Waiting for Najeeb – a Mother’s Story

Another October 15 has arrived. With it, another year of hope fades away.

It has been four years now, and the mystery of Jawaharlal Nehru University student Najeeb Ahmed’s disappearance has yet to be solved.

For those of you who don’t know, Najeeb was a first-year M.Sc. Biotechnology student at JNU. He went missing from his hostel on the university campus under suspicious circumstances on October 15, 2016, after he had an altercation with students connected with a right-wing student group.

This painful story is of a bright eyed, young student, full of dreams, who just happened to vanish. This story is of an insensitive college administration. This is the story of how a whole branch of police was not able to, or did not want to, locate the young student. All they could provide a broken mother was unkept promises even as media houses and ministers slandered Najeeb by accusing him of being associated with terror outfits.

People may see him as a terrorist, and accuse him of being a member of ISIS. But what I see is a mother who still believes that her son is alive. I see her waiting by the door each day thinking that maybe this is the day that he would come back. I see her sitting by the phone, desperately waiting for it to ring.

I see her running to various police stations and courts, thinking that they may now have news about her son.

Also read: Mr Narendra Modi, Where Is Najeeb?

A mother, who brought up her child so lovingly for 27 years and had so many hopes for him. Maybe sometimes, in her head, she goes over every angry thing she might have ever said to him; all the times she scolded him for something trivial.

Maybe sometimes, she thinks that he is angry with her and refuses to come home like a petulant child. Maybe she thinks of the last time she ever spoke to him and wishes desperately that she could go back and tell him how proud she was of him. She might have told him how much she loved him.

But, in a glance, her only son was snatched away from her. If the body were to be found, she would finally let herself grieve. She would give her dear boy a funeral. She would finally get some closure.

But all she got was a single word – ’untraced’ – and the case was closed. Still, her dreams and every waking moment continue to be haunted by one question: “Where are you Najeeb? Please come back home.”

Kaunain Fatima is a Class 11 student from Lucknow, who has taken part in several demonstrations and protests over Najeeb Ahmed’s disappearance during the past four years.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty