Rage BoyTM as we have come to love him
Excerpted from The Daily Mail:
But who is the real person behind the cartoon and what does he believe in? I travelled to Kashmir in search of the poster-boy of fundamentalism.Thank you, Patrick French. We'd have never known.
Conscious that I was the only foreigner in town, I linked up with a local reporter, Peerzada Arshad Hamid, who took me to what he called 'the Gaza Strip of Kashmir'.I almost remember how strong that shit was from the '70s. Oh, Hell yes--they know their smoke in that part of the world.
We went to Malik Angan, a poor area that the security forces monitor closely, though they risk being shot at or stoned.
Arriving at a simple, traditional three-storey Kashmiri house, I was taken up steep wooden steps by the light of a gas lamp to the top of the building. There, standing in an empty room, dressed in a salwar kameez and zip-up cardigan, with crooked teeth and a quizzical look on his face, was Islamic Rage Boy.
Shakeel Ahmad Bhat is a 29-year-old failed militant. Over two days, sitting cross-legged at the home he shares with his mother and smiling shyly much of the time, Shakeel told me, through an interpreter, his life story and why he had come to wave his fists at the cameras.
His story was not what I had expected and showed the personal torment of life in a society that has gone wrong. Although it is hard to prove the authenticity of his story, given my knowledge of Kashmiri political history over the past 20 years, everything he told me sounded plausible: after all, what reason would he have to lie?
A somewhat more subdued Rage BoyTM
Shakeel did not like school and he had difficulty learning to read and write. His teacher thrashed him with a stick but it did not improve his studies. Aged ten, he refused to go to class and stayed at home with his family.Perhaps he didn't play well with others.
Shakeel was not a very good militant. When I asked him how many people he had killed, he looked embarrassed.Erm...OK.
"I gave scares but I never killed anyone," he said. "I couldn't. I never hurled a grenade in a public place."
His greatest achievement was opening fire on the cavalcade of a visiting Indian government minister.
Shakeel's understanding of the world is limited by his inability to read or write. He likes going to demonstrations and has an ambition to start a political party.Ooh. Sign me up.
I suggested to Shakeel that he must have been tempted by the prospect of a job and a wife – he was unlikely ever to get such a good opportunity again. He looked shy and covered his face with his hands.Well ladies, the offer is on the table.
"I want to marry a non-Muslim woman and convert her to Islam."
Why? I asked.
In a moment that might have come straight out of the Borat film, he answered in a soft, serious voice: "I have been told that if I can convince a non-Muslim woman to marry me – but not convert her by force – then there will be a place for me in heaven."
I suggested there might be some suitable candidates in Britain. "If the offer comes," Shakeel said, "I am ready to accept it."
Who could resist?