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Happy Birthday India – A Poem from a Kashmiri Hindu

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Happy birthday India

Here is a gift to tell you
That how much I love you
Here is a story I wrote
A story you should know
Because you are my only hope
This is not the story of me
This is the story of us.
I don’t exist
My dreams don’t matter
My tragedies left forgotten
19 January just a date for everyone
But a symbol of pain and horror for some
The families that had a life
The families that had some dreams
The families that were full of happiness
The families that were living peacefully with a roof over their head
Are now struggling to live under one shed
Guilt at every point corners them
Having everything they ever wished for and then losing all of it
My father, mourning for the love ones he lost
He misses the land which was once his whole world
The memories of his childhood he forgot
His dreams all lie shattered
And a life that one’s mattered
Sad by the fact he’s children would never see the house he grew upon
That his parents would never see the house in which they lived for soo long
My father always told me that
“Sorry my child but if we were still there you would have lived your life like a prince.

I m sorry but now thats all I can give”
Hearing him say this makes me sad
Not because I couldn’t live my life as he dreamed
But because he thinks he didn’t provide me enough
my mother, always remains calm and acts tough
but she knows that she has suffered enough
the days which she was supposed to enjoy and embrace her life
as a friend
as a wife
to explore the new world around her
to make her parents proud of her
to get to know people which will eventually become her new family
those days were spent running and hiding for the sake of her life.
she always dreamt of a simple living
and yet here she was living in the basement of her dreams and hiding.
she still remembers the taste of the apples
that she used to pluck from her garden tree
the sound of the water running down through her house
the view of the mountains and sky from her window
the voices of her cousins asking her to play with them
the voices of her uncles asking for the tea
the voice of her father asking her to come to the temple
the voice of her mother asking for her help in the kitchen
sadly, she also remembers the sound of the guns
the sound of the bullets piercing through the walls
the plea of people asking someone to spare their lives
the voice of someone asking for her death
she remembers all of this and yet
she remains calm and acts tough
but i know my mother has suffered enough
whenever i see my parents infront of my eyes
i know they are here
but i also know where there mind and soul lies
No matter how much you try to take the pain away
Memories will always find their way
memories are the worst
it always starts with how happily they used to live
and ends with how much they have suffered.

A memory that leaves a smile on their face
is that same memory that forces their eyes to leave a tear
what was our fault?
what did we do wrong?
these are the questions they keep asking over and over again
but sadly no one has the time to spare
the culture which was once the heritage of the land
the people which had knowledge and wisdom at the palm of their hands
the culture which was 7000 years old
has been reduced to castle made of dry sand
scattered and perished
the culture which once stood tall
is now struggling to find its roots
to where it belongs
no mentions of our contributions
no mentions in the texts
no mentions in the history
i see my culture heading towards its end
and yet no one cares
we are only remembered once or twice a year
we have become a political agenda
and yet when we try to raise our voice
no one wants to hear
i dont know how many people or culture this world consists of
but i am sure for them
we dont exist
Still after all of this I say
With a heavy breath
And some tears running down my face
I say
“Saare jaha seh acha Hindustan humara”
I pray
“Sabse ouncha jhanda rahe humara”
I sing
“Bharat bhagiya vedhata”
But now I have also learnt
“Ki dusro ki Jaye seh pehle khud ko Jaye Kare ”
So thank you
And happy birthday India.

BY: Nikunj Fotedar