Life Is So Awful Now That I Want to Die With My Children
Wife of man who had gone to Pakistan for Arms training in the 1990s wants permission to visit POK, or be deported there to be with her husband
From a former militant who is now residing in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, and who in turn in connected with a former militant living in Kashmir, I got to know of Shahida Bibi, a resident of Badran, a village in Magam tehsil of Budgam district, Kashmir.
Shahida is the wife of a Kashmiri named Abdul Majeed Bhat who had gone to Pakistan for arms training when he was still in his late teens. The man is about 45 years old now.
In 2016, Bhat sent Shahida and his three children to India via Nepal. He intended to join them soon thereafter. Shahida and her children reached Kashmir in June 2016. They started living with the family of her husband in Magam. Shahida is a Pakistani.
The family had barely settled in when militant commander Burhan Wani was killed and agitations broke out, leading to a spate of curfews, shutdowns and violent protests on streets. Abdul Majeed Bhat felt the time was not right for him to come to India. He stayed back in POK.
In the six years since, Shahida has led a highly traumatic life. She is constantly taunted by her husband’s family of being an immoral woman. Things have become so bad that she is barely able to go out of the house now and raises poultry to make ends meet for the family.
Shahida wants that the state should permit her husband to come here, or should allow the family to meet him regularly in POK. If that is not possible, she wants that she and her children should be deported to Pakistan.
The former militant here in Kashmir told me that Shahida was promised by some functionaries in a security agency that if she pays them Rs 20,000, they will arrange her travel documents for Pakistan. “Somehow she managed to pay them the money in the hope that she would be sent to her husband. But they swindled her. It was all a hoax,” said the former militant.
Here she tells me her tale of woe.
I am the mother and also the father for my children. But people don’t let us live
We came to Kashmir in June 2016. We came via Nepal. My husband told me that you and the children go to Kashmir. In a few months I will also come. But soon the Burhan Wani incident happened. The situation became so bad in Kashmir that he could not come.
I stayed at my sasural for three to four months. But I was so humiliated by the brothers of my husband and other relatives that I had to move out of that house with my children.
I started working at people’s houses to support my three children. My elder daughter Imaan is 15 years old now. My son Arslan is 12, and my younger daughter Ishaal is 10 years old.
I am facing so many problems that I want to die with my children. The government should allow me to go to meet my husband, or they should send us all there. My husband drives an auto-rickshaw, but he is not able to make much money because he stays unwell and depressed because of our poor condition. He got so unwell recently that some Kashmiris living there pooled some money and took him to the hospital.
Ek aurat ki mard ke bina kya izzat hogi? Jab apne hi apne nahin honge to gair kya honge? What respect will a woman have without her husband? If your own people are not your own, what can one expect from others?
I am somehow managing to educate my children. My son and younger daughter are in the government school in Badran. But still children need books, uniforms etc. There are expenses but I don’t have the money. My elder daughter studies at the school run by the Yateem Trust in Srinagar. She lives in the hostel of the school.
My Husband Remains Depressed And Unwell Because Of Our Bad Condition
My husband remains depressed by the problems that we are facing here. He is not able to earn much, so how will he send us money? I hardly have enough balance in my phone, so I am not even able to talk to him frequently.
I have no one here. I have only my children. Even if I want to work to support them, I cannot. Izzat ke baare mein, kirdar ke baare mein apne log hi kitni baatein karte hain. The members of my husband’s family say awful things about my character. Their talk is so awful that it is difficult for me to go out.
Here, I am my children’s father and also their mother. I have to do a man’s work and also a woman’s work. But it is deeply painful that I have to listen to barbs all the time. Of elders, of children. Life has become highly traumatic.
I feel defeated now. If a society does not give izzat, how will a family survive?
How Will My Children Suffer This Torment More?
My elder daughter is growing up. She is only 15 years old. She is only a child. Vo bachhi hai, vo masoom hai. She is so innocent. How will she suffer what all I am suffering? I want to go to my husband now so that we are able to escape this life of trauma.
My husband’s brothers started these rumours against me. What can a poor woman do when everybody starts talking for no reason? I cannot figure out what should I do to stop this terrible talk.
I think my husband ran away from here because he was told to do a lot of work in the village. He was also told to study, but he did not want to. So he ran away. He is about ten years elder to me. I am about 35 years old now, so he would be about 45 years old.
It is so painful that people look at me with bad nazar. Koi izzat se nahin dekhta. Inko zubaan mein kuch aur hota hai, In ke dil mein kuch aur hota hai. They have something else on their tongue, but devious intentions on their mind. They talk bad about me in front of my children. How painful it is for my children to bear this. I shudder to think what will be the asar on their mind because of all this bad talk.
In these six years, since June 2016, my children have been listening to everything. My husband’s family thinks that I am lowly. They think that I belong to a very lowly family. Are your own people ever like that who humiliate you in this way? Can you call such people your family?
Such Talk Is Killing Me
There is nobody who is ours. Such talk is killing me. Some kind people in other villages give some ration for me and my children. I also got a ration card made about a year ago. Sometimes we get cheap rice or cheap sugar on the ration card.
I truly want to go back. I cannot live this traumatic life. Some people promise me money if I work at their house. But their intentions are not right. I cannot work there. We are able to make very little money by rearing the hens. At times dogs attack the hens and kill them. We are hardly able to make ends meet. And on top of that, all this humiliation all the time.
I feel like dying when I think that this traumatic life will continue for my children.
My daughter is very bright. She is doing well at school. I want to marry her off after she does Class 12 so that at least she is out of this terrible situation that we face. But I have no money. I don’t know how I will manage to marry her off.
My younger daughter was about four years old when we came from Pakistan. Now is she ten years old. For over six years, my children and I have been suffering this humiliation.
I cannot tell anyone of what all I am suffering. My husband’s brothers keep taunting my husband when they speak to him. They say your wife is like this, she is like that. He stays in depression because of all that he is made to hear. Perhaps the only solution is that the government should enable my children and me to go to Pakistan. It is extremely difficult to carry on like this.