30 Years and 1,000 Pages Lost by a Kashmiri Poet in an Encounter
Ghulam, a 52-year-old poet, saw his ancestral home reduced to ashes and rubble.
“Bohot aaj tak lut gaye hain bade ghar. Abhi bawafa gardane kat rahi hain.” (Many have lost their homes and their lives to the conflict and I am only one of many of the victims). This is what Ghulam Muhammad Bhat scribbles on a pillar, which once was a part of his house.
In a recent tussle between militants and Indian troops in Sringar’s Khanmoh area, Ghulam’s house was razed to the ground.
We heard gunshots. Minutes later, three men who were being chased by the police and army, entered into my house. They told me to leave with my family and personal belongings, and sat down to offer Namaz. The firing began around three in the afternoon and lasted till two in the morning.
The next morning, Ghulam, a 52-year-old poet, saw his ancestral home reduced to ashes and rubble. Underneath the broken bricks, also lay buried over 1,000 pages of his unpublished poetry. He had been saving them for publishing once he had enough money.
I only have two regrets — my poetry and the men who died in the house. I will never forget their young, innocent faces.
Bhat published two volumes of poems in 1985 — “Pain of Loss” and “Voice of Abu Zar” under the pen name Madhosh Balhami.
I don’t lament the loss of my house. I feel grief over the loss of the young life in my house. Many have lost their homes and their lives to the conflict. I tell myself I am not the only victim. There are many more in this war-torn valley.
With a sense of sorrow and tears in his eyes, he points to the first floor of the roofless building where he had a library of books. There is nothing now; only broken walls and scattered bricks. He reflects on how his house turned into a graveyard for the three men who spent their last moments in his house.
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
Producer: Vatsala Singh
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