Angry for peace

Hasrat Sohi

WHEN my father came back home from Srinagar in 2001 with a bullet in his leg, there was an unbearable pain in my chest. We had been waiting for him everyday to return and when he finally did, the anger escalated. Not because of what his condition was, but because of what terror had made of him. He served for long periods on the frontline, as have the fathers of many of my friends. Things are different for us, their wards. The wait for our fathers to return home is overruled by the wait for peace.

A friend of mine, Gurmehar Kaur, recently posted a video on YouTube that went viral. I asked her what had inspired her. She said one day she turned on the TV to the news of Lt Col Niranjan Singh’s passing away in the Pathankot attack. “As the show proceeded, a familiar footage was shown. There was a strong sense of deja vu, as I watched the proceedings of the cremation. The similar-looking coffin wrapped in the tiranga, the khaki-clad officers, the one-tonne khaki truck, and far away, in one corner of the screen, a weeping young woman with a baby in her arms. It hit me then. I had not seen this on television, I had lived it,” she said. Her father, Captain Mandeep Singh, died in the line of duty during the 1999 Kargil war.

The video is symbolic of the desperation for peace. It highlights the prejudice against Islam and terrorism. Her silence in the video speaks volumes. It is a plea for peace, and the constant battle for it, so no more daughters have to lose their dads. There aren’t many memories of having a father by our side, but there sure are memories of not having one. The very common misconception that I, along with Gurmehar, had was the association of Islam with terrorism. Later, I realised that terror has no religion and Islam cannot be blamed for our situation. It is the lack of empathy that gives birth to terrorism.

The notion formed about officers serving the nation is that they have unlimited perks. People don’t realise that they are at the cost of a daughter losing her father, a wife losing her husband, a mother losing her son, and most of all, a nation losing its soldier. We aren’t the only daughters who have grown up without the support of our fathers. It is not easy to remember what it feels like to have a finger to wrap your hand around. Our thoughts have consumed us too well. We are angry for peace, not for what happened to our fathers. Our priorities should not be the death of the other, but growth for ourselves. Why is the nation being ignored for a certain piece of land?

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