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      /  Literature   /  The Noble Dispossessed

    The Noble Dispossessed

    Author: Hamideh Shastan

    In most countries of the world, children possess many rights and there are laws that are drafted and implemented for their welfare, security, development of educational resources, and intellectual and physical development. In areas like Baluchistan however, children have been deprived of every intellectual development and social welfare opportunity for years. Due to household-level economic difficulties, the lack of suitable education centers, the increase in the number of families with widowed mothers and lack of financial support for these families, Baluch society is facing multiple problems.

    One phenomenon that has plagued the Baluch people for many years is the confiscation of their houses and lands by the government, which has caused the homelessness of many children and increased the suffering of the natives . This is the story of a 12 year-old boy named ‘’Shirdel’’, who lives on the outskirts of one of the large cities of Baluchistan along with four of his younger brother and sisters.

    ‘’Shirdel’’ worked in a small grocery shop near his home. He was his mother’s only helping hand when it came to earning a living. His mother could hardly afford the heavy expenses of Shirdel’s siblings school and nourishment and provided for them through sewing beautiful Baluch embroidery on Pushak and scarfs and creating other hand crafts and selling them to well to do families.

    Life for ‘’Shirdel’’ and his family was not always full of hardship and difficulty, and he remembered the days were the auto repair shop of his father was booming. Shirdel and his family even lived along with grandparents Delmorad and ‘’ Granaaz in a very beautiful and lovely brick house. Every night, Shirdel’s Grandfather told ancient Baluch stories such as : ‘’Gasadak and the ogre’’, ‘’Nawaye Godam’’ and ‘’ Vajeh Panjkesh’’. And by reminding the children of the good old days , he would take the whole household to a journey to another universe, for hours, and they would fall deep in sweet slumber.

    His grandmother Granaaz was a skilled cook in the Baluchi cuisine and she would wake everyone up with the delicious smell of butter bread, ‘’Tel mataloo’’, ‘’Sisark’’ and ‘’Timoush’’. The day would start with enthusiasm, children to school and adults to their work.

    His grandfather Delmorad was a famous and skillful ‘’Shekasteh band’’, a skill he inherited from his forefathers. Baluch people from all around came to Delmorad for treatment. he used a special, traditions, methods, and medicine of the region in his treatment. He was a kind host, and everyone left his home satisfied.

    Delmorad always told Shirdel about the old times, of the time when his ancestors came to this region and with empty hands and cooperation They used the skills of different people to make the city prosperous thanks to agriculture and trade. He also told’’Shirdel’’that their beautiful brick house used to be from clay and hay and how they used to sleep on the roof. Their clay house was converted into brick thanks to the help of Shirdel’s father and couple of neighbors, behind every brick of this house lot of hard work has been done.

    Hardships and problems entered the life of Shirdel’s family two years ago, when this father’s business went bankrupt due to a recession and inflation. To make ends meet his father was forced to work as a fuel carrier. After a while, the family was informed that the father lost his life after his car was targeted by military forces.

    This news was so devastating, that after a short while, the grandfather Delmorad had a heart attack and passed away. Shirdel’s grandmother could not take the pain of being away from her kind husband and son, and died as well shortly. Shirdel and his family, who in a short period had lost their favorite loved ones, had no choice but shed tears and accept this bitter reality and spend their lives in hardship.

    From that day on, Shirdel dropped out of school and went to work to help support his family. He seemed young for his age due to life hardships and malnutrition, but all that hardship had made him look physically a grown man who was fighting for his family and education for his siblings . It motivated him to deal with life’s problems.

    Shirdel’s mother used to wear luxurious and handmaid colorful Pushak when the father was still alive. She now wore a simple black Pushak like widows. Shirdel never saw the smile on his mother’s lips again and her face was stern, broken and full of wrinkles. Shirdel had no more time to day dream. He had forgotten his dreams and his biggest task was to feed his family and help his mother in the household chores.

    But the story of Shirdel did not end here. During the last few months, his mother had received a letter from a government institution. The letter said that their house was the property of the state and if they do not leave it, the government has the right to evict them. Nervously, his mother showed the letter to friends and neighbors and asked for their help. They had the deed of the house and they have been living there for generations. His mother’s complaint went nowhere, and she decided to stand up to the government with all she had to protect her house.

    On a cold autumn night, Shirdel and his siblings woke up to the sound of loudspeakers, cranes, and bulldozers. He felt that he was in a dark and terrible nightmare, and giant spacemen were attacking him and his family with frightening weaponry, all while speaking in an unknown and strange language.

    Shirdel and his mother were defending themselves in Baluchi, shouting with all their might: ‘This is our home. Our ancestors inhabited these lands. You do not have the right to own our houses. My father and grandfather turned these bricks into a house with their own hands. This is our ancestral land.’

    The shouts and struggles had no effect on these unscrupulous space people, and they ruthlessly threw Shirdel and his mother and siblings out of their house, and in front of their weeping eyes, destroyed their house brick by brick with a crane and bulldozer.

    Shirdel and his mother and siblings could not get up anymore and did not even think about how to spend that cold autumn night. Neighbors came to their help and took them to their house, warmed them up with  blankets and warm tea, and prepared a quilt and blanket in one of their rooms .

    Shirdel’s heartbeat sounded like a bird of prey, and anger and fear filled his body. Before closing his eyes, he remembered his grandfather Delmorad saying (translated): ‘’its when the mountains fall , that the hills rise up’’, meaning only when unprincipled people dominate the noble people are pushed aside.

    But Shirdel wanted to live by these words of his grandfather: ‘’endure hardship until you succeed.”