The result of Danish (Mehraj ud Din Lone) tells painful tales of how summer of 2016 has affected us. Danish, as he was called at home, was a bright student and wanted to make his parents proud. “He was first-class in studies,” his family recalled. “He would never roam around or come to a nearby playground but would instead study after school and later teach us too.”
On August 31, Danish, whose official name is Mehraj-u-Din Lone, had gone from his home in Nadihal village in search of his younger brother Aqib to the Sopore fruit market.
“Vendors used to sell fruits in the mandi (market) from 6 to 8 am, but that day police and army stopped them from entering the market and asked to come after 9 am,” says Manzoor Ahmad Lone, Danish’s father. “They wanted to show (restoration of) normalcy by opening the mandi during the day time.”
“As soon as Danish heard about some vendors being thrashed, he joined other villagers to march towards Sopore,” Lone recalled. “But the army stopped the villagers near Ladoora (village) and opened fire on them.”
Danish was hit and died on the way to hospital.
The diary of Danish, his formal name Mehraj-ud-din Lone, was the hidden treasure of his life. He was still learning to compose poetry, practising it, and the poems he decided to set down in writing reveal his fine grasp of human relations. He is full of empathy, and concern, affection, fidelity for his family, his friends, with strangers and public figures such as Burhan Wani – the private poet finding his social life in the bond of thoughts, emotions, language.
In memory of Burhan Wani, Danish had penned down a verse in Kashmiri:
“Che osukh gatjaaruk noor Burhano, koruth insaniyatuk naav aeli shaan Burhano:
Zaelim hatavni kith kornak Qudratan paida, che loguth deen o eemanas raech karun Burhano
(You were the light of sagacity, Burhan; you elevated the humanity, Burhan
God created you to end tyranny; you became the guardian of the faith)
Danish was punctual in prayers. His only goal was to read more and more. He used to bolt his room and study up to 3am. Danish was a brilliant student and very few people know him in his village, but he was very much friendly and always carried a smile on his face. Believe me, he was more of an angel,” said Mudassir Ahmad Lone, one of Danish’s friends, adding, “For the past one-and-a-half month he was giving tuition classes free of cost at his residence.”
Days after his death, when his mother starting serving food to her kids, out of habit she put a plate for Danish also. “Memories will haunt me forever,” she said.
In a poem dedicated to his mother, Danish writes,
“Mother! There is difference between promise and memories. Promises we break and memories break us.”
“Today, the memories of Danish are breaking us,” sighed Aaqib Manzoor, Danish’s younger brother.
In what appears to be the latest piece written by Danish in Urdu, titled Azadi (freedom), is the call: “Bullets will fly but you have to remain steadfast.”
The last words in the diary, resonant and eternal:
“Hum Kya Chahtey – Azaadi
Aayi Aayi – Azaadi
Woh Phooloun Waali – Azaadi…
Goli bhi Chaley Gi – Azaadi
Darna Kaisa – Azaadi
Lalkaar Kay Bolo – Azaadi”