Mourning the loss


“These large gatherings in Kashmir funerals of Militants indicate that these funerals are not just funerals but every time a mini plebiscite against the cruelties orchestrated against the people of Kashmir.” Writes SYED TAJAMUL IMRAN.

Funeral, burial, cremation, etc. are the words that are omnipresent in the ambiance of Kashmir. Funerals have had a special place in the history of Kashmir which is filled with bloodshed.

In Kashmir funeral since the outbreak of violent turmoil in 1990’s has assumed a special significance in our hearts and minds, since human blood has flown like anything , deaths and frequent funerals have defined the valley of Kashmir .

People, in thousands and lakhs attending the funerals of killed rebels and hailing them as martyr have been the dominant discourse in the recent turbulent history of Kashmir.A rebel getting a hero’s funeral is the event witnessed in every nook and corner of the tiny valley of Kashmir.

While we are aware that Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a cultures​ to remember and respect the dead, from interment itself, to various monument’s Prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor. In Kashmir hailing the slain militant, lauding his sacrifice, praying for his heavenly abode and offering absentee​funeral prayers for killed militants is the established custom now here in nook and corner of Kashmir valley.

Customs vary widely both between cultures and between religious groups and denominations within cultures but Kashmir while paying tributes to its martyrs, has had that common revolutionary motivations for funerals of rebels include mourning the deceased, commemorating their life, and offering support and sympathy to the bereaved families.

While income parlance the funerals often have religious aspects which are intended to help the soul of the deceased reach the Afterlife, Resurrection or reincarnation, here in Kashmir the blessings are sought from the Dead body of rebel itself having firm faith in its sacredness . When the body from attack, encounter site of dead militant is brought we witness frenzy scenes as scores of people come to catch the last glimpse of the slain.

The funerals of rebels in Kashmir have coined their own history. As a matter of fact, just last year we witnessed in the historic funeral of late dynamic militant Commander Burhan Wani how thousands of people came from different and far flung areas in order to participate in the historic funereal of the ‘Hero’.

Before that in 2014 history is witness how 3 villages of Distt Kulgam quarreled after the Killing of a non local (Pakistani) Militant just to have buried him at their place. Pertinently, Funerals of Militants have in itself defined the revolutionary resistance of Kashmir against injustice meted to it on multiple fronts.

These large gatherings in Kashmir funerals of Militants indicate that these funerals are not just funerals but every time a mini plebiscite against the cruelties orchestrated against the people of Kashmir.

Let the world see that the voices emanating from funerals in Kashmir are the shrieks of resistance against occupation.

Funerals have had constant feature in painful history of Kashmir to turn the events dramatically as tragically the fervor has been such that often funerals have been met with crushing power which has led to rise of funeral out of funeral and in a way keeping the spark alive in the conflict of Kashmir.

Another related feature with reference to this is that crowds of common masses have dared in recent past every time at the cost of their own lives to safeguard those whom the state gives different names like rebels, militants, terrorists, ultras but the pulse on ground does not worry about the state labels and have nearly every time acting as an irritant against these operations against the militants.

We have seen this year alone the deadly clashes when crowds swarmed to encounter sites as a result of this scores of precious lives have been lost. Who can forget the few time back occurred central Kashmir chadoora episode when on March 28 this year in Durbugh village after forces cordoned off the area following inputs about the presence of militants.

Three civilians were shot dead by the government forces during clashes near the encounter site, marking one of the tipping points in this regard.

From the security paradigm too for the past three years, the Valley of Kashmir has been witnessing large gatherings at each and every funeral for militants. The swelling crowds at such funerals are not only a headache for the security agencies but also a matter of concern. Last year, the tipping point came when over two lakh people attended Burhan’s funeral in Tral.

These huge funerals depict the support for militants and the brewing anger, especially among the teenagers and youth.

Not only the funerals but in past we witnessed ‘three villages; in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district fought for three days over the issue of bodies of two foreign (Pakistani) Militants who were killed by Indian forces in Khrew back in April 2014.

Some observers, political analysts and Kashmir experts believe, that there is a perceptible change in the people’s response towards separatists calls for defiance as people want now something new then that of a strike call. People don’t follow some such calls in present times the way they would. But for “martyrs” people have shown either less change or no change at all. They don’t wait for Hurriyat’s call for shutdown and they never deny for slain militants body. Observers have noticed that when a militant gets “martyrdom” in an encounter people observe shutdown of their own and protest even risking their lives they left their house early in the morning sometimes late in the evening, travel 100 km’s from one corner to another and participate in the Funerals and last riots of “Martyrs” with tears and dream of Aazadi in their eyes.

Kashmir is the most conservative region where graveyards are hardly shared because of high population and low space especially when it comes to a normal death, the body cannot be buried unless the dead own the space in Graveyard, but the interesting thing is that when it comes to militants particularly foreigners this principle is seen irrelevant. There is hardly any graveyard in Kashmir (South, Central, North) which does not keep an Separate and managed epitaph of a militant. This was particularly started in the initial phase of militancy in 90’s as in 90’s we have seen huge number of foreigners in the ranks of militant groups. Their bodies were welcomed in the local graveyards like the Kashmiris are doing presently irrespective of their nationality, color or race.

Time has come to understand the gravity of the situation and settle the political issue of Kashmir.

Author is a Student activist, an MBA. He can be reached at [email protected]

(This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own. Kashmir Patriot neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)