Let me begin with the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.” Who else these words describe better than Syed Shujaat Bhukhari, an efficient system builder, an able professional, a humble man and a great son of the soil.
In contemporary times many people describe writers, authors, journalists and columnists as keyboard tigers. The working of many of such men proves this allegation right for they waver with the slightest movement of wind. They tread the easiest of the paths and avoid all the inconveniences in their professional and personal lives. For them truth is a sellable commodity and they sell it whenever they get a price. But, Shujaat Bhukhari was a different breed, with a different mettle.
His assassination on 14th of June, 2018 proves him as a real tiger that was feared by many for his steadfastness as a true soldier of the truth. His writings, columns, voices and words struck some people so hard that they thought it better to silence him than to face him. Hence, there may be present many people who can genuinely called as keyboard, or paper, tigers but the killing of Shujaat Bhukhari proved him as a man of courage, conscience and bravery. The traits he possessed are rarely found in majority of the men in the field of journalism and in other areas of life. He was always ready to sacrifice everything, including his life, for the sake of the truth.
He lived like a warrior and died as a martyr for the truth. In him Kashmir has lost a noble son, and Kashmiris their well wisher and their voice. The void and vacuum that has been created by his death is hard to be filled, if it is filled ever. His unwavering attitude and fight for the truth is the reason why he faced the untimely death as otherwise the whole world was calling him to be their guest. He chose to be the voice of his people, to anoint the wounds of his people with the balm of love, to end the sufferings of Kashmiri by standing with them and for them always and to resolve the deadly conflict which is consuming the lives of people like the wild fire turns living trees into ashes.
Here it is not intended to present him as an angel who could not commit any wrong. He was a human like most of us and alongwith the great positive human traits he might have had some weaknesses as well but like all great men he kept those weaknesses in check. He never allowed the weak part of him to blur the courageous him. Courage was personified in him and the weaknesses that he might have had became weaker and weaker with the growth in the stature of this great man.
They say during the times of universal deceit saying a word of truth is a revolutionary act. In our times of universal deceit where every other person is ready to deceive us, Syed Shujaat Bhukhari was the one who stood against all the deceivers, and deceptive actions. He spoke not only one word but his every word was directed to belie the falsehood and promote the truth. In that sense his every word was a call for revolution and every act a revolutionary act.
Besides being a warrior of truth, he supported and promoted other warriors, and potential warriors. He groomed them to become capable soldiers and partners in his fight for the truth. This is the reason why Rising Kashmir was able publish its edition on the 15th of June 2018 amidst the gloom they were in. This was a commendable job for which the staff and management of this paper deserves to the congratulated alongwith the feeling of sympathies and empathies towards them.
All the new writers and columnist were welcomed by Shujaat Bhukhari and encouraged and appreciated. They were provided ample of space and were invited to have face to face interactions so that the flame of passion for writing in them is not doused but instead is fuelled to keep going all throughout their lives. The reaction of all the people who have contributed for his institution in the form of writings has amply demonstrated that.
In his death they have lost a mentor, a guide, a hero and a role model. All of them consider it a personal loss of immense repercussions. The reactions of these people, on whichever forum, brings to the fore the status and stature that Shujaat Bhukhari had acquired in life. He had created a distinct and people centric identity for himself amidst the other identities to which he could have been easily associated with. He would give an impression to every person who meets him that the person is the most special person for him. These traits in him would really be missed by all the people he groomed.
About the competitors in his professional field, the reactions of these competitors against the death say it all. Keeping professional competition intact, the competitors have lost a friend. They have lost a colleague who would always remain besides them, and they beside him. Theirs was a healthy competition where harming others was nowhere thought of. The way these competitors worked to raise the standards of journalism, and living standards of journalists, is really a great service towards the profession.
Above all the services he rendered towards the oppressed masses of Kashmir are immense. He stood for the people of Kashmir in all the circumstances. He became their voice at all the stages and places where he got the chance to speak. He didn’t stop with the speaking of words and facts about the pathetic plight of the people but invested sincere efforts to end their sufferings and pain, to heal their wounds and end the conflict which has made the life and property of this land vulnerable to the vultures of destruction. He was a light in the darkest of the periods of night in which we are passing through. This light has been turned off by the forces of darkness to the dismay and disadvantage of the poor people of Kashmir.
His contributions towards the cultural and social field of life of Kashmir are also immense. He worked tirelessly to improve the standard of Kashmiri language and the overall cultural landscape of Kashmir. He left no areas of life untouched and he contributed wherever he found an opportunity to do so. Betterment of Kashmir was his dream and he lived to realize that dream and he died for the dream. He without doubt will go down as one of the great warriors in the annals of Kashmiri history.
Irreparable loss is the death of this great warrior; it is next to impossible to compensate the death of Syed Shujaat Bhukhari. But, yes but, the men of such stature are killed but not silence. Their voices come back in one or the other farm. The voice of Shujaat Bhukhari will keep hunting his killers and will keep striking them harder than when he was alive.
As for as his followers, admirers, competitors in the profession and students are concerned Shujaat Bhukhari for them today is a more powerful force than he was during his life time. They have made it a mission to accomplish his unfulfilled mission. In Shujaat Bhukhari’s death many more Shujaat’s have already been born which is the sign of a great institution that he was. He will remain always there as a beacon light for the people of Kashmir to accomplish their mission of peace. He will always be missed but he will never remain absent.
Fayaz Ganaie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org