Sajad was just 8yrs old and he talked and behaved like a matured man. Sajad was born with his share of misfortune as his mother died while giving birth to him and thus isolated from the motherly love for his entire life. Sajad’s father Ali Mohammad didnt think of bringing a step-mother for his son but instead he himself took great care of him. They lived in a village called arigam that lies in the southern part of kashmir. The village is situated just a few miles away from the boundary separating India and Pakistan.
Ali used to work as a tourist guide for a travelling company but due to the start of freedom struggle in kashmir he had lost his job since the number of tourists visiting kashmir had dwindled considerably. Ali was now confronted with a great financial problem since he was jobless and also to his ill-luck he had no land to fill. Ali had only a small hut in which he and his son lived. Ali’s son sajad was a great concern for him because he wanted to give him the best education as he himself was illiterate and which was a stumbling block in his progress.
Sajad studied in the local government school and had made a good progress but what really hampered his further development was the fact that the school opened only for a few days in a month due to the hartal calls given by the separatist militant groups and to everybody annoyance during the school working days only a few teachers attended the school. Ali rebuked all these happenings but nobody gave ear to him. Ali was thinking off taking sajad out from that school but then where was he going to send him since the situation was same all over the kashmir. Ali’s friend gave him advice to send sajad to a boarding school but it required a handsome amount of money.
It was early October and the trees had shed their leaves and everything was dry and dusty. Ali was sitting under a chinar tree and thinking about how he could manage the money to send Sajad to a boarding school. Ali thought about borrowing money from a local contractor afzal and so he went to his house. Afzal too was financially crippled and he told ali that in these hard times he was not in a position to lend him money. Ali’s dreams were shattered and there seemed no way out.
During one dark night Ali and his son were taking their meals when they heard a knock on their door . Ali went up and opened the door and saw a few men clad in military uniform and having automatic rifles in their hands.They introduced themselves as Jihadees and Ali led them in.They told ali that they were going to spend the night in his house . In the morning Ali offered them a few loaves of bread and tea without milk for breakfast. Looking at the condition of Ali these militants told him that he could join them and in return he will be given monthly pay. Ali thought for a moment and then told them what his job would be as he was not trained in arms.
”Your job will be to carry our arms and ammunition from one place to another and also to carry our messages”.
Ali’s financial condition was too bad to let this chance slip from his hand and so he consented to their offer. Ali thus began working for them .A few months passed like this and Ali had amassed enough money to send his son to the boarding school but to his misfortune the roads were blocked with heavy snowfall and thus he had to wait for a few weeks and in the mean time he continued with his job which involved a lot of risk.
On the tenth of january the village Arigam was covered with dark clouds and a cold breeze was blowing from the north as if trying to carry some message to the world .In the hills a gun battle was going on between the separatist militants and the Indian army and it continued for many hours and after that there was complete scilence.The only cries that could be heard in the village were coming from Alis house.