Monday, 30th October 2017

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Id away from home: poem and tears mingle

People from Jammu and Kashmir hosted an open-air lunch on Jantar Mantar Road

By Pheroze L. Vincent in New Delhi
  • Published 13.08.19, 2:46 AM
  • Updated 13.08.19, 3:44 AM
  • 5 mins read
  •  
A girl breaks down as Zubair Rashid recites the poem at the event on Jantar Mantar Road in New Delhi on Monday. Picture by Prem Singh

Zubair Rashid has been writing poetry since he was 14 but he couldn’t read his poem on Id coherently on Monday.

The voice of the civil service hopeful from Baramulla choked with emotion and his words remembering his parents and siblings became garbled until they were just sobs.

Rashid’s untitled poem begins with the lines “Promise me peace in my vale/ I will celebrate Eid forever”. 

“I don’t want to cry here and show that we are weak. I’ll cry later,” the 23-year-old told the crowd, forcing a smile through his tears.

People from Jammu and Kashmir hosted an open-air lunch on Jantar Mantar Road, the capital’s protest plaza, on Monday, aided with food contributed by many who had turned up in solidarity.

Unable to go home to celebrate Id because of the curfew-like restrictions in the Valley, they called the event “Eid Away From Home”.

Sharika Amin, who recently completed her MPhil from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research here, was one of the organisers.

“I was supposed to celebrate at home…. If there is anything to celebrate, it is just our hope, our strength and our resilience,” she told the gathering.

“People back home do not have their basic right to talk under this communication blackout, and continue to be under siege. We will resist, we want to talk to our families and won’t accept this as our fate.”

Rashid had spoken to his father, a police officer, on Sunday. It was the first time he had heard from home in a week.

“It was really emotional. You know how parents try to hide their tears. He was trying to hold back his tears but I could hear him crying,” he told The Telegraph.

“I did not come here to talk about politics. I came to read my poem because I want people to see that we are as human as anyone else; we are not robots.”

Rashid added: “This Id is a moment of despair for me as I had no news of my parents, sister or little brother for a long time. For a police officer in times of crisis such as this, no one guarantees your life.”

Rashid tearfully thanked the local people who had brought food and had come forward to console him and the others who had broken down hearing his poem.

G. Arunima, a Jawaharlal Nehru University professor with roots in Kerala, brought a casserole of Malabar biryani.

“It’s heartbreaking, and I feel this country is falling apart,” Arunima said. “Some of us want to reaffirm our faith in this country despite all its flawed histories. I don’t think we should forget the India we grew up in.”

Filmmaker Sanjay Kak, a Kashmiri migrant who too had brought biryani, said: “If our emotions and tears don’t translate into an understanding of the political underpinnings of what the Kashmiri people are facing, then these tears are wasted. We must decide not to make today a sad moment but a moment of resolve.”

Kak, author Arundhati Roy, former bureaucrat Harsh Mander, filmmaker Rahul Roy, artist Shuddhabrata Sengupta, activists Shabnam Hashmi, John Dayal and Gautam Navlakha, and theatre artiste M.K. Raina were among those present.

Many of them helped out the organisers by serving food to those gathered. Several students from Delhi’s universities joined them.

Two students of Jesus and Mary College were among the youngest volunteers at the event. Neither would give their name, fearing later harassment.

“I could finally talk to my parents yesterday after I was able to get in touch with our local police station in Anantnag,” one of them said.

“They were polite and got my parents there in 10 minutes. We could be here (Jantar Mantar) for Id because our professors and classmates have been so supportive and helpful.”

She added: “Many people change their opinion about Article 370 after talking to us. We were happy to meet even some students from Ladakh and Jammu at the protests in Delhi University.

“Most of our classmates are concerned and ask us what is happening there. I have always accepted our state as a part of India, and that’s why it hurts when the government takes such drastic steps without even asking people.”

The eldest participant was 84-year-old Shukla Kapoor, who came in a wheelchair.

“I was born in Rawalpindi and have family in Kashmir. I can’t accept what is happening nowadays because the government’s job is to keep India together, not to create situations where people are cut off from their families and the country is fragmented further,” she said.

“I don’t know what’s happening and it hurts me that humanity is going away, and there’s always some Hindu-Muslim nonsense happening.”

Zubair Rashid, in white T-shirt, breaks down after reciting the poem at the event on Jantar Mantar Road in New Delhi on Monday.
Zubair Rashid, in white T-shirt, breaks down after reciting the poem at the event on Jantar Mantar Road in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI picture)

That day — we’ll celebrate Eid together...

The following is an untitled poem written and recited by Zubair Rashid on Monday at Jantar Mantar Road. Folded Miracle is the pen name of Rashid

By Folded Miracle

Promise me peace in my vale,

I will celebrate Eid forever.

In the broad daylight

in the midst of lakhs of

people

roads are painted with

sorrow,

and bewildered my people lie!

When I see

all of these happenings,

celebrations I shun,

Joy is liberated into breeze,

But if you promise me peace in my vale,

I will celebrate Eid forever.

Little beautiful daughters

of the man who is not home

lies underneath the muzzle of soil,

are waiting for him to arrive

and bring toys for them,

their joy is caged

in the arrival of man,

he will never arrive to

scatter happiness in his home now,

His daughters are pleading

him to come home,

and his home is house now,

His home is destroyed,

When I see tears eroding joy

and hearts numb,

Celebrations I shun,

ache is all over me,

But if you promise me peace in my vale

I will celebrate Eid forever.

Wired roads, locked doors, suppressed joy

in the lanes of the paradise dominate,

Blocked lines, blood and no screams

in the lanes of the paradise define fate,

there’s a mother waiting for her son

and the son is carrying motherland’s weight!

Oh the stars concealed by light,

tell my mom that I miss her day and night,

tell her patience, patience, patience,

Patience will defeat the might!

A father who cried when he heard his son

after six days and nights under gloomy sun,

who wailed their separation,

and repeated — this war will never be won!

“my dear son, hold your emotions and be

in peace, we love you”

He said while he dropped line,

Tears rolled down his numb cheeks

and it be told — everything is not so fine.

But if you’ll murmur right now,

that i promise peace in your vale,

I will celebrate Eid forever!

“brother, brother , I'll comb your hair,

I'll select what you are gonna wear”

She would say while i would hug her

in the morning of Eid day,

She would ask for Eidi, she would laugh,

She would claim to be the brightest ray,

O dear sister, your brother is standing still

for the paradise that belongs to you and me,

Your brother is narrating words to people

who are like us, who are our own and near me!

Keep the comb ready, and select a suit,

smile like you always do and hold your heart,

for your brother will come soon

to give you Eidi, joy and restart:

Life of peace, dignity and bright days,

when peace shall surround your bright rays,

miracles will happen, and more often so,

grief is no more there while helplessness decays!

That day — we’ll celebrate Eid together and forever.

©Folded Miracle