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'Kids can't imagine happiness'

PTI | BySuman Tarafdar, New Delhi
Mar 24, 2005 05:03 PM IST

No Guns at My Son?s Funeral delves into the truths of Kashmiris today, writes Suman Tarafdar.

Q: What led you to write this book?
I have always been concerned about vulnerable children. Even when their pain is so huge, they are capable of caring for others, as I repeatedly experienced during the time I spent there. Wherever I went, the kids wanted to make me feel happy, comfortable. I wanted to give a voice to these kids.

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Paro Anand holds a copy of her book at a reading session in Delhi.

Q:The book deals largely with youngsters. Was that your target audience?
The book is written both for kids and adults. While the children of Kashmir are living under a lot of stress, kids in other parts of our country have little idea of what they are going through. And I hope that this book bridges this gap.

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Q: How has been the reaction from Kashmir, especially from the kids?
Very positive. The children feel helpless in the face of wrong, but also are conscious of the fact that it is wrong. And that gives me hope. More than anything else, I needed to write this to  reflect the hope that still lives among these people.

Kashmir’s children are as yet unable to imagine themselves in a happy situation. Wherever I went, the interaction was warm and the kids tried to make me feel comfortable, despite the enormous challenges and horrors of their own lives. Even though they smile, they are still nowhere near forgetting the horrors.

"Today we hear of Kashmir only in  the context of deaths – blasts, mines, killing.



What we forget is that there is life in these places too, and the people, more than anything else, most people want to get on with their disrupted lives.
"

However when we were creating the world’s longest newspaper, what touched me most was that the kids all wrote of wanting peace. None of them had a violent response, which pleased but also surprised me, given the atmosphere surrounding them.

Q: And the adults…
They were happy too. In the school in Budgam where I interacted in a workshop with children and teachers, all the teachers were immensely proud of the election and they all said they had voted.

Today we hear of Kashmir only in  the context of deaths – blasts, mines, killing. What we forget is that there is life in these places too, and the people, more than anything else, most people want to get on with their disrupted lives.

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