By Faakirah Irfan
Tell the orphans and the widows
That all the graves that you keep on
Are mere mistakes.
Tell the parents stuck in hospital lines
That their children’s eyes are nothing but
Tell Asif’s mother four months from now
When she still mumbles the tale of her
That her murder was a mistake.
Tell future Insha
That all the places she can’t see
Are gone because of a mistake.
Tell the sumo driver, the ATM guard,
The engineers and the doctors
That their blood was nothing
But a mistake.
Tell us openly
That the only mistake we are culpable of
Is being from the land
You want to plunder
With your saffronised state.
Each Rashtriya rifle has one Kashmiri’s
Name written for it
Guess it’s winter again for the army,
A time to take aim at Kashmiris.
How we keep changing from
Collateral damages to mistakes
Again and again.
A portrait of women in conflict zones
You will find us on photographs
Showing our hands raised in pain
Showing our red cheeks flowing with tears
You will find us looking out of window panes
Bidding adieu to another our sons
You will find us outside offices waiting to find our disappeared ones
You will find us in graveyards making graves instead of cots for our young ones
You will find us in the books they write about us
You will find us in documentaries
You will find us in Pratap Park
You will find us in Kunan Poshpora
You will find us in more funerals than marriages
You will find us with pellets embedded on our bodies
As if they were jewels.
You will find us as widows or orphans
You will find us looking for the dead bodies of our children
You will find us in the cross fire
You will find us dead
You will read about us in books you buy in fancy book stores
You will find us during your field visits to our villages
You will come and remind us of our truth
You will find us putting our bodies on the frontline
Saving our sons from another lost identity.
You will find us in the newspaper front pages
Wailing to the one above.
Sometimes you will see us on the streets with stones in our hands
Sometimes you will see our rage
Sometimes you will sell our rage as PTSD
Sometimes you will see us being hit and thrashed by the army
For protecting our sons.
Sometimes we will pop up on your newspapers as change makers
And sometimes some of us will just be renegades to you.
You will find us again
In conferences talking about our pain
Or in universities teaching about it
You will see us and deny our existence
Destroy our families
And then come asking for our presence.
Faakirah Irfan is a women rights activist and has moderated workshops on issues like feminism, mental health, and childhood sexual abuse. She also manages an online women support group called “Maala support group” on SHEROES. Faakirah writes on women’s and mental health issues and is a stand-up poet. She’s pursuing her Bachelors in Law from Kashmir University.
Cafe Dissensus Everyday is the blog of Cafe Dissensus magazine, based in New York City, USA. All materials on the site are protected under Creative Commons License.
Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine on ‘Remembering Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in Bicentenary Year (1817-2017)’, edited by Dr. Irfanullah Farooqi, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India.