To My Brother Ruban Who has Disappeared from My Sight

June 06

Syed Tajamul Imran

Brother is your mirror copy and often when he is your little brother then the situation is more emotional as he is reflection of your inner self.  Rubaan my little brother your absence Is killing me.  Few lines from inner of my heart to my real soul mate the brave, innocent, zestful, lovable brother Rubaan.

RUBAAN my brother,

I remember how! once

we fought so fierce a fight

that mother had to keep us away

from each other’s effect

for one month straight

 

Slept in different rooms

didn’t play with each other

no interaction what so ever .

Rules were made

and then one night

while the mountains were asleep

with peace in its vein

Amidst plashing patter 

of steady rain

you came crawling under 

my bed woke me up

with a paper boat in your hand

and we sailed, and we sailed.

All our conflicts and differences fell like Berlin Wall. 

Today, sitting away from you

with dead souls walking by

in a four-walled glass office

I watch dark clouds – they are harbinger

of coming snow storm which is meaningless

brother mine, come sail a boat

like we used to

in a narrow dingy lane

will you?

with me. once again.

Come back to Home.

Your missing gaze is a painful tempest for me 

I stand shattered 

and world for remains battered 

Come take me in your hug 

I want to embrace you 

Say a goodbye to all miseries of life

When anyone asks whether I have any siblings, I say I have a younger brother. Some people ask more questions about you. How old is he? What does he do? I answer: “Oh, he passed away.” Recently, someone asked why I say “have” and not “had”. It’s deliberate, I explained. I am a brother. A risk-averse, boundary-abiding, 27-year-old big Brother. To be a big Brother, you have to have a younger sibling, so…

I went through all the stages of grief after you died. Anger, searing anger. Hysterical crying. Utter loneliness. It’s been 3 Months since you left us, and even now, occasionally, I have moments when I can’t breathe, knowing you’re gone. I’m scared. What if my children don’t have the relationship we had? The thought terrifies me, even more so after I learned that a lot of sibling relationships are fractious. It felt normal that ours was unconditional, fun and loving. Since you left I hardly visit home, not because I don’t wish to but every time, I visit home I miss the moments, things we shared I still have the empty bottle of cobra perfume you knew I really wanted. Every time I visited home, Nobody checks my bag, nobody wear my cloths I hate home now, I miss you brother a lot.

In Kashmir, Even after being worlds most militarized zone, and a long pending conflict, like most of the other parts of world, on holiday’s, people usually visit beautiful places to explore nature with friends and other loved ones or spend time to have fun at home. But a friend circle we call it “BROTHERHOOD” has a different tale and a different visit over the rest of the visits this week. We usually meet for friends gathering at Srinagar.

This week we all planned to visit my home; Nazeenpora Shopian a remote village in militant hotbed south Kashmir. We took a long journey from Srinagar when the light of the sun was about to fade away. On the way despite election season one can hardly find any flag of mainstream parties here the way we saw in our last visit to different places of North kashmir, finally, after two hour travel, we reached Nazneenpora a village on the banks of River Rambiara, as the romantic name (Nazneen) of my village the “Gun” too has been romanticized since 90’s the graveyard here are witness to that.

We discussed Ruban’s stories, his activities before going into woods, his way of talking. He was a highly patient boy, whenever I remain out he used to take my position and hold on the family affairs comfortably, a word by my father Syed Mohd Hussain while discussing the things Ruban used to do with my friends. A very much interesting gossip followed by dinner, post that we got a few instructions from mother before going to the bedroom, ‘dear sons; go and sleep, switch off the light, don’t talk in such voice which may come out of the room’.

Armed forces can come anytime; it’s Shopain, not Srinagar. For a moment my friends were looking into one another’s eyes, after a pause as I interviewed and tried to take them under confidence that nothing bad will happen.  We spend a night at my home and on another day we planned to visit the place where Ruban had achieved martyrdom. My siblings (Sisters) had a say about the wish to have a glimpse of Brother’s final fight place (hideout). Syed Rubaan had recently attained martyrdom in a forest area of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district. Yes, I lost my 21-year-old brother that day. I love him from the bottom of my heart. He was going to turn 22 this June.

The journey started from Nazeenpora, with mother’s prayers and a goodbye sign a vehicle drove us through the sidelines of beautiful apple orchards and mountains and meadows. A journey of more than an hour through narrow road and lanes a beautiful view of Shopain apple blooms, the rice meadows of Pulwama and the mountains of Budgam has a tremendous view of travel on.

It was very hectic to reach near the hideout while moving down to one mountain and then crossing another by grasping each other’s hand and the help of tree roots made it possible to reach near the site. An engraved room commonly called hideout surrounding by forests from every side and stream flowing nearby might have been the success of militants from hiding and being out of info of army. We observed the destroyed hideout for a few minutes.

But, moments later when my sisters broke down after losing control of emotions and started weeping, all of us sit down and started weeping, on seeing the site where our beloved brother had taken shelter and fought with forces. The site which seems to have wept too whiles the blood of Ruban and his two associates (Hurarah and Marsad) fell on it. However, the environment turned more emotional when I hugged my sisters, the weeping turned into crying. I froze, I couldn’t utter a word. My Voice was trembling and I mustered all my courage and cried. It was all the loved friends along with me who had to give us solidarity hand to control these highly charged emotions…

An half hour later we departed from the site, with high emotions inside and a dream of seeing a day free of killings and peace in the conflict-torn Kashmir.

At the upper side and first Apple orchard, a woman shouted at us and started telling her ordeal, “The army is continuously visiting this place; local people are been harassed on the allegations of being a helper of those killed militants. Twenty people have been arrested in this regard; seven among them have been slapped with PSA, three in Jammu jail and others in central jail Srinagar”.

As the conversation went on, and the lady came to know about the relationship of ours with the killed militant, in this way she felt comfortable in speaking with us, “it seems that the same guy might have informed the army who later on helped police in arresting the 30 local people here. The army recently blasted this site again on army brigade’s visit, they took some material along with them, from then in this village it is hearsay that army may install a camp here.  Meanwhile, they prayed for the eternal peace of martyrs and asked us to keep patience for the rest of life. The big thing in this conservation was that she prayed for the peace to find a place here in bloody Kashmir.

The hideout appeared to be best for hiding and meanwhile Ruban’s words resonated with us.  I remember while in a process of presiding him to shun this path and return back home, fortunately he once visited home. We did everything to motivate him, But all fall in vain. During the conversation  on being asked where do you live? He said I live at a place where even America can’t find me and we all observed and analysed the same at hideout “had kashmiri human sources not been there, things would have been entirely different”.

P.S – Young generation is falling prey of bullets. Some choose the path of war; some are forced to take part. Ruban too was forced to take the path of armed rebels, after he was continuously harassed by the men in the army. Ruban would have become a new sensation in cricket of which he was having good talent, had he not been forced to take the extremist path. As On, June 17, 2018, at 11:30 pm, army party along with JKP’s SOG came to our village and surrounded it from all sides. Then they entered our house and assembled us all in a room. They accused us of harboring militant, especially Naveed Bahe and his associates.

Then after three hours of search, in which they searched all three houses: ours and our uncles, but couldn’t found anything. Then, to everyone’s surprise, one of the army personnel slung his AK-47 over Rubaan’s shoulder and started clicking his pictures. That very moment I feared I would lose him. (Which Time proved me right.) When my mother and other family members intervened, they started abusing them all. In the meanwhile, I confronted the army officer and asked him why they are harassing us. Instead of answering my query one of army personal started beating me ruthlessly. At this point, Rubaan told them that don’t harm my brother as he knows nothing.

“He stays outside Kashmir. He is out of home for last seven years,” Rubaan told them but this was not the first time when Rubaan was harassed. It all started in September 2016, after Farooq Hurra and Naveed Bhaiya joined militancy as Hurra was a close friend of Rubaan and Naveed a Cousin.The questions which reverberate air and valley residents are when we will see the dawn of free life, which is free from miseries. Spending moments, not time looks difficult with the passage of time. Valley is facing political and other crises, “who will come and end this disturbing situation and hug the humans in a peaceful and better way. This question seems to be unanswerable but, hope is at its best”.

The Views Expressed are author’s own

(Syed Tajamul Imran is a Kashmir-based story teller, an ace Columnist, writing for many coveted media houses of South Asia. STI is elder brother of Syed Rubaan (Commander Al-Badr), who recently was killed during a gunfight with indian government forces at Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.)