Behold, I Shine: Narratives of Kashmir's Women and Children by Freny Manecksha
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
She was in need of urgent medical help-her daughter was shivering from fever. Only a mother can risk her life-letting her out on the deserted road- road that seen wrath of agitators –road that bears the brunt of clash between angry agitator and the security personnel.
Yet-she was out! She had to be out! The nearest hospital was barely a kilometre away. There was curfew imposed on the area-now and then –for the last thirty five days. At some point she had to be out on the road- carrying her feverish child- seeking medical help.
And then it all happened. She first encountered a group of security personnel-who assured her to approach. And then there was another group of paramilitary forces- their guns pointed. Sensing danger- she tried to flee. The men opened fire!
She was struck with five bullets in her backside!
The paramilitary men “tried to drag her still body, face down, across the streets.’’
Gunshots make the people realise something terribly wrong has happened-they came rushing to the spot.
But she had already suffered fatal injury by then! Relatives tried to take her to the hospital, but the ambulance in which she has been carried was stopped twice and her in laws have been beaten mercilessly.
She fought bravely with death for several months-and with neurological disorder thanks to bullet injuries.
But she succumbed....... .
Relaxing at our recliner, at the comfort of our warm drawing room can we ever imagine why her soul and body is subjected to torment? ‘Her ‘does not mean the lady whose story is first narrated- ‘her ‘means thousands of nameless, faceless women who is subjected to such torture every single hour, every single minute, every single second in a land which was once known to the world as ‘Jannat e Jahan’(heaven on earth).
Seems ironical-isn’t it?
Behold, I Shine by Freny Manecksha –a freelancing journalist is a strong investigating narrative of the Kashmiri women and children- how they are. It is not really easy to continue with investigative journalism in a state where literally power flows from the barrel of the gun. Freny worked hard in fathoming the depth of the situation-she made countless interviews- talked with representatives from various peer group-made herself present where events took place. In her own words,which appeals straight to the heart-“I started acquiring an understanding of how stories must be heard. A rigid question –and- answer format doesn’t always work. Hesitation, the seconds of silence or gestures can be as truthful and powerful as spoken words. I had to grant these women the freedom to let their stories flow in whatever way of manner they choose. ..When I gave women the space to speak, I learnt how each narrative could have interwoven skeins of suffering ,trauma, healing, resilience, resistance, struggle, humour and most of all, individuality.”
Full story at