद के शब्दों का,
अपने ही गले में,
गला घोट देना।
One might ask the evidence(s) of proving that a) there was a mass rape. b) it was committed by 4th Rajputana Rifles regiment of Indian army?
The people of two villages cannot lie against Indian army for a same incident (read the whole book), at least an incident of rape at that time when people were afraid to use the word ‘rape’.
Indian Army accepted the fact they did cardon-and-search operation on 23rd Feb, 1991 where 4th Rajputana Rifles regiments were deployed.
Constable Abdul Ghani witnessed the conditions early in the morning where women were lying down naked and bleeding.
A medical repot by BMO proved that more than 50 women were raped (with the new definition of rape).
A report by divisional commissioner, M Yasin, clearly mentions that the incident about mass rape in Kunan and Poshpora is true, and Indian army acted on the innocent people of these two regions as a beast. He demanded a fair investigation regarding this incident without any biased-ness.
But whom do we demand a fair investigation? It was never executed in this manner.
The authors had made sure that every aspects of this incident must be mentioned here, and I must say that they are successful in order to carry out their objective. It is a well researched book, and satisfactorily provides the evidences to justify their claim. Despite knowing the fact about this heinous crime and fragility in Indian system to provide justice, remembrance is the only thing we got, and generating a feeling in all humankind with this remembrance is our struggle. So, this kind of incident will never occur. Because we know, “JUSTICE IS A DARK ROOM FOR US”.
So, let us not remain silent, if we remain silent, they would do it again, if not here, then somewhere else!
लाद दिया गया तुम्हें हजारों उपमाओ से
सुंदरता के बखानों से
देखा गया कोमल तुम्हारी कलाओं में
कोमलता और सुंदरता का कैसा अजब नियम बना
क्यों सुन्दर चीज कठोर नहीं हो सकती ?
तेरे संघर्ष को नजरअंदाज किया गया
मगर चाँद, तू योद्धा है
जो लड़ता है अपने अस्तित्व क लिए
उदाहरण है जो असीम आशा का
उस आशा की जब उसे देखने वाली आँख
“सफ़ेद” चमचमाती किरणों से चुँधिया जाती है
तेज बर्बर वार जब सूरज करता है
तो तू कहीं अपने अस्तित्व को बचा रहा होता है
निकल आता है एक नए जोश के साथ
चमक के साथ, ऊंचे ललाट की तरह
खड़ा होता है जब सूरज के मस्तिस्क पर
काले मेघ तेरी रौशनी को बुझा देते है जब
बादल जब तुझे दबाने का प्रयास करते है
तो तू कभी शाँत रहता है
समझता है नज़ाकत समय की
और कभी, तेज तलवार सा चीर देता है बादल को
एक बार फिर
निखारता है अपने अस्तित्व को
रोज लड़ता है, बुझता है
गायब भी हो जाता है
मगर निकला पड़ता है, हर बार
संघर्ष करने को
अपने अस्तित्व को बचाने को
चाँद, तू एक योद्धा है
एक अविरत योद्धा है
रक्त लालिमा शाम को सियह रात में बदलते देखा हैं,
नारंगी-पीली सी चांदिनी को, चाँद से बिछड़ते देता हैं,
हिलोरे लेते सागर से, ममता की लहरों को छुपते देखा हैं,
पर-प्रेमी समुद्री हवा से, करुणा के दम को घुटते देखा हैं,
हरे भरे पहाङो से, लक्ष्यहीन प्रेम की गहराई को मिटते देखा हैं,
अर्थ युक्त शब्दों को, निर्जीव होते देखा हैं,
कड़कती बिजलियों में भी, काले मेघों के स्नेह को बरसते देखा हैं,
उन मचलती मछलियों सा, दामन को हिलते देखा हैं,
एक माँ को तड़पते देखा हैं!
एक चार कमरे में बंद,
या सड़को में एक चादर पर,
अपने ही अरमानों से, बिछड़ते देखा हैं!
अपने सुकर्मो के फल से,
अपनी कलात्मक कृति से,
निर्लज, अपमानित होते देखा हैं!
खाने से भरी प्लेट को देकर
एक निवाला उसके मुँह से छीनते देखा हैं!
एक माँ को,
स्वार्थ जीवन के संसार में,
अकेला, निरीह, व निर्बल
ममता के लिए लड़ते देखा हैं!
बच्चों के दुत्कारने के बाद भी,
करुणा, प्रेम जैसे विशेषण की
आत्मा को बचाते देखा हैं!
पर-स्वप्न साकार हेतु,
खुद के सपनों को मरते देखा हैं!
एक माँ को देखा हैं,
मैंने पूरे संसार को देखा हैं!