Painting the rebel
Mushaal Mullick, wife of Yasin Malik, one of Kashmir's top separatist leaders, tells me there’s a special condition in their nikahnama (marriage contract).delhi Updated: Jan 16, 2010 23:39 IST
Mushaal Mullick, wife of Yasin Malik, one of Kashmir's top separatist leaders, tells me there’s a special condition in their nikahnama (marriage contract). “It says this is our first and last marriage. I introduced it,” smiles Mullick.
It’s one of the few things that bind the couple, that’s otherwise conspicuous by their differences. Starting with their names.
“I spell ‘Mullick’ differently, I hope you got it right,” says Mullick, referring to the last name she shares with her husband Yasin Malik.
At 24, she is every bit the chirpy, upwardly mobile youngster who loves to visit malls, is completing an external degree from the London School of Economics and is eager to exchange her Facebook id with me. He is the militant-turned-politician, who speaks brusquely and has barely completed his high school.
And then, there’s Kashmir. “I want to paint all the Sufi shrines in Kashmir where we went for our spiritual honeymoon,” she quips, carefully pouring the evening tea in white china cups.
Malik lifts one of them, takes a sip and speaks of a very different land -- of “silent sufferers” of the valley and, the need for a non-violent democratic movement. “Kashmir has seen a transition, from a purely militant movement since 1988 to one based on non-violent democratic means. Violence has decreased by 90 per cent,” says the resident of a “mud house” in Maisuma,in uptown Srinagar.
Today, Malik is a regular at peace conferences, and last week, it was the India-Pakistan conference at the IIC; butprotests by angry Kashmiri Pandits made it a difficult evening. “I am a misconstrued person, and will remain so. Many love me and many hate me,” he says.
Away from politics, Mullick says it’s their common love for poetry and art that brought them closer. “In four years, we met only twice. The match was fixed by the parents in Haj, since his parents didn’t have a passport.” And their dreams about Kashmir: his last to see one free of violence, and her first, to paint it all.