Dark Reality

  • Altaf Baba
  • Publish Date: Jan 5 2017 8:22PM
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  • Updated Date: Jan 5 2017 8:26PM
Dark RealityFile Photo

Amir Kabir's pain is unique. The resident of downtown Baramulla has the tragic distinction of being the first Kashmiri to be blinded by pellets fired by the security forces. That was back in 2010.

Amir was injured when security forces fired pellet guns into a protest demonstration in the town. The pellets pierced through his retina, and he lost vision in both eyes. Successive surgeries failed to recover even 5% of his vision.

He might have stood a better chance if not for delays due to lack of financial support in the early stage of his treatment. That he was the first such victim only made it worse: doctors at the Srinagar hospital he was first taken to couldn't decide whether he needed specialised treatment outside the state or not.

“I was told at hospitals in both Chennai and Delhi that had there not been delays, chances of regaining some vision may have been better. But that opportunity is lost. There is nothing a specialised treatment can do now,” Amir says.

It is a much different life now. Before that fateful day in 2010, Amir was an aspiring portraitist, nursing a desire to unleash his imagination on a larger canvas. If not a portraitist, he might have become a singer; he was good at it.Now, Amir says, he can barely hold a pencil on his own; ambition and desire are meaningless, even life itself feels so sometimes.

This despite having a rock of a family for support, and friends and relatives. Indeed, two years ago, a girl in his relation even chose to marry him despite his disability. Amir says it was the most joyous occasion of his life, it brought cheer in the darkness. Recently, the couple were blessed with a boy.

It was the one moment when Amir says he began to dream about life again. Recalling that day, Amir says when he heard the good news, he rushed to the hospital to get a look at his child as any father would. “I took my child in my lap to see him. I wiped his face with my hand. I opened my eyes wide trying to see his face but I was defeated by the darkness in front of my eyes,” Amir says, wistfully.

“There is no desire left in me now. There's darkness everywhere. Sometimes I want to cry loudly but I know if I lose courage, my parents will break. I am living for them. I am living for my wife and my son. I have pinned all my hopes on my child now; I watch this world through their eyes,” he says, sighing.

The upsurge in the number of young boys and girls injured by pellets in the ongoing protests across Kashmir hasdeeply distressed Amir. “I have always wished that what happened to me should never happen to anybody but hearing about these brothers and sisters who have lost their vision because of pellets makes me so sad. I think there’s nobody who can feel what they must be going through right now as well as I do.”

“The only thing that can give them some hope for survival,” Amir says, “is support from family and friends”. “I hope good people in our society do not leave them alone.”