Stories My Grandmother Told Me – 19

Your father fled first. He went into the mountains on the outskirts of Jaghori before making his way to Pakistan. We were left behind.

After your father fled, the commander’s men picked up Aatay Ali Jan. Your father had left his gun with him to hide. Someone had informed the commander of that. He was detained and interrogated. When he returned, his face was barely recognizable. He took off his shirt and showed me the marks. His skin had turned purple, there were bruises and scars all over his back. His skin looked like leather. He had been beaten beyond recognition, to the point that he had fainted, and given them the location of the gun:

“I was blindfolded. The commander’s men took turns to beat me up. They brought in bundles of fresh tree branches and broke them all on my back. One would get tired and call over the other to continue.”

They managed to get the gun but your auntie hid the bullets on a belt around her waist. They had failed to get it.

Next they picked up Moallem-e-Jaar. Your father had given him some bullet magazines to hide. He was locked up for 15 days and beaten up:

Ammay, they blindfolded me. Then they put my hands on a pile of sticks made of tree branches. They threatened that unless I told them where the weapons were, they would break them all on my body.”

He gave them no information. The commander’s men then visited his home. They lied to his family that I had asked for the weapons. They gave it up.
Your uncle was a fragile teenager. He was my baby. I worried about him. Following all the torture, I thought there was no way he could take a beating and survive. At first, I would send him to Jaar to sleep with the children of Aatay Younis, hoping that he wouldn’t be identified there. I feared that if our house was raided at night, they would take him away and beat him up.

Eventually, I spoke to Aatay Ali Jan to get him out of Watan. Your uncle, an adolescent boy, walked across the mountains to Pato, and then to Rasna, walking for many days. I had to sent my baby to Pakistan to keep him alive.




*Ammay = Maternal auntie
*Watan = Homeland

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