My Paradise has no Angels

Creator: Suresh K Goswami
Genre: Drama
Age rating: Everyone
Mariyam, get caught in the Kashmir conflict of militancy in a painful search for her 13 year old son who is abducted by men in uniform. Determined to fight despite all odds she puts up fight against the system not only for her son but for thousands of disappeared children
Synopsis: My Paradise has no angels is inspired from the life and fight for justice of Parveena Ahangar, known as “The Iron Lady of Kashmir”
It is the summer of 1998. Kashmir remains gripped by insurgency and continued heavy deployment of armed forces. The shadow of this unrest is also creeping into a quiet mountain village of Bandipora, where Mariyam and Rehman live happily cocooned in their simple and quiet life.
Rehman, a Sufi at heart, is a gardener and sells flowers. Mariyam works in fields during the harvest and rest of the year she weaves intricate and beautiful patterns in the village carpet loom.
Mariyam and Rehman’s 13 year old, son, Azaan, arrives home in Bandipora, for his summer vacation. He studies in the Burn Hall Boarding School in Srinagar.
In the pre-dawn hours of June 19th, 1998, this paradise of Mariyam and Rehman is invaded by a violent knocking, threatening to break down the door of their house. Four men in storm through the house kicking everything in their way, brutally dragging away a terrified, crying and screaming Azaan. Mariyam and Rehman are hysterical. The men quickly bundle Azaan into a jeep and it speeds away into the night and the unknown world beyond.
Completely shattered Mariyam and Rehman rush to the police station and then to various Military Officers but they do not get much help. This is where they start their long chase to find their son.
Mariyam and Rehman are furious. They muster courage and widen their search all around.
Azaan’s kidnappers may very well have been those militants in disguise as they were known to pick up young boys, especially students.
At their son’s school, the principal informs Mariyam and Rehman that each time the school re-opened, some boys routinely failed to return. The disappearance of children had become a routine. They vanished and never came back but however, there was, one boy who did return after he went missing for days. He is 16 years old, Mushtaq. Mariyam and Rehman meet the boy.
Mushtaq was abducted near his house by unidentified gunmen wearing military type uniforms. They turned out to be militants. Braving the odds, Mushtaq managed to escape from his captivity and found his way to a nearby army unit. The officer who brought Mushtaq back home safely was a Major Zaid Ahmed Khan. Mushtaq’s story gives new faith to Mariyam and Rehman.
They set off to meet the Major, now stationed in Kupwara, the Northern Frontier district of Kashmir, located along the border with Pakistan Administered Kashmir on one side.
The Major promises his help in locating Mariyam and Rehman’s son but also alerts their simple minds to the reality of injustice and violations spreading amidst the bitter conflict between militants and the Indian security forces, alienated in their own land.
True to the Major’s warnings, just as Mariyam and Rehman are accompanying the Major to his office, they are ambushed by armed militants. The driver is shot dead. Major, Mariyam and Rehman are all abducted and taken to an isolated safe house in the outskirts.
The Major disappears thereafter. Mariyam and Rehman are forced to live as hostages and work in the safe house for next several days, witnessing the inside workings of the militant outfit, their sophisticated radio equipment, weapons of different sizes and what they keep calling grenades and the horrifying number of young boys committed to arms.
The commander of the militants is a Kashmiri called Afghani Baba. He develops sympathy for the new captives when he learns of the couple’s agonizing search for their son. He assures them he will render his help in their pursuit. A few days later there is a crack down on the safe house and Afghani Baba
barks orders for immediate evacuation. He frees the couple and leaves with haunting words the Mariyam and Rehman, “Don’t bother looking for him. Once they are taken, they never return”.
Mariyam and Rehman escape in the chaos, running through the forest until they reach a strange village guarded by armed women. They are given shelter and hide the night out.
When Mariyam and Rehman return to Bandipora, they visited the police station where the new inspector listened to their sad experience. He expresses his inability to do anything as he has limited authority but introduces Mariyam and Rehman to Ashraf, a young man in his early thirties, human rights activist and lawyer. The lawyer explains that Azaan was not the only boy who had been kidnapped from his home and thereafter disappeared. There were hundreds of such cases. It was becoming epidemic. He asks them to file a case in the Srinagar high court. They would obtain court order for army’s co-operation.
The idea of challenging the army in court is daunting to Rehman. But Mariyam decides to go ahead.
While Mariyam leaves for Srinagar to file her case, Rehman comes to know of mysterious unmarked graves copping up in forests and abandoned places, rumored to hold the missing and the disappeared. He locates the grave diggers and follows the quietly. He witnesses the horrific task the grave diggers perform. They receive unidentified bodies wrapped in sacks by unknown men who arrive in trucks and leave after dumping their cargo. Taken over by fear and repulsion, Rehman leaves and hurries back home to Bandipora.
At the heavily barricaded and guarded gates of the Srinagar High Court, Mariyam finds herself lost in a sea of bodies milling about, each face telling a story. The chaotic atmosphere is oppressing. Mariyam is afraid of how she was even going to get her voice heard in this big city court and when would she know something about her son? Ashraf files her case and a hearing date is assigned to Mariyam. She rushes back to Bandipora, worried about having left Rehman alone.
From here on, Mariyam and Rehman’s next steps would take them far away from each other and worlds apart. While Mariyam would look for Azaan and the truth behind his disappearance in the turbulent world around her, Rehman would lose himself in the silent realm of the dead, searching for his son. Rehman’s simple mind worked out the facts. He had not been able to find his son on the soil of Kashmir, so he would look under it.
Mariyam’s lawyers obtain permission from court and Mariyam begins visiting the central jails of India, first, from Jammu to Delhi, to Rajasthan and many other places'
Rehman in the meanwhile gets involved with unmarked graves, digging some of them to find if his son too was buried in one of them. He would then fill the graves and cover them with seeds of colorful flowers.
Mariyam finds that all the flowers beds which had come up recently are graves, Rehman would leave seeds of these flowers on sown over every grave he searched through. For the first time Mariyam understands Rehman’s pain, his desperate purpose and his loneliness. The little yellow flowers were Azaan’s favorite. Finally, in the small hours of dawn, in a forest on the outskirts of Bandipora village, they find Rehman. Dirt smeared and enclosed in a thin layer of frost, Rehman is lying curled up like a fetus in a shallow dug grave, clutching remnants of clothing faintly resembling the one Azaan last wore. His eyes are closed and his mouth is open as if he had bitterly cried himself to sleep, but it is filled with mud.
2 years later…
Mariyam has evolved as a great crusader, leading thousands of people who have been the victims of human right violations. She is known and recognized by the entire world. Known as “The Iron Lady of Kashmir”. She shines and continues to search for the missing angels from Kashmir. She turns down the Noble Prize as she does not want any award, she wants full information from the system about missing children even if the children breathe no more.

Latest Work

  • Video 1 - The Iron Lady of Kashmir
    Creative Notes:
    The story of My Paradise has no angels is inspired by Parveena Ahangar known as The Iron Lady of Kashmir. The video "The Iron Lady of Kashmir" gives an outline of Parveena whose son disappeared many years back and she has been unable to find him despite putting up a life long struggle. She founded a campaign which turned into APDP, an association of Parents of disappeared persons.
  • Script 1 - Suresh's Original Draft
    Creative Notes:
    Taking inspiration from the real life story created a more eventful drama reflecting the true picture of ever increasing terrorism in the Valley of Kashmir.
    The content highlights the atrocities, gross human rights violations by terror groups as well as the armed forces in the most militarized zone of Kashmir - the lost paradise that has no children again