by: Pia Mathur, 16

A depiction of the hostile environment in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India.

A letter from a Kashmiri Girl addressed to the people in power

Dear people in power,

I still look on to the sky above me, hoping for the return of my brother. My mother’s pained cry, her stifled sob, and her deafening silence haunt me. Her weak hands clutch mine own, terrified to lose another child, another piece of her heart. When I look at her, I see a woman drained of all life. I see the despair in her eyes, even as she tries to mask it. I see that she still hopes to see her son one last time, to hold his head close to her heart, to feel his arms around her, one last time. I feel her anger as she curses the security forces, and I feel her strength as she lives on, day by day. 

The Kashmir of my childhood is a distant memory, a dream dreamt of one too many times. My village now remains a grave of dreams. We live as caged birds of ‘Free Kashmir’. The radiant Chinar trees, the snow-capped Himalayas, and the clear waters of Jhelum- all a beauty stained with blood. 

I look at the night sky above me and see an infinite cosmos surrounding me. I see hope. But that hope fades from vision as each day passes. The hope I cling on to, for myself, for my mother, for my loved ones, is snatched away from me with every encounter, every shot fired. 

To us, it matters no more who is a Kashmiri pundit, and who a Sunni Muslim. Loss is felt in each household, grief-struck in each heart. We face the brunt of the conflict you birth. We bleed for your sins. Still, we stand undeterred and undefeated. All we ask is that normalcy be restored. We are a part of India. Treat us so. 

Sincerely, 

A grieving daughter

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