By Khalid Mustafa

I am born in 1990, the strange time I have heard about from my parents, internet and books – was the time when my Kashmir was moving towards an armed struggle to achieve freedom from Indian occupied forces and struggling for self-determination. 

Kashmir was cages with Slogans of Azaadi, Curfews, Strikes, Crack Downs, Search Operations, Gang Rapes, and Disappearances etc.  

As Child at my maternal home in heart of Srinagar City, my beloved grandmother use to take me to the shrine of Sultan ul Arifeen (Makhdoom Sahib) every morning, the morning prayers in every mosque reciting Awraad Ul Fatehah accompanied with the singing of birds in trees. 

She use to tell me tales of saints and scholars like Shaikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani (Reh), she use to make me understand that the place we live is owned by these saints and scholars and she told me “Ye Kashir Cha Peer Veeir – This Kashmir Is Land Of Saints”

Time changed, I saw protest hit the roads. The gunmen wearing long Kashmiri traditional pharan use to lead the crowds. We heard gun shots and my grandmother took me in her lap wailing, crying and saying the gunmen is down by Indian forces– people carrying that man wearing pharan, is now in blood. 

I jumped in arms of my father trying to hide myself, my father console me kisses me saying “Don’t be afraid, this is blood of Martyr and they own our land”. I looked towards my grandmother saying “Who owns my valley then? The saints, scholars or the Martyrs. 

Now I am 26, things are same –But I am changing and I am not saying “Ye Kashir Cha Peer Veeir (This Kashmir is land of saints)” but I say “Ye Kashir Cha Shaheeda’n Hinz Veeir (This Kashmir is land of Martyrs). New generation will also talk about scholars but of the scholars like Dr. Rafi, Dr. Manan Wani and of Dr. Sabzar.