Co-Written by Ayaz Nabi Malik/Khan Mudasir

Death is more universal than life, everyone dies but not everyone lives”. (Andrew Sachs)

 

There used to be a word sending chills down the spine of people from early times, but as the world progressed the word continuously lost its pain and sooner it became the norm of town. In the journey of our progress we humans saw this word in various forms and shapes. We experimented with this word in so many ways that we employed it to serve our economic and political gains. We named it as war, accident, murder or what not.

In one such experiment we named it pandemic which is currently turning world upside down for most of the so-called civilized citizens of 21st century. From Wuhan to New York, Qom to Lombardy, Moscow to Madrid, people are mourning and turning to God overnight in an effort to shield themselves from this pandemic. People all over the world are looking for escape routes, some are looking towards the skies while others at labs.  Sooner or later we will overcome this and it too will become a memory like other foregone pandemics.

Countries all over the world are coming up with mitigation plans, some are locking down cities, while some others are locking the entire populations, albeit these measures are only for the betterment of people, yet they are complaining about these lockdowns though they have means for survival during these tough times, but still people are concerned. We have been invariably witnessing more brutal forms of death and lockdown since decades in places like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Kashmir, Myanmar and others. I wonder how come the so-called civilized inhabitants of this planet ignore the besieging of innocents in Syria, with children crying for a bit of bread and thousands freezing to death. These painful cries will keep on echoing in the Mediterranean waters for ages. The ruins of Aleppo and Ghouta have thousands of untold and unheard stories on their walls. Families were torn to bits and pieces with no hope to reunion, but the so-called civilized world hardly gave an ear to their wailings and helplessness, as the mechanical and materialistic inhabitants of the soil have their own petty preferences and vested interests. Those Syrian children of lesser God soon disappeared from our vision of sympathy for the sake of our economic and political gains. We marked red lines for their help then and now the same lines in other colours are disembarking the basic human existence in many other ways throughout the world.  Today we are locked in a place we all know as home with all modern luxuries, but there are people who just want to visit their mud shakes once before they close their eyes for never to open them again.  There are children who don’t know what a home looks like, you may name them as Rohingyas or any other subaltern tribe, but it hardly concerns the 21st century civilized intellectual human being. Today people are complaining about economic losses due to the pandemic, but there are those who are bombed for reasons unknown from decades. In Afghanistan homes were flattened in a bizarre and insane way taking the inhabitants unaware about the reasons of their annihilation. Behind the snowclad Himalayan mountains of Kashmir, trails of redness reverberate every night in almost every home. Somewhere in the south of the valley a mother longs for her disappeared son, while somewhere in the north a sister is sobbing for the return of her brother expecting to decorate her hands with henna. Somewhere in the heart of the melancholy Srinagar city old and fragile are in search of the crutches to hold them straight and support their staggering steps.

Nowadays the state establishments are announcing economic packages in terms of cash and food subsidies, yet people are criticizing them at all available levels.  We are the same heartless creatures who were never moved by the plight of the African wretched of the earth kids starving to death for the want of food. The collective human consciousness was unmoved by the death of 700000 Syrians, 500000 Afghans, 500000 Iraqis, 120000 Kashmiris and counting.  We have seen so much of it that it has now reduced us to a mere callous and cruel entity. This brazen, wild and subhuman attitude drives me to a point where I look at the deaths from the prism of a mathematical figure unable to create the ripples of mourning in my heart.

We are now in a state where death has lost its agonizing tendency to rip apart human body and soul and has attained a mere statistical nature upon which the primetime Television shows have developed a competitive frenzy for their TRPs. There are a plethora of reasons to blame individuals, countries, institutions and associations, but the fact of the matter is that we are failing at the civilization level and this is a collective failure not an individual one.

These dark clouds will vanish soon, emissions will raise, businesses will run as they used to be, flights will resume, children will be back to schools sooner or later, but what I fear is that we may again fail to learn the lesson that nature always wanted us to learn from the various calamities that befell upon us. It is high time we introspect and fathom deep into our conscience and restore the respect and the dignity of the human life before the Providence engulfs us without repentance.

The authors are teachers from Kashmir and can be reached at;  ayazenglish.ku@gmail.com and khanmak11@yahoo.com


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