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You and I Belong to a Shameful Race

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Not long ago my morning-jogs would unsettle me to the point of disturbing my entire day instead of cheering it up. The road I took would be a site of massacred millipedes (the paisa insect that curls up when you touch it). There would be at least one or two of them – crushed and lifeless – every five steps. But what disturbed me more than their death was the insignificance of it. Their lives or deaths meant nothing to the people passing by crushing them as they walked or drove on their two-wheelers. Even more disturbing was that these were the well-educated people who think that they lead clean lives, never committing legal or moral crimes. 
Why can we not think of these millipedes as babies we tend to, the babies who do not know it’s not safe to go out on a road? If a baby crawled onto a street, the entire traffic would come to halt. Uproar will emerge. The very same people who carelessly crush the millipedes would be angry at the carelessness of the baby’s parents. They would take t…

Kashmir - the Wounded Beauty

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I grew up listening, reading and watching in movies about the wounded land of Kashmir. Recently, on my very first tour, I got to experience the tension. From what I gathered from the locals, the issue I witnessed wasn't directly caused by terrorism, but was a byproduct of it, much like the side-effect of a life-saving medicine. It was a clash between the locals and the soldiers placed there to protect us against terrorism.
It started like this - a few days before I arrived in Srinagar, the reason that has been all but forgotten now started a riot. A young Muslim man got killed in the firing opened by CRPF Jawans. The angry crowd returning from his funeral attacked the CRPF posts and a couple more died. And it set off the chain reaction that was about to blow out of proportion.
I was given to understand that the reason behind this animosity between the guardians and the guarded had been building up for a decade. When a locality of simple residents who feed on common trades gets th…