I still recall my nostalgic part of my life when I was around 10 years of age. My grandma Sakeena who is in the picture with me would often handover the rope, to which our domesticated black goat was tied for taking it into the cowshed. I would anchor it to the wooden peg buried in the ground. After I was done with it I would love to sniff the fragrance of cowshed. I would observe the movements and sounds of other domesticated animals we had. The waging tale of the cow to frighten off the flies and mosquitoes, the violent thrusts of baby calf directed at the udder of the cow, the ruminating mouth of a white bull in its slowest pace and the brief jumps of baby kids of goat would fascinate me.
The cowshed was made of earthen material and its embedded wooden structures was black in color, the timber was composed of odd shapes of columns, some with pointed tips, some with blunt edges and each wooden shaft would vary in breadth across its length but all were in black as if artistically applied with the soot of smoke. “I would often enquire the cause of this from my Grandma and she would often reply “Yeli Aes Zalikh” (When we were burnt) and hence one day she spoke while popping out the cereals from their dried shells. “Those were the days of happiness, the air was filled with joy and ecstasy, and people would assemble in small gatherings to discuss the politics of Kashmir for “Quit Kashmir Movement” was on the verge of successful culmination. The Dogra regime was just formally driven and defeated by Qabailyi army and our village had sheltered 15 to 20 men who were being fed by the dwellers of this village and they would capture the volunteer force of Sheikh Abdullah for questioning and that used to be the eventful part of the day while witnessing their informal trial”
Since the location of my village is just at the side of Karewa on which Srinagar International Airport is located, and it was exactly the same venue where Indian occupational forces landed in Kashmir and grabbed the land where the forefathers of my village used to toil in blood and sweat to feed their bellies, so it formed the idea of aggression with respect to Indian forces, for they were denied access to their own lands which they had inherited from their forefathers from the day of 27th October 1947. Noting the strategic location of my village, for Airport is just at the distance of 15 minutes from my village so it formally became the launching pad for the Qabailyis to counter Indian forces. The immense support garnered by tribals in my village was the general ideological leaning of Islamism, the Shiite identity of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, And the urge of seeing new era free of oppression and injustice.”
Grandma recalled “When Indian forces came to know that the villagers are sheltering Qabailyis, they came with their fleets of jets and dropped Gunpowder on houses and other habitations and all the village in few moments was blazing with red flames with its horrible sound of woos and crackling sound of objects raking in fire which was further filled with the shrieks and wailings of villagers who were seeing their dreams and houses shattered with this merciless fire. We were running for our lives I was teen at that time I was running with some eatables knotted in a cloth and your grandfather was struggling in the fire to unhook the horses which were neighing in the flames to set them free so that they will too run for their lives. He was able to unhook few and some of them just tore their ropes out of their own strength to rid off from the heat of blazing fires. The hens and roosters were jumping from wall to wall frightened with the fury of fire that mankind can impose on each other in the quest of conquering lands, the school a rarest of rare opportunity at that time enjoyed by my villagers was too engulfed with flames where from many educationists were groomed up, it was just the doom of our lives and we collected our few essential things which we were able to save from the fire and fled to the outer forests of Dodhpathiri and returned probably after a week when the war was over, while we reached to our village we were seeing that the smoke was still billowing out from the destroyed structures, the ashes were still hot, the wooden structures were just turned into the small mounds of ash, the caricatures of hens and other domestic animals were lying lifelessly on the ground with their skin roasted.
The aroma of smoke was still in the air, some people were searching their valuables from rubble collecting out the things which survived the fires and some searched the dead bodies of their loved ones of which total 12 dead bodies of villagers were recovered from which 2 were those who were shot dead with aircraft bullets and total 80 houses were reduced to ashes in number. And when we reached to our own house it was all ruined and desolate in its look, it was just reduced to the mound of soil and the partially burnt wooden timber of it was just lying at its side in the most haphazard manner (Yerwinaav she used to add here) we immediately splashed waters on it and saved what we could have saved and later on used the same timber which seems black to you in the construction of cowshed. It just retains the memory of an infamous historical event when the keys of our slave chains rattling with the sound of freedom were delivered into the hands of India.
#BlackDay #27thOCT1947 #AlYoumulSiyah #YoumeSiyah #KrhunDoh
Arshad Hussain is a writer based in Kashmir. This was first published on his blog Arshad Kashmir.