The story is developed in this background. The youth of Kashmir who are now trained in combat come into conflict with the armed forces posted in there. What both parties fail to comprehend is that in their personal wars the innocent Kashmiris are caught in the cross fire. The local population is most affected and live their lives in continued misery. They become prisoners in their own homeland and spend their days in eternal fear. From there the road is simply one of violence, abduction and murder.
The youth of Kashmir who had taken up arms are met with a less than graceful fate. Many are arrested while many more are killed. The ordinary citizens too start to disappear in large number. The official estimate, though hardly humble, is only a small portion of the actual number. People continue to lose their loved ones without any fault of their own. Women continue to wait for their husbands to come back home but they never do. The status remains undefined as no one knows what happened to them. This led to the emergence of a new segment in society-that of women whose husbands are simply missing and there is no information whatsoever. These women came to be known as the half widows. This isn’t where the story ends but is where it all starts as their struggle for their loved ones continue.
The author Shafi Ahmad was born in Kashmir and has lived most of his life there. He presently serves as Sub Editor in a bi-lingual daily in Srinagar. He has already published a collection of Urdu Inshaia. This is the author’s debut novel in English.
Book: The Half Widow
Author: Shafi Ahmad
Publishing Date: 2012
Publisher: Power Publishers