In January last year (2019) 21 years old young rebel SYED RUBAAN
HUSSAIN – Commander Al- Badr was martyred along with his two
associates, while fighting Indian soldiers in disputed Jammu &
Kashmir’s Budgam – Hapatnar Char-E-Sharief area in an encounter
(which ran for almost 24 hours). Ruban’s Elder Brother Syed Tajamul
Imran pen’s down the experience with his brother and then miseries,
Pain and some Unbelievable Events which happened till Jan-2020 in
memories of his younger brother.
Few events change history and few storms shatter families. In
past thirty years of unending bloodshed storms have one after
another wreaked havoc on the families in Kashmir, while losing
their loved ones to violent conflict.
I belong to village “Nazneenpora”; a small hamlet in Distt
Shopian, on the banks of River Rambiara, as the romantic name
(Nazneen) of my village the “Gun” too has been romanticized
Since then Every evening, young boys sit in groups and talk
about ‘militants and guns’. This is how we all grew up.
But in mid-2000, after government-backed counter-insurgency
group Ikhwan, also known as renegades, became active, these
gun-talks became less frequent. After almost fifteen years lull,
during which hundreds of Jama’at-e-Islami cadre and
sympathisers were killed by Ikhwanis, the romance surrounding
the gun made a re-entry.
The new era of this armed struggle in my village started in 2015
when a father of two kids; Farooq Ahmad sheikh joined Hizb-ul-
Mujahideen. After Farooq, His name sake Farooq Ahmad
Hurrah and then Naveed an ex-Police Cop joined Pro-
Independence armed Rebel Groups to fight India.
=In 2011, I left home for studies while my younger brother
Ruban stayed with the family in Nazneenpora, Shopian. Ruban
was very close to our mother. Being kind hearted, Ruban would
participate in the marriage of poor and needy, just to help the
family. When I asked him why he does that, he said, “I feel
good to see their children happy. It gives me satisfaction to see
participate in their happiness.”
He was always sentimental when it came to plight of people in
conflict hit Kashmir.
In April 2018. I came home on vacations from Chandigarh.
Before I was supposed to leave for home I asked my brother if
he needs anything. After some days he responded. “I Need all 4
seasons of ‘Prison Break’, an American television series about
two brothers and their struggle to survive.” I did exactly the
same and came home. I set down with my brother and watched
all the four seasons with my younger brother Rubaan.
On, June 17, 2018, at 11:30 pm, an Indian-army party came to
our village and surrounded it from all sides. Then they entered
our house, and assembled us all in a room. They accused us of
harbouring Rebels in our house which was not the case. Then
after three hours of search, in which they searched all three
houses: ours and our uncles, they found nothing. Then to
everyone’s surprise, one of the army personnel slung his AK47
over Ruban’s shoulder and started clicking his pictures. That
very moment I feared I would lose him. When my mother and
other family members intervened, they started abusing them
all. In the meanwhile, I confronted the army officer and ask him
why they are harassing us. But one of his guards started beating
me ruthlessly. At this point, Ruban, told them that don’t harm
my brother as he knows nothing. “He stays outside Kashmir. He
is out of home since last 7 years,” Ruban told them. But this
was not the first time when Ruban was harassed. It all started
in September 2016, after Farooq Hurra joined Rebels to fight
india. Farooq was close friend of Ruban.
Ruban, who had ironically studied in Army Goodwill School,
was picked by JK-Police in January 2018 without any summon
or FIR. As usual I was outside the state at that time as well. But
when I came to know that Ruban was detained, I became
restless. After four nights and five days, with the intervention of
some friends of mine in police, as well as a few Pro-india
politicians, I succeeded in getting Ruban out. He has been
beaten ruthlessly and was not able to walk for a month. The
same day I talked to my mom and somehow convinced her to
send Ruban outside Kashmir. Finally Ruban came to
Chandigarh, where I was studying as well as doing a job.
Once in Chandigarh, Ruban showed me his deep wounds on his
left leg as well as on his back. He stayed with me for some 4
weeks, but during that period Indian-army from nearby camp
visited our home looking for him.
One day they asked my father to tell him (Ruban) to comeback.
With no option left, I left my job and came back with him to
Kashmir. I just wanted to keep my brother out of harm.
I was told that apart from JKP-s SOG cops, an Indian army man
from Ahagam camp, who calls himself Sher Khan has abused
and beaten Ruban on a number of occasions earlier.
That night, when I was beaten too, it was same Cop who
abused him and my other family members. It was him who put
his AK47 around Ruban’s shoulder and took pictures. I
remember he telling Ruban, “You have a beard, a cap on your
head and you pray five times. Then why don’t you join your
(militant) Friend Naveed?” Naveed was another Rebel from my
village who joined Hizb to fight India. He was recently arrested
with JKP’s DySP in Kulgam Distt of South Kashmir J&K.
=These continuous harassments have not only shattered our
family but pained Ruban too. Before his ordeal began Ruban
was known for his cricketing skills. He was one of the best
bowlers who had played in tournaments in Pulwama, Shopian,
Kulgam, Islamabad and other parts of north and central
After Burhan Wani’s killing, I remember, army forced lot of local
boys, especially from south Kashmir, to come and play in their
organised tournaments. Ruban was one among them. He was
taken by same Ahgam army camp and asked to play with other
team members. He was warned, if he will not come ‘anything’
can happen. Finally he went along with other boys to Ahagam
Goodwill School to participate in the tournament, without any
However, to everyone’s surprise Ruban’s team won the trophy.
Later Ruban told me that while receiving the winner’s trophy,
the army captain asked Ruban to return the same, as they have
to organize another tournament. They told Ruban that they
don’t have funds to get a new trophy. That evening, we all
laughed at the army and their behaviour.
Ruban too left
Just like others, who couldn’t bear unending scrutiny by J&K
police & Indian Army, Ruban too had enough and decided to
take the extreme step and join militancy.
On July 18, 2018, after offering evening prayers, Ruban came
home, took a bath and once again left for Isha (night) prayers.
This was his routine. So nobody suspected anything unusual.
Since he was first harassed, he used to stay at friends houses
for night-stayed quite often. So when that evening, Ruban
didn’t come home, we thought he might have stayed at some
friends home for the night. But that was not the case. But my
mother, who saw Ruban sensed something suspicious in his
behaviour as he wore a new pair of shoes for prayers. The next
day when he didn’t come and his phone was switched off, we
thought he might have been arrested again. As the news of
Ruban’s disappearance spread in the area, people started
pouring in at our house.
Two days later, I came across Ruban’s picture on facebook
where he was holding a gun in his hand. The writing attached
suggested that he had joined a little known rebellion outfit
called Al Badr. I was instantly shattered. I now knew for sure
that we have lost Ruban forever.
And then we lost Ruban.
= As tragedy had since long time now got address of my Nation
with Young Buds joining rebel ranks and being martyred, with
my younger brother Syed Ruban joining the rebel ranks tragedy
became more personified.
RUBAN used to say, ‘Some wounds don't heal’ to which I always
would often reply: ‘Time heals every wound’ but the wound
which he gave me, Time proved him right.
Monday – 21 st January 2018. An encounter was going on
between Pro-independence Armed rebels and Indian army in
Hapatnar Charar-e-Sharif Budgam Distt of Indian Administrated
The day had started as normal working day for me but some
unease vibes were clearly there in my heart. From morning I
have faced sea of emotions and mountains of pain. During that
day many News portals, publications had reported on the same
encounter with some deaths but by afternoon denied any
confirmed deaths, but by evening it was reported three Rebels
were Gunned down in that encounter. The events began to
take dramatic turn for me on the late evening of day when I
was accompanying my friend to Noora Hospital, by pass
Srinagar and Suddenly at 7: 50 pm a friend of Ruban called that
he could be one among them. The call took my breathes away.
After an hour an army officer had called my father that Ruban is
among the fighters and the encounter is going on. With this
news family had gone helter skelter to look for dead body in
Pulwama, Shopian police stations as asked an Indian army cop.
Meanwhile as I got more sure about dreadful news of Ruban I
began to get calls subsequently from army, CID and police
officials that it is not Ruban but I began to judge with surety
that something is surely wrong with my heart Ruban. The night
proved a million night affair for me and a call at 2:00 AM from
CID official made me sure we have lost Ruban.
In a night without food, water and senses at 2 ,I along with a
friend started journey to Chadoora police station and at 2:30
Am when we reached there we were told that there was no
dead body of any killed Rebel there, and same tone was
repeated at 3:00 Am at Budgam police station.
The time in between was filled for me with tears and
frenziness, Next day at 6:45 Am when I reached the police
control room, the building which has symbolized horror for
families for collecting dead bodies, but here too more tyranny
and misfortune were waiting for me.
At 8 the police at the gates of PCR – Police control room, told
that you cannot go inside as officials have yet come, finally
after my pleas when at 9 I was allowed I had first glare at Ruban
shoes which we had bought for him few weeks back during his
That Day I remember, From 7 to 4 in order to get my beloved to
home the two officials I remained in constant touch to get body
of my brother back were The then JKP’s IG; SP. Pani and SSP
Srinagar Imitiyaz Ismail parray both were cooperative and
especially IG Pani called me every time back I called. They had
always told me you will get dead body back in five to ten
minutes but those five minutes turned nine hours.
Meanwhile, Some SP south probably by name Chidambaram
(Non local police officer) was very rude in approach towards me
at Police control Room, they had also taken the Killed Rebels
watch’s, clothes and I was asking them to give the same to me,
so that I can take my brother with his belongings. Finally with
the intervention of SSP Srinagar I got the things as well but
ensured that things of other two fighters are given to me as
well, which I later gave to their relatives. These things are
treasures for us as they will give us fragrance of our Hero’s.
I could also see visibly enough that by rope the bodies of all
three rebels including my brothers were dragged as I can see
clear painful marks of same, and my brother Ruban had six
bullets pierced, few in heart, few in chest all giving me death
feeling of hopelessness.
On my facebook posts since morning in killing of my brother
and not giving body back immediately friends from media,
lawyers, students remained with me throughout the horror day
which had come in life after horror night.
At about 4:30 pm when we took the body of Ruban back one
police vehicle escorted us, which then returned back once
jurisdiction of South Kashmir started. Finally at 7:30 PM when
we reached home, relatives, neighbours all joined us in
mourning and wailing. As we reached late in the evening, I
talked with my parents and It was decided that funeral would
be held tomorrow morning on Wednesday, 23 January 2018.
We took Ruban last time to house. My sisters, father, mother,
Aunties and Uncles spend night together with speechless Ruban
in our arms. My mother during night took Ruban one last time
in his loving lap and cuddled him all night .
As Dawn break my heart broke into billion pieces along with
other family members it was time for departure of Ruban from
house towards funeral and the process started at 8:30 AM with
about ten funerals offered till 1:15 PM in day before we rested
A year after
= In November this year, it had been some ten months since I
answered the phone call that night only to find out that my
little brother had passed away. I sat down to watch the fifth
season of ‘Prison Break’.
Since the end of fourth season a lot has happen Ruban left into
the woods, picked up a gun and came home dead. In my story,
Rubaan is my hero.
I still recall at the end of fourth season of ‘Prison Break’ when
the younger brother ‘Michael Schoffield’ dies, Ruban told me
that he will resurrect in the following season. He was sure no
story can go on without its hero. But I didn’t believe him then.
It was May 2018. The months that followed saw Rubaan get
pushed into a world from where he had little chance of return.
In July that year, Rubaan finally took the decision and joined
rebels to fight India. He was just 21. Being elder brother I did
my best to get him back.
But, after many efforts, I realized that Rubaan has chosen his
path, and coming back for him was not an option anymore. I
kept trying anyways. Like the elder brother “Linken Borros’ in
that television series, I too couldn’t give up on my little brother.
Every night I went to bed with fear and hope. Fear, that he
might not come back, and hope that he will one day. But I knew
very well, in the end my fear will overcome my hope.
We were more than just siblings. Or that is what every sibling
thinks, I guess. We grew up together in Nazneenpora, a small
village surrounded by apple orchards and Indian army
garrisons. I used to ask my Grandparents and Parents why our
village is called so. They would tell me that Nazneen meant
beloved and pora is for area in local parlance. In early 1990s,
Dozens of young boys from Nazneenpora and neighboring
villages crossed over to Pakistan for arms training to fight India.
They came back with a new beloved: AK-47 assault rifles.
As a child I remember hearing stories from my father and
uncles about young boys parading narrow village alleys with AK
47 rifles on their shoulder. I sometimes recall description of
their dreamy eyes that got shut before they could see the dawn
of Aazadi. Their eyes were no different from that of Rubaan’s, I
= To me Rubaan was everything. We were more like best
friends who cannot manage without each other. When I was
away in Chandigarh, it was Rubaan who took care of family
chores and kept everyone in good humour. When he was
around, my absence was not felt much in family matters, as he
was mature enough to take care of everything. Before he
became a Rebel to fight India, he was often pained by the
ordeal of subjugated and needy. It was perhaps in his nature to
feel the pain of others.
I recall how he struggled for days to collect money for a young
girl suffering from Lungs Diseases. It pained him a lot to see her
in such a miserable state. The girl was a local rebel’s daughter.
But I am sure he would have done the same for any ordinary
But I am sure he didn’t choose the path of gun for with all the
clarity that it needs. In fact, Rubaan had no time to think as
Indian Army persons were always on his tail.
They didn’t let him live him in peace even when he was nobody.
I had never seen Rubaan so angry and helpless in his entire life,
as he was when Indian soldiers beat me that night on 17 th july
2018. He couldn’t bear that sight. Long after my scars were
gone, he carried them in his heart.
When he left, a part of me also left with him.
= I recall once when we fought and my dad, as punishment,
ordered us to stay away from each other. It was painful despite
knowing that Rubaan slept in next room, sound and healthy.
After a few days, Rubaan quietly crept into my room and
slipped next to me. It was really hard to part us, but not for the
cruel hands of destiny.
= Almost a year after Rubaan got killed in a gunfight with Indian
Army, I sat down to watch fifth season of the Prison Break. It
was my first time to watch this series without Rubaan. In the
very first three episodes of Fifth season, the main hero gets
resurrected. His elder brother opens the grave only to find it
empty. This particular scene where the elder brother opens the
grave touched me. I began thinking for days that what if
Rubaan is not in his grave. What if he too is somewhere safe
like ‘Michael Schoffield’- the protagonist of that American TV
series? What if he has managed to fool us all and get out
There were many what ifs in my mind now. This thought got
magnified as Rubaan’s memories began pinching.
In Mid-November, Rubaan started to came in my father’s
dream. He told him that, ‘I am not feeling well in my grave.
There is something which disturbs me in the grave.’
My father did not react instantly. However, a few days later my
mother narrated a similar dream. And then one of my aunt too.
Then I too saw my brother in my dream and he told me to get
him new clothes. He also told me that his right arm is wet in his
grave and he is not feeling comfortable.
It had been raining for a few days and Rubaan said the water is
getting in his grave.
After such dreams became regular we approached few religious
scholar who told to wait rather than rush to open the grave.
On Nov. 30. I was supposed to visit my home in Nazneenpora
but due to month ending (closing) got busy with my job in
That day I reached my rented apartment late at night. As I was
tied, I tried to get some sleep. But I couldn’t, as I was feeling
restless. To overcome it, I offered prayers.
Finally I went to sleep. Once again Rubaan came in my dreams.
This time he was angry.
He said, “How many times I told you get me new clothes. But
you don’t. Now I will tell my father again.”
Next morning without breakfast, I started travelling back to
home. I visited home in Nazneenpora and straightaway went to
Rubaan’s grave. I felt that the grave is not in its position, or the
way it should have been.
I quickly rushed to our orchard where my father was working. I
told him about my dream. After consulting religious scholars we
decided to open the grave.
I quickly called Rubaan’s friends one-by-one, as I wanted them
to be present. But they were not available on such a short
notice. The only one present was the one who had missed
Rubaan’s funeral in January. Whenever he visited our house, he
would regret not joining his funeral. He carried this regret since
then in his heart. When I called him that day, he quickly rushed
to my home. This was a rare chance for him to see his friend
one last time.
Surrounded by friends and relatives, we finally opened
Rubaan’s grave. To everyone’s surprise Rubaan’s body was
almost in the same condition, as it was buried some eleven
months back. Even I could notice that his right arm still carried
blood marks where he was hit by bullets.
We realized that everything he had told us in our dream was
true. Rainwater was actually seeping into his grave. His body
was wet from one side, as he had complained.
In presence of religious scholars, Family members, His friends
and elders we put a fresh shroud over his old one. Then my
father suggested that we should bury him in our ancestral
graveyard, just a few meters away. But, it was Rubaan’s wish to
be buried next to his childhood friend – Farooq Ahmad Hurra; a
rebel who got martyred two years before Rubaan. So we dug a
new grave on the right side of his friend and laid him to rest
there. Earlier he was buried on his left side.
At around mid-night we finally reached home. My restlessness
was gone to an extent. But the pain of losing Rubaan is still
there. It will never go away.
Since Rubaan is gone, my mother keeps an extra plate during
each meal for him. It has become a routine. The plate reminds
us of his absence. But it also helps us connect with him.
Really some wounds don't heal.His cricket kit, books on
computer world, love for fashionable shoes will always haunt
me whenever I dare to open his room.
I am in billion tears pray for my solace, Nothing more to write
nothing more to say I along with family stand shattered.
I know there is no way to bring my brother back as he lies
peacefully in his grave. But those who are alive have to carry
the burden of life till we meet again.
I used to think
that there was no sound
I hated more than
until the day
you stopped calling
just to tell me that you miss me,
to tell me how your day went.
Till the day you stopped calling,
and I stopped hearing your voice.
It all stopped and here I am,
realizing that now, probably, there is no sound
I hate more than
the silence of the dial tones and the phones
that just don't ring anymore.
Poem by Syed Tajamul Imran | Instagram/Fb/Twitter – @syedtajamulimran
(Syed Tajamul Imran is a Kashmir-based story teller, an ace Columnist, writing for many coveted
media houses of South Asia. STI is elder brother of Syed Rubaan (Commander Al-Badr), who
achieved martyrdom, while fighting with indian government forces at Central Kashmir’s Budgam
district. He can be reached at [email protected] )
Syed Tajamul Imran