Unsung Martyr

Rafi Giri
Today is 35th death anniversary of my father but the memories are still so fresh and undying. Though we knew it only at the dawn of a new day in the late dark hours of night, the vehicle my father was travelling in while returning from duty had met with accident around 10pm on 20.04.1985 at Banderkote Kishtwar a place which had so far consumed so many precious lives. It was a moment and night which changed so much in our lives so irreversibly. Everyone, my grandfather, uncles, our mother and few others rushed, some to hospital and other to accident site to see my father who was returning from duty .We two brothers and one sister were locked in the room and I can never forget the scene of we all crying and shouting on the face of a window of the bedroom as we were abandoned alone. We didn’t know what actually had happened and is going on because of our too young age. In the morning I remember someone took me to hospital and the scene from the lap of someone on the foot side of my father’s bed whose head was completely wrapped in bandages with eyes turned swollen black and few people on his head side holding him back on bed as he was yelling and shouting owing to his serious head injury. Soon I was taken away from there and he was flown by chopper to Jammu called by the then DIG of Police Jammu Zone who also visited him to hospital. On the same day in afternoon people started coming to our ancestral home and shifting material from rooms. I didn’t know what this was all going on except the pain of the scene of my father’s injury-ridden bandage wrapped head and his shouting and yelling in hospital which I even today cannot forget. My father had actually breathed last on 21st only on way to GMC, Jammu. The next morning on 22nd April, 1985 I saw the dead body of my father in a departmental vehicle being brought down to our home and everyone crying and screaming. I still remember soon after his last bath as per Islamic rituals his round fair face in the coffin which was shown to me from the lap of someone and thereafter, subsequently guarded by a small police platoon his coffin being taken to the graveyard for the burial. He was given guard of honor and finally wrapped in tri-color buried with full state honors in our native village. He left behind his memories and family with tender age kids in a state of total shock and despair. It was completely devastating and too heavy a loss.
Our lives go on without you
But nothing is the same
We have to hide our heartache
When someone speaks your name
Sad are the hearts that love you
Silent are the tears that fall
Living without you is the hardest part of all
You did so many things for us
Your heart was so kind and true
And when we needed someone
We could always count on you
The special years will not return
When we are all together
But with the love in our hearts
You walk with us forever
My father died when he was below 29 years and I was only 5 years old in 1985. I don’t have too much of his memories except few his sights flashing in my memory as I was too tender at that time. Our crying and shouting on the window ,my pain of seeing his injured bandage wrapped head on the bed at hospital, his face in the coffin and his funeral are unforgettable till today. My mother told me that he loved so much his kids that he would come to home any time getting leave or chance without any consideration whether it was day or night, rainy or dry day and from any distance. She told me that I used to call him more often ’tilla’ than daddy and my father would love to hear this name from my mouth. We would very often urinate his clothes and he used to wash the feet of my sister in his rice plate .He always preferred to keep his family along and it was during his posting at Udampur that my birth took place. He loved me so much that he would very often say that he would not send me for schooling to keep me away from the burden and stress of schooling. He would love to hold us on his shoulders and to spend maximum time with us. At the time of his death he was living separately with his small family because of the marriage of his other brothers. We were the happiest family at that time before that dark night which tore all our dreams apart. He had just laid the foundation for his house and started its construction.
My father was the elder most son of my grandfather who was employed and shared the maximum responsibility of the family .His name was Ghulam Hassan but he was called “Lalla” by everyone in the family.He was well built, tall, fair and a smart energetic young man. He got first two employments in agriculture and jail police departments but because of his passion towards uniform he left both and joined only J&K Police. He played crucial role in providing the education and job to his brothers’ .He worked very hard for his family in those days when there were not too much resources and facilities available. All the family members would give him high regards and obey his directions .His sisters and brothers because of their love towards him would call him “lalla” and he always came up to their expectations.
After the sudden death of our father at our very tender age it changed everything for us. There was a whole change in our life. Despair and sorrow has taken the place of joy and happiness. The comfort was gone and we had forgotten our dreams. It was not same everything .There was pity towards us on everybody’s face and as we know after few days only we had to face the brunt and carry on the affairs of life. We faced very tough times and got the chance to know people better and closely. I would like to say proudly that our mother was the support that got us through this, but she was too focused on her personal grief for that. The following years were difficult. Every time we missed our father. It was a joyless and stressful childhood. Our mother would work for hours in the night for us because we had a separate home. The loss of our father met us with both good and bad people .Some people ignored us and there were some who encouraged us. Police department did everything which was possible and as per norms. Actually we were exposed to the real world that we are living in and different natured human beings, some kind and some other way round. With the passage of time we became more mature with the understanding of the fact that actually finally all of us have to die one day , though timing makes all the difference. Because our father died at a very young budding age which made the loss more heavier. He had dreams which he could not live to. We will remember our dad always who lived for us and pray to Almighty to accept his martyrdom of a very young age for a place in heavens.
(The author is SP, J&K Police)