No Guns at my son’s funeral
Kashmir! Is it a paradise? Or a perdition? Or is it just an illusionary fallacy to people like you and me? Every time, when Kashmir appears in newspapers, it carries its inevitable curse bloating its very significance of once ago heaven. So, How about the people there? What is their life all about? Is it different from the rest or is peculiar for the guns that shed their dreams, aspirations and above all their destiny? Mirage! Or, bliss?
Puro Anand, in her thirteenth book “No Guns at my son’s funeral”, strives to find the lost answers. She has a fable, not a fairy one though, a raw reality that takes you on a journey through the Eden valleys, depicting every slip of it naked and provoking. This is a story of a boy, who was supposed to be innocent and sinless which he faithfully pretends behind a dour veil of a dangerously dubious life, who is just a next door kid, unless it gets dark outside because then, he mingles with the vultures of darkness only to make the paradise – his own heaven – gory. This story has ‘Aftab’ (the protagonist), his mentor ‘Akram’ and his sister ‘Sazia’.
Aftab hero-worships his mentor and is very eager or perhaps desperate to earn a respectable place, a place of a man, in his eyes. Akram is a terrorist, shrewd, scheming and calculative who lives only to kill. He says “I kill because I love it.” Aftab has a small family: a caring and suspicious mother, a demanding younger brother, an overtly outrageous father, and persuading Sazia who is dramatically mysterious and secretive. Besides, he has one other family –a family of terrorists. And he lives torn between them, harboring love for one and awe for another. Each has its temptation. Each has its repercussion. Which way he chose to? Or rather, he didn’t really choose but fell prey to the circumstances? “The cause lives on” supports Sazia. Perhaps, he just conflated with the cause assuming it holy and must. Ah! How easy it is to drive men?
And, together, they, the depraved trinity, weave equations to resonate with echoes of the valley: Jehad…
Puro Anand’s candid tale incites an awesome trance of complexity raised beyond the rubbles of simplicity – a rare, mundane simplicity. Here, life means blood. And you got to behave “MAN” by not doing it differently but by doing entirely different. Her simple and eloquent words iterate the helplessness and inutility of one who is lost to false dreams, to false hands.
More than anything else, this is a story of a mother who lost her son; a sister who lost her brother; a wife who lost her man and a ‘movement’ that has forsaken its métier to the cannons of fire. And with so many mothers of valley, mourning their sons, this whaling saga effectively connects with reality, growing from a small, unknown suburb in Kashmir to toll a national alarm asking “whose fault was it?”
The book primarily targets teens but adults, at least the ignorant ones, must read it once for sometimes reality reincarnates into fallacy. And by the time, we understand, it might be too late.
This book is a kind of a “reality fiction” that renders an undone cause assaying its abandoned attention. From all of us?
Can we save our paradise from guns? Can we? … Would the cause live on?