சாஹித்ய அகடமி விருது பெற்ற காஷ்மீர எழுத்தாளர்: அக்தர் மொஹியுதின்

அக்தர் மொஹியுதின் காஷ்மீரி மொழியின் முதல் நாவலை – தோட் டாக் – எழுதியவர். 1958-இல் சாஹித்ய அகடமி விருதை வென்றிருக்கிறார். 1968-இல் பத்மஸ்ரீ விருது.

அவருடைய சில சிறுகதைகள் இணையத்தில் கிடைத்தன. நாலு கதையை வைத்து சொல்லிவிட முடியாதுதான், ஆனால் என் கண்ணில் சுமாரான எழுத்தாளரே. விருது எல்லாம் அதிகப்படிதான். ஆனால் ஒரு சிறுகதை – சிறுகதை கூட அல்ல, அதன் முதல் பகுதி எனக்குப் பிடித்திருந்தது. 1958-இல் ஷேக் அப்துல்லா சிறைப்படுத்தப்பட்டு காஷ்மீரில் அரசு அடக்குமுறை ஆரம்பித்திருக்கிறது. இவர் நேரில் பார்த்த அல்லது கேட்ட சம்பவம் என்று நினைக்கிறேன், அதை சிறப்பாக வடித்திருக்கிறார். அந்தப் பகுதியை மட்டும் கீழே கொடுத்திருக்கிறேன். ஆர்வம் உள்ளவர்கள் முழுக் கதையையும் படியுங்கள்…


I Can’t Tell (Wannun Ma Banym)

9th March 1958

It was four o’clock in the evening.

A couple of government vehicles came to Lal Chowk and stopped near the lane leading to the Court complex.

About four dozen persons wearing the uniform of Kashmir Additional Police descended from them.

The reader need not bother as to whether it was the Bihar Police, Punjab Police, Central Reserve Police(CRP), Madhya Pardesh Police, Kashmir Reserve Police, Special Police or some other Sensitive Police. Those days every Indian State had sent its forces to Kashmir to teach a lesson to the anti-national elements. Then Kashmir had its own police forces under six different names and wearing six different uniforms. That is why I only specified the uniform that the persons who descended from the vehicles were wearing.

The commuters in the Lal Chowk, the pedestrians, the cyclists, the tongawalas all started moving rapidly. The shopkeepers hurriedly disposed of the shoppers and the vendors on the pavements wrapped up their wares. The policemen on beat duty looked apathetically at the personnel of the Kashmir Additional Police (KAP).

The men of the KAP grasped their batons. Half a dozen had launchers for tear gas shells and boxes of shells slung from their shoulders. They too readied themselves. Next they arranged themselves in a file on one side of the road. They stared at the people, the shopkeepers, and the row of mynahs sitting on the gables of the  Ismail Building. The birds became more and more excited as they saw their swarthy faces and started cawing and chattering loudly as ifthey were saying: “Hey. Those in this uniform are not what they pretend to be. The commuters did not understand this shrill warning uttered by the birds and they did not reflect that the men wearing the uniform of the KAP in reality belonged to the CRP. Even if they would have understood it, they would not have realized the reason for this impersonation. The Indian rulers had resorted to this stratagem so that if per chance some news reporter saw them and wrote a report it would be the Kashmiri government which would get a bad name. The Centre would remain blameless. The people were incapable of understanding this intricate reasoning and anyway did not bother  about the warning that the mynahs gave so shrilly on their part.

The CRP men (in KAP uniform) standing in a file on one side of the road did not fit in with the peaceful condition prevailing in the market but everyone understood that something was brewing. No one could guess exactly what was brewing and how I twould pan out.

It was then that Qadir Chaan (Qadir the Carpenter) appeared from somewhere. He was the government strong-man. He had freshly shaved his head and face. He was dead drunk and his face was red. The officer in charge of the police contingent came forward and shook hands with him. Qadir Chaan staggered forward and sat down in front of the police. He gave a few puffs to a half burnt cigarette he held in his hands and then suddenly threw the cigarette bit at a pedestrian. The man looked angrily at him reddening but said nothing. He understood that it was a deeper conspiracy.

As the pedestrian took a few steps forward Qadir Chaan shouted “Bastard! Am I your father’s servant?”

The pedestrian stopped, looked back and said “What have I done? I am walking straight ahead.”

“Bastard! I threw a cigarette bit at you. Why did you not react?” shouted Qadir Chan.

“Why are you abusing me?” the pedestrian asked as the color drained out of his face. “Have you no decency?”

“The fool will talk nonsense” Qadir Chan said and suddenly grasping the pedestrian by the collar butted him with his head. The pedestrian was not hurt but his clothes were dirtied in the mud. He again tried to pacify Qadir Chan but Qadir Chan was adamant. Letting him go, Qadir Chan ran to a policeman and taking his baton from him started beating the pedestrian. A crowd assembled round them and being unable to see anything from outside I too joined the crowd of onlookers. I saw the pedestrian lying on the ground. Qadir Chan was pressing his chest with his knees and butting him like a mad bull. The pedestrian was bleeding profusely from his nose. The crowd watched silently but two women stepped forward from the pavement and tried to remove Qadir Chaan and release the pedestrian but Qadir Chaan was refusing to let him go.

The onlookers could now no longer restrain themselves. They caught hold of Qadir Chan and started pulling him away. As he refused a hot tempered person said angrily “Hey do you want to kill him?” Then he took off his pheran and caught hold of Qadir Chan.

The other onlookers surged forward to help and suddenly there was a shout “Charge”. The CRP (in KAP uniform) swung into action and started baton charging the assembled people. A scuffle ensued between the police and the crowd. The policemen beat the people with batons but the people came back and attacked the police.

The shopkeepers shut their shops, the cyclists and tongawalas moved away and Itoo came running back to the place from where I was originally watching the spectacle. The crowd remained engaged in the scuffle with the police and dispersed only after the police resorted to shelling them with tear gas.

The crowd dispersed. The shopkeepers started to reopen their shops. Some shoppers reappeared and the C R P again formed a line in front of which an officer was offering a cigarette to Qadir Chan. After some time a jeep came and Qadir Chan climbed into the jeep which drove away. The CRP too went away in the vehicles in which they had come.

Next day I again came to Lal Chowk. After aimlessly wandering around I entered a restaurant to have tea. As I seated myself my eye was arrested by a headline in an English daily which read “Blatant Hooliganism in Kashmir”

It reminded me of yesterday’s event and I picked up the paper hoping that the plight of Kashmiris had finally attracted attention.However my eyes filled with tears as I read the news item which is reproduced below:

Eyewitnesses say that a respectable person named Ghulam Qadir Chan was standing in Lal Chowk when he was attacked by some anti-national elements. He was seriously injured and has been admitted to a local hospital. But for timely action by the KAP which arrived at the scene in the nick of time and chased away the miscreants he could even have been martyred. We request the state government to take steps to exterminate these antinational elements so that the life and security of respectable law abiding citizens is ensured.

I then took up another English Daily and found the same news printed there. Four English and seven Urdu papers carried the same news. Even the editors of those papers had not thought it proper to change even a single sentence.

கதையை மொஹியுதின் மேலும் தொடர்கிறார். ஆனால் எனக்கு இரண்டு பாரா முன்னாலேயே – காதிர்சானும் காவல் துறையும் திரும்பும்போதே – கதை முடிந்துவிடுகிறது. அன்றைய சூழ்நிலையை புரிந்துக் கொள்ளத்தான் இன்னும் இரண்டு பாராவை பதித்திருக்கிறேன்.

தொகுக்கப்பட்ட பக்கம்: இந்தியப் புனைவுகள்

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