Ather Zia

From “Kashmir’s Stone Pelters: Some answers

“You ask about his birth?

No, no he was not born today. No not at the time you see him, frozen in the frames of countless magazines and screens, aggressive and intent on throwing the stone at the well armed and armored Indian trooper whose finger stands alert on the trigger. He was born before this moment. He was born in the last twenty years or maybe before, or even around 1947. He is as old as your hubris (I do not jest). His birth was marked by checkpoints through which his mother had to pass when she was in throes of giving birth to him. It was in the closeted bloody warmth of his mother’s womb that he smelt that there was bloodletting outside too.

The blood that spurted from his father’s gashes, who had in a hurry forgotten his Identity card and now, had no way of proving himself. Who was he? Was he a militant, a miscreant, a terrorist, and so many other such names or was he an expectant father carrying the burden of his suffering wife; well the bump that he claimed was a pregnancy could be arms, well hidden? Did he get killed that day, he could have, and he may have been? There have been so many like him, that I have lost track. I do not count anymore (though I keep a tally)!

You ask how he was raised?



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