The division of Balochistan between the three neighboring countries Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan by the British colonial power took place without regard for ethnic groups and their distribution. It is the cause of a conflict that continues to this day.

Balochistan is rich in natural resources, but it is one of the poorest regions of the three countries. On May 28, 1998, at 3:16 a. m. local time, Pakistan tested five nuclear bombs in the Shaghi Mountains of Balochistan Province, causing many environmental disasters and diseases in Balochistan Province.

The Baloch people continue to preserve their cultural identity and stand up for their rights.

With his narrative style and touching images, author Haneef Shareef revives the memory of Balochistan and lets the reader enter a place dominated by high mountains, date trees, sea, flocks of birds and freedom. In the two narratives, he writes down his long history and his hard path of quiet resistance.

The Plastic Kite

 

 

Photo: Haneef Shareef|

The tension between Hamas and Al-Fatah has escalated, announced BBC. But nothing was uttered about the war which was going at homeland. Every nook and corner of mountains were blowing with bombs. All the cars which transported goods were stopped. They were restricted by the army for almost eight hours. Nobody said anything, and just stayed like statues, except a narrow horn of a car, everything then turned utterly standstill.

For all the day, I was waiting for the cars to come. But then as I got up, the cars also arrived. Bahot informed me that Mazar has brought flour from Iran and some books of Ahmad Shamlou, but the books of Iranian poets were seized.

I then found myself listening to a song from radio. Of course the government channel. I was standing near the window and looking towards the mountains which were widely extended as far my sight could reach. I just wondered how many statues could be there in the mountains and for how long they have been there and how many new statues were made in previous days. Meanwhile a flock of pigeons numbering ten to fifteen appeared; flying above the city. Below those pigeons, there were some white kites, all made of plastic.

Ahmad Shamlou; I exclaimed. Then I decorated a smile on my face and wondered that this time our magazine will lack materials regarding Iranian Balochistan. Then I left the window and came near the table. The teacup was unmoved, but tea was cool. The inkpot was unlid and two drops of ink were dried on the table. The pen was unlid too and its nib was dried. I checked it, but it did not work. I dipped it into the inkpot and it started working. Where is its lid; I searched thoroughly, and eventually found it under the table. I took up the scattered books, the inkpot and the register and put them in the bookcase. 

Previous night was exhaustive. I had to work till late night. Actually till the end of the month I had to send the magazine to Karachi, so that it would get published sooner as possible. Composing was almost accomplished, except some write-ups and two short stories, which were already checked by Homar. All I had to do for the whole night, was to give a proof reading. Once or twice electricity went off. Twice or thrice the wind opened the window. And once a cat entered from the opened door. Besides all this, it was I, the proof reading and yes; the rain. It rained all night, but I was heedless of it. When I got up at morning, there wasn't any rain. After putting the books in the bookcase, I took up the radio which was hanging beside the bookcase, turned it off and put it on the table. Then I just realized that I had to translate the short stories of Fuentes. I sought the book and put it on the table. Now on the table there was  a dip pin, some white pages, the radio and Fuetes. Radio was turned off. It was previously fixed on government channel and it still was; something that made me furious, at least for sake of nothing. I quickly started shuffling it until it sticked somewhere between blank noice. But still I gave it full volume. The room was then all over filled with blank noise. The noise was so loud that I didn't even realize when Nako Ismail has come to my room. I turned the radio off, welcomed him and discovered him of his health. 

How are you doing with asthma, said I? 

He did not reply me and as usual asked me of Kohi. I consoled him and told him that I don't know where Kohi is, but one thing I must say; where ever Kohi is, but with thought of you. He burst into tears and with a sorrowful cry he informed me that the fire has informed him of an ill omen about Kohi. I am afraid if he is suffering from bad health or he is in a danger situation. I didn't laugh at his statement, because I knew that this old man of almost 70 years has never stretched his legs or either his finger towards the fire. However, I remember of him saying to me once, that he has put the dust of his feet in the fire, so that he wouldn't be able see the picture of Kohi, all out of anguish. So I laughed too much at that. But then everything turned over and nothing was left for laughter.

The war was turning even more devastating after every next day. And then I don't know how many Nako Ismails have kept coming across my office, to discover; when will Kohi come. When will he return!

Maybe somebody had told him that I knew the people of mountain. (People of mountain; is a common phrase, indigenously used for those who have  rebelled and have gone for fighting in the mountains) But I only knew Kohi, who has gone to mountains; gone for fighting and was gradually becoming a statue.

I also knew that Nako Ismail was suffering from asthma; that he does not go to government hospital, fearing that people wouldn't say that Kohi's father has sought help from government hospital. And when asthma attacks him, he would instead take dust of Shay Nojwan's grave and wrap it to his hand as an amulet.

When in the room, it was utter silence, there was a pen on the table, some white papers, Fuentes and only the radio. Nako Ismail had just left the room. And what I observed; this time Nako Ismail had wrapped the amulet to his right hand instead of the left. I knew that last night he had undergone from asthma. Last night combat between Hamas and Al-Fatah had also escalated. Last night war in our mountains had also initiated. And yes, last night it had rained too.

 

Then it was me, observing the city from the window. The vehicles were rushing. It was noice and crowd all over. Then I earnestly looked at the sky. There weren't any pigeons anymore. But the plastic kites were still flying and dancing. I smiled and took up the pen and started translating Fuentes' short story.

 

 

 

 

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