Tasneem Shabnam, 28, is a scholar and is doing a PhD in English literature. SHe is a resident of old Srinagar. Following the change in the constitutional status of Indian-administered Kashmir, its inhabitants are subject to various restrictions and their contact with the outside world has become limited. In such a way, Tasnim Shabnam is penning the general public’s routines and feelings in Srinagar as a diary for the BBC which will be posted on these pages.
In the last week of July, the rumors were hot, so I thought of them as rumors of the past. When I was returning from university, people were talking about different things on the bus. Someone was saying that there would be war between India and Pakistan, then someone was proposing to remove 370 and declare Ladakh as a centrally located region.
I was scared. This was not a common rumor. People were just talking that if Kashmir was integrated into the Indian federation, then Kashmir would become Palestine, non-Kashmiris would be settled here, land would be stripped and we would become strangers in our own country and so on.
In such a case, I was under the siege of a double fear.
When I left for university, I saw long queues outside ATMs, shoppers crowded, and every Kashmiri was ready to fight for life. I didn’t pay attention because if I paid attention to this chaos I would get more upset.
The next day, when the government ordered the tourists and travelers to leave, the psychiatrist became obsessed in Kashmir as if it was a war.
I was chatting with them at night that all the Internet lines were suddenly suspended. But this time, some strange feeling like it took my life away. Rumor has it that there will be war. If there is war, where can I find it? If something happened to him, who would tell me? Would we die in one place? Along with the war, rumors of dividing Kashmir and the constitutional rights of Kashmiris also emerged.
I did not believe the rumors, but I had long felt that the rumors were true wherever I lived. Unfortunately this time it happened too.
The worst curfew was imposed in the valley for fear of public backlash after Kashmir’s constitutional status was changed. The announcement was a surprise, not a result. I used to call Curfew Kid at home.
I was born in the spring of 1991. My parents say the curfew was in force a few days before I was born. Kashmiri Pandit had left the valley, forces were attacking, dozens of people were killed in firing on his funeral after the murder of Mir Wahid Maulvi Farooq.
I have already set school, college and university stages during curfew, crackdowns and closures.
But this time it all happened at a stage in my life where I was overwhelmed by the feeling of double fear. For the first time, I felt that I was oppressed as a Kashmiri and as a human being. It is said that the identity of the nation, its special constitutional position and its dignity are being stripped. So as a Kashmiri, I was helpless and helpless.
Landline telephones were shut down for the first time in Kashmir. Every means of contact with the outside world was suspended. I have known for a long time that the person I consider to be my life cannot be mine. Social values, social traditions and many walls are bound to unite us both. There was an internet and a phone, which made me feel closer to him. But today when every means of communication is closed, I feel that I am oppressed not only as a Kashmiri but also as a human being.
One day, two days, three days, even a week passed. No contact, no notification, no news. Where is he The question was not as annoying as, ‘Is that okay?’
When you are tied up in a relationship contrary to society’s long-standing values and you are talking too much to talk to one another in Normalek, curfew and telecommunications are just as likely to be executed for you.
I can’t share with anyone, can’t ask anyone, can’t go to their house or office. People in curfew, tallies and helpless people said that the identity of the nation was stripped. I was sad at this point, but many questions were buying into my existence. Can Identification Be Stolen Or Erased? As a Kashmiri, this question is painful, but as a human being, it was touching thousands of needles in my heart.
I began to think that if my choice to build a relationship was not acceptable to society, would my identity be erased as well?
It was the toughest curfew in history but there was no shortage of food and drink. The shopkeepers were selling the goods from the back door, the milkman was going to most of the areas like us. But I kept thinking that he would stop eating, but he would forgive telecommunications.
The government repeatedly says that everything is normal. Government means the freedom to travel on the roads, to receive vegetables and milk, to provide electricity and water, to be limited to the right but not to the time of emergency. Find a tool to peek into your heart, then see what is normal here.
I know the pain of mothers in captivity or sleeping in graves, but can’t feel it. The heart of every Kashmiri is injured, every heart has been disabled by these closures. Whenever the situation is tense and it seems that now telephone and internet service will be suspended, my heart sinks.
I have been thinking for many years that if what I want is really mine, I will have a ‘special status’. But when the nation’s special status disappeared, the ground beneath my feet slipped.