'Stress Disorder In Kashmir Dates Back To 1965 Indo-Pak War'

8 December 2015
Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: The history of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the Valley is as old as the Kashmir conflict. However, the fact came to fore recently when noted psychiatrist Dr Arshad examined a veterinary doctor from a Srinagar locality. The 'discovery' unveiled yet another unexplored chapter of Kashmir's beleaguered history. Dr Arshad who has examined hundreds of PTSD cases admitted that this was the first reported PTSD case of Kashmir. 'Till now we believed that it was a recent phenomenon mostly connected to the on-going conflict,' he said. The veterinarian, Rouf Ahmad (name changed) lives in Batmaloo. He was eleven years old when India and Pakistan went to war on Kashmir for the second time. One evening a neighbour called Rouf's father. 'I have heard that this area will be set on fire during the night,' he informed Rouf's father who was known for his bravery. Rouf put his head in his father's lap. He was terrified. Prominent persons of the locality assembled in the house. Rouf's father had a 12 Bore gun and a pistol which he brandished to encourage the people. Others brought axes and even shovels to resist the enemy. However, nothing happened in the area that night. Instead, a part of Batmaloo was torched after a couple of days by the army. Rouf seemingly recovered and completed his studies and went to Bihar to pursue BVSc& AH training in mid 70s. Narrating his woeful tale to Dr Arshad, Rouf said: 'After the 1965 incident, I was never comfortable. I would take my younger brother along to the toilet. I was scared in Bihar and wanted to come back but my father was strict. One day he wrote me a single sentence letter. 'Do or die', he had written. I somehow completed the training and got married.' He said that his father took him to renowned doctor Ali Muhammad Jan and DrAllaqband without results. 'Finally I met Late Dr Beg and narrated my woeful tale to him. He prescribed some medicines but could not overcome my fears,' he said. 'And what scares you?' Dr Arshad asked. 'If I die what will happen. If my house succumbs to a quake, what shall I do? If I get a heart attack, how can I survive? I stay worried all the time,' he replied. Rouf is scared of travelling in a plane. In 2001 he performed Hajj. He almost cancelled the pilgrimage for fear of travelling in a plane. The family members somehow managed to take him to the airport. The session with Dr Arshad was soothing. He smiled when told there was nothing wrong with him. However, there was a fair amount of sarcasm in his smile. Rouf spends his evenings out with his friends and returns late. This has always been an irritant for the family. 'I cannot help it. I am scared of staying at home in the evenings,' he told Greater Kashmir.