No Man on God's Earth is a Nobody

“No man on God’s Earth is a nobody.”

This was what I read when I was in school. Sophie Kinsella said that in a very, what many would call, a trivial book, Twenties Girl. The quote of course doesn’t look something extraordinary but when we think of it, it is huge. Well, like many great things are - basic but huge, just being taken for granted.

Since last night, well, the Vale of Kashmir has been mourning the killing of renowned journalist, Editor in Chief of the newspaper Rising Kashmir – Dr. Syed Shuja’at Bukhari. It was indeed saddening; heart wrenching. Everyone around me who I knew was shocked by the news that he had been shot dead while leaving his office last night in his car. I was equally shaken.

I haven’t known him up close, but many I know have. And they are naturally very saddened by the news. He was an intellectual, as they say. A journalist of great mettle and calibre and by going through all the posts I have seen about him containing his recent tweet feed, it looked like he had been a staunch supporter of the Kashmir cause and was raising his voice against oppression in the valley. I do not know what anyone would have gained by having him murdered.

 The valley is in absolute lamentation about the loss it has had in his death. Everyone’s Facebook timeline, Twitter feed and WhatsApp stories have had a common theme since yesterday – the condolences and condemnation about his killing. But is there something we are missing?

There were two other people who were killed with him – his PSOs. One, who was killed in the car itself and another, who died at the hospital later. Not a single person is talking about them. Just like their life perhaps, their death was shadowed by someone ‘bigger’ than them. Even as they died, they continued to remain nobodies, because a ‘somebody,’ who they technically died for, was much more valued than them.

I do not deny that the death of Shuja’at Bukhari is a loss to the valley. Yes, we did lose someone who spoke for us and was doing a commendable job. It is extremely sad and it should be mourned. But all I say is, why isn’t the loss of those two young men being mourned? Why is just nobody talking about them? Why do we not see they too had been doing a commendable job of whatever they were assigned? They died for work too! If Shuja’at Bukhari was prized to us, they were just as valuable. They were after all, protecting someone that was valuable to Kashmir!

But we wouldn’t recognise their value. After all, they were just PSOs. Totally replaceable. Isn’t it? No! It isn’t. They were equally important to us despite the fact that they were no representatives of our people. Not everyone is supposed to do that! If everyone did the same job, who would do the rest? Just because they weren’t doing what we ‘perceive’ as valuable doesn’t mean that they ‘weren’t’ valuable to us. A trash collector is just as significant as a district collector. I dare you go a week without any of your trash being picked up by a trash collector. If a district collector doesn’t work for a week, it might not exactly bother you as much on a daily basis.

Those two guys weren’t nobodies. They were somebodies, too. And if you still fail to see their importance at large, know that they were somebodies to their kith and kin, at least.

While we do and must mourn the brutal killing of Dr Bukhari, we must with equal intensity of emotion, and maybe more, mourn the loss of those two young men. They are just as indispensable and they aren’t nobodies. Life has equal value for everybody.

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