By Rameez Bhat
Cricket is a game of professionalism. It is meant for offering splendid action. We have witnessed so many heartbreaking incidents in this game. I still remember the game of South Africa vs New Zealand in a previous world cup. Till the final moment, nobody could predict the winning team. Even experts couldn’t decide the winning team, but ultimately it was New Zealand who won the day. What a game that was!
The supporters of the respective countries always support their team, whether they play in their own country or outside. But when we talk about Kashmiris, whom should they support? For Indians, they should support India. If India is saying, “Kashmir is an integral part of India”, then why Kashmiris always support their opponents? The craze for cricket in Kashmir remains prominent. We are known to make a team of our own mohalla and play with the teams of other mohallas.
But when it comes to international matches, the masses of Kashmir watch attentively every match, particularly when the match is between India and Pakistan. On this day, markets are deserted, students hardly go to schools and government offices remain workless, because everyone has an eye on Indo-Pak match.
And when it comes to moral support, the majority of people in Kashmir support Pakistan. They say Kashmir is an integral part of India, then why we enjoy India’s defeat? If Kashmir is their integral part, then we must celebrate in their victory, right? And we have our own fellow who represents Kashmir in Indian team. Still, Indian doesn’t get any kind of support from Kashmir, why? It’s only because of what India has done in Kashmir.
I still remember the series between India and Pakistan when India lost their match and series against Pakistan in their own country. That match was the deciding match of the series. At the end, it was Pakistan who won the game, and series too. How Kashmiris relished the victory of Pakistan, it was entirely out of imagination. The social networking sites were flooded with news of Indian loss. The sounds of fire crackers reverberated in every corner of Kashmir.
I still remember my mother spreading the rug and continuously praying for the victory of Pakistan. After every minute, she used to take sips of water. Whenever cameraman showed the face of Afridi, my mother used to pray more and more. She even kissed the screen of television. The only reason behind this is that Afridi resembles the lost brother of my mother. Simply, it was the heart rendering moment for me and also for my mother when Pakistan won the game.
In our mohalla, there are renowned supporters of cricket who love to watch every match of any team. They even watch old matches regularly and they are named Mohammad Jamaal and Abdul Ahad. But we call them Jamaal Kak and Ahad Kak. When India lost their match and series against Pakistan, Jamaal Kak enjoyed the defeat and distributed sweets in our mohalla. Ahad Kak relished the moment with fire crackers. Wow! What a moment that was. Jamaal Kak said: “Az kyasa khemoo barith batt plate” (Today I would relish full plate of rice) while Ahad Kak said: “Az kyasa eei aaraamech ninder” (Tonight I can will sleep peacefully). Not only Jamaal Kak and Ahad Kak relished the winning moment, but entire Kashmir relished the victory of Pakistan team.
Despite being an integral part of India, why Kashmiris relish India’s defeat. It’s only because India forcefully oppressed our Kashmir. As far as the Jamaal Kak is concerned, he always used to say “India hasei che zalim. Yemov kor aess peth hamesh zulum. Ess keth peth demov emen saath (India is a tyrant. They have oppressed the people of Kashmir. Why should we support them).
Once Jamaal Kak told me a story of his life. It was probably in 90’s. He had gone to his relative’s house in Sopore. During nights, raids by forces were common in every part of Kashmir. It also happened at the house of Jamaal Kak’s relative’s house that night. It was around 2 amwhen the Army knocked the door of the house. When the door was, the army frisked every room of the house. Then after half an hour, they called Jamaal Kak and the head of the house. The call threatened me, said Jamaal Kak, “Mye aeess pai, emm badbakht layen mye” (I knew these cursed men will beat me) and they beat me up ruthlessly, as if I was a terrorist. So, Jamaal Kak said, how can we support these goons?
A similar occurrence took place with “Ahad Kak” but his tale is different than Jamaal Kak. Ahad Kak is an apple grower by profession. He still remembers when it was the season when apples are ripe. In his own words:
“I went to orchard with my children. After completing half of our work, an army battalion of twelve persons was patrolling near the opposite side of our orchard. I was surprised how they came. I didn’t watch them nor felt their coming. At the same time, my children got frightened of their awful looks. After sometime, they entered our orchard and plucked apples from the tress without saying. Their boss called me and smacked me veritably, saying I was working for militants. My children began to shout and one of the army men frightened them. They fell silent. Their boss hammered me with his heavy weapon but I continuously told them: “Sahib, mein koi atankwadi nahi hun, na hi unkey liye kaam karta hun. Khudha ke liye mujey chor do” (Sir, neither I am a terrorist nor do I work for them. For the sake of God, please leave me). As they beat me ruthlessly, I could not breathe or talk anymore. Then they threw me down on earth and left. When they left, my children held me and gave me water, which I couldn’t drunk easily. I couldn’t get rid of the back pain which was there because they beat me brutally. Now how can we support them? This has not only happened with me. It has happened with many other Kashmiris and will go on happening with every person of Kashmir unless and until we don’t get freedom from India.”
Pakistan lost their first Asia cup T-20 match against India. Words can’t explain the deplorable feelings of Jamaal Kak and Ahad Kak. As they said, it seems to us we lost the crucial battle of our life. Because its the only nation which always supports our struggle.
Postscript: As we have lost one lakh people, it is time for Kashmiri leaders to unite with each other and strive for right to self-determination. Otherwise, worst is yet to come, says Jamaal Kak and Ahad Kak.
(Views expressed are author’s own and don’t reflect the policy of our magazine)