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Source: Tehelka

I have always avoided physical fights. In college, even though I was part of some gang, my friends always criticised me for being weak. They said I couldn’t even beat people they had already cornered. I wasn’t weak. It was just that before the crucial moment when one is drawn into a fight, I’d realise the futility of it. I hate the word pacifist, but I am one. There must be better ways than violence — negotiations or debates, perhaps — to resolve conflicts, I thought.

But today, if I weren’t a journalist and if writing was not an act of defiance, I know I’d be throwing stones in the streets of Srinagar, just like my friends.

EVER SINCE I remember, I have been bearing witness to the repression and massacres in Kashmir. Everything has seemed grey forever but in the past two months, Kashmir looks like a black-and-white postcard. The world, it seems, has conspired into silence, almost with a finger on its lips. It is on the altar of that finger and closed lips that pacifism is sacrificed every day. It is from this silence that all violence begins.

With every phone call from home announcing heartbreak, I could feel violence build up inside me, stone by stone. I was in Delhi when my mother called to say the vegetable seller near our house had been shot. When I left home for Delhi, he was the last person from my neighbourhood I’d seen. We had exchanged smiles and shook hands. I felt a murderous rage.

I have always avoided physical fights. In college, even though I was part of some gang, my friends always criticised me for being weak. They said I couldn’t even beat people they had already cornered. I wasn’t weak. It was just that before the crucial moment when one is drawn into a fight, I’d realise the futility of it. I hate the word pacifist, but I am one. There must be better ways than violence — negotiations or debates, perhaps — to resolve conflicts, I thought.

But today, if I weren’t a journalist and if writing was not an act of defiance, I know I’d be throwing stones in the streets of Srinagar, just like my friends.

EVER SINCE I remember, I have been bearing witness to the repression and massacres in Kashmir. Everything has seemed grey forever but in the past two months, Kashmir looks like a black-and-white postcard. The world, it seems, has conspired into silence, almost with a finger on its lips. It is on the altar of that finger and closed lips that pacifism is sacrificed every day. It is from this silence that all violence begins.

With every phone call from home announcing heartbreak, I could feel violence build up inside me, stone by stone. I was in Delhi when my mother called to say the vegetable seller near our house had been shot. When I left home for Delhi, he was the last person from my neighbourhood I’d seen. We had exchanged smiles and shook hands. I felt a murderous rage.

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