“Love Jihaad – Zindabad”

“Brother, What brought you here to this jungle of Assam? You have been languishing here for days. What brought you here?”
I do not remember much. Infact, I remember nothing except the sense of remorse I am filled with. Please give me some water.
“Sure. Take this please. We have a well nearby. I am a hunter and when I saw you resting here the other day, I could not leave you alone. Last night, your feeble lips mumbled so many words. I could not remember them except a few like,”Love Jihaad-Zindabad” ”
So, fate has now taken me to Assam. I can feel my left eye is completely damaged and I can realize how weak I am to make a movement. But, but, why, why did they leave me!I mean Why. Did. They. Leave. Me!They should have done the same with me. If lovers deserve to be punished, punish them equally.
“You too? That means someone killed your partner? ”
Ah! My brother, it is a long tale. But yes, I will share it with you because Jyoti wanted me to tell the tales to people I had written for her. She wanted me to tell the world songs which were filled with so much of hope and promise. By the way, did you take my identity card?
“Yes, here it is. So, you are Aamir from Maharashtra?”
Yes. Aamir from Maharashtra. I was an engineering student in NIT, Srinagar when I first met Jyoti. She introduced herself as a regular reader of my poetry that used to appear in the dailies sporadically. We had also been batch mates in a coaching institute in New Delhi. She remembered the poems even that I had written.
You see. There is a wrong notion set into the minds of some people about traditions. Why not keep those ideas aside and live in a feeling of togetherness! Can it harm anyone? Will it kill the goons who take themselves to be the only advocates of God’s word and have taken people to be donkeys.
Oh! Sorry. Please bear with me. I am not a loser at all but there is a conflict within the head and I cannot listen to my heart. I cannot even convince it to keep quiet. And yes, after getting broken on every path of life, you tend to listen to your inner feelings. But remember one thing, your head would already have lost it.
You see the pair of pigeons on the tree there, kissing each other without any guilt. They are only getting closer and loving eachother boundlessly. That’s how I loved my Jyoti. And she loved me too. Every time. Unconditionally.
I have reached too far into my thoughts. I shall take you back again. So, when we were in NIT, Srinagar, she added me to her Facebook and we chatted occasionally with each other. With so much of interest and the things she knew about me, I too started developing interest in her. It actually happens when someone loves you. You have a feeling that the person must be loved too.
Brother, did you ever fall in love?You must have and I feel everyone is in love throughout his/her life.Tell me, otherwise, what sustains people. Everyone must fall in love. Infact, love is a revolution in itself. And When you love someone, you love to play with metaphors and infact, metaphor sets the beginning of love. So, she too had written a lot of poetry for me.
She could not resist much then and it happened on the eve of Diwali when I accompanied her to a temple in Srinagar. She came out after finishing her prayers and gave me a tight hug. She did not leave me for a moment and you know, a poet has learnt humility in his life, he always succumbs to emotions and that’s what happened to me. She loved to do it her way otherwise there could have been a formal propose too. She left for her hostel in a rickshaw whispering to me,”I cannot live without you.”
Jyoti had a dynamic personality of a mature, decent, pure lady. She usually wore a typical Kashmiri dress thanks to the amazing Kashmiri culture we had adapted ourselves to. Ah! She was a beautiful lady.
When I returned to my hostel, I phoned her the following day and we went to the Mughal Gardens of Srinagar. She definitely was in a wait to hear the words,”I love you too” but in a way it was known to both of us that we loved eachother limitlessly, boundlessly and like lovers should love. There was a fear and a growing uncertainty when I whispered into her ear,”So, when are we going to marry?” I had an overwhelming desire of conveying it to her because I wanted to be with her in a home. Only her.
It troubled her so much because when we were in third year of our course, her brother came to Srinagar with her Muslim wife who was also from Gujarat and had rebelled against the family.
You see, we Muslims are so liberal in our approach. The girl was not forced by her parents for anything. They had decided to go with her happiness and had allowed her to marry with Jyoti’s brother. But Jyoti’s father, being a proud Hindu, a proud Savarkar follower, had the duty of managing caste system and homogenity in the Hindu race.
When they were with us in Srinagar, we arranged a room for them. They lived happily and the girl’s parents paid her occasional visits.
Now tell me frankly: Does love ever win? I can see that you are surprised by this question. My answer to this question would be ‘no’.
Our third year results had just been out when the wife of Jyoti’s brother fell ill. Terribly ill. After a battle of almost two weeks in a hospital, she died.
You are getting annoyed. No worries. I will arrive at a different point. When she died, people of Srinagar gave us a patch of land for free. Otherwise, it is too tough. One has to arrange a lot of money for that. I sometimes think of the poor people of Srinagar. I wonder who gives them the money for land?
Sorry again. I deviate a lot. So, where was I? Yes, when the brother of the girl arrived in Srinagar, the grave had already been dug. He rejected their offer and asked for the location of a cremation site.
I was astonished to hear this actually. It was a real surprise for everyone. Jyoti’s brother hugged his brother-in-law so tightly and tears flowing down his cheeks, he threw his head on his shoulder and collapsed down. It was a comfort. A comfort that brought him to glory and gave him the feeling that finally he and his love had won.
But yes, I forgot to mention the people of Kashmir and their hospitality. I learned the human values and their practice from the people of Kashmir. Yes, they do have problems. Both within and from outside. They are caught in a conflict whose agencies are not known to them but except for that, they want to live in a land of non violence and humanity.
Our degree was complete but there was a beginning to the atmosphere of tension that loomed around our heads. Of separation. Of loneliness. We grew a lot of fear.
Before our last day at Srinagar, she came to my hostel room in her wedding attire. My heart danced faster and I quickly let her into my room. That night we shared our bed. She was naked and I sat next to her, gazing at her, like I gazed at the walls of my room, when in her thoughts. I held her head and kept playing with her hair for a moment. I pulled her closer to me and kissed her red lips. Limitlessly.
Like a doll, I loved her and then again, fears grew when I whispered into her hear,”So, when are we going to marry?” She came closer again and gave me a mighty tight hug. I was into her and she was into me till morning.
The following day, I accompanied her to airport and saw her off.
You are so curious to know what happened next. If a Hindu marries a Muslim or a Muslim marries a Hindu, why does it trouble someone. I mean, why should it trouble anyone.
Please think for a moment that how better can it be if interreligious relations get better. Let’s leave aside the caste. Will communal tensions grow or lessen? I think communal tensions will be over if these marriages are allowed.
You are not interested now. Curious actually, you are. Yes, when I reached home, I told my parents about Jyoti. My mother felt a bit worried but father straightaway went to Gujarat to the house of Jyoti.
After a few days of his voyage, father came back home disappointed. They had not treated him well and if I tell you about the taste of my father, he hates two kinds of people. I mean people guided by fascism and chauvinism.
It was my turn now to visit Gujarat and I had the idea of running away with her. We left around 1 a.m in the night and reached the local railway station. I had plans of going to Srinagar after reaching some safe place first.
Traditions, in any society play their part in running administration and politics. When we reached the railway station, we were stopped by a group of heavily armed men and this followed the arrival of police. A huge man amongst them phoned Jyoti’s father and in a state of pin drop silence, he said to him something like this,”Dada Sahab will get angry. I do not need her. I do not need renegades inside my hut.”
My hands were tied and my neck was also tied to a tree. A huge man came with a heavy stick and gave a severe blow on Jyoti’s head.He repeated it three times. She fell unconscious and was only able to utter,”Love Jihaad-Zindabad”. I responded to her with loud and energetic chants. After that they did the same to me and someone dropped me here.
I can see something in your eyes. Did it fill you with guilt? Must have?
“Brother, I pray for the victory of love on earth. May God bless you!”

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