Exploited Innocence: The Saga of Faizan’s Captivating Eyes Unfolds on Social Media

Farhan Sayeed Masoodi for The Kashmiriyat

Faizan, a seven-year-old boy, hails from the picturesque district of Kupwara nestled in the enchanting Kashmir. He has captivated hearts worldwide with his mesmerizing heterochromia iridium—a rare condition bestowing upon him eyes of distinct hues, one adorned in a shade of azure, the other in warm tones of brown, Faizan’s gaze has emerged as a beacon of fascination, drawing attention from across the globe.

The journey to Faizan’s internet stardom commenced when a vlogger shared a video of him on Instagram, igniting a wildfire of viral sensation. Local media outlets swiftly caught wind of this remarkable tale, amplifying Faizan’s popularity manifold.

Even tech titan Vivo India recognized his beauty, featuring him in an advertisement campaign for their latest smartphone, an opportunity for which Faizan received rightful compensation.

However, amidst the fame, Faizan encountered individuals seeking to exploit his uniqueness for personal gain, promising revenue from videos featuring him but failing to deliver.

“Several Facebook page admins approached us and expressed their interest in featuring Faizan’s story on their pages. They offered to extend their assistance in supporting Faizan’s education and schooling. One of them even promised sharing half of the revenue generated by the video for Faizan’s benefit. However, once the video was published and gained more than two million views, the individual disappeared,” said Mohammad Saeed Faizan;s uncle.

Another Facebook page admin made a promise to me that if I allowed him to cover the story of Faizan, he would aid Faizan in obtaining scholarships through the backing of a certain organization. However, these so-called social media vloggers exploited Faizan for their gain and subsequently abandoned him, according to Mohammad Saeed, Faizan’s uncle.

Despite such setbacks, Faizan unintentionally became a source of livelihood for numerous creators and self-proclaimed journalists in Kashmir.

Within the confines of an aged, two-story traditional Kashmiri abode, Faizan resides with his family, a robust assembly of twenty members.

Enveloped within the ethos of a joint family system, Faizan’s lineage traces back to his grandfather, Abdul Razzaq, a patriarch overseeing a familial tapestry comprising his four sons, three daughters, and their respective progeny.

Though marred by tragedy with the loss of two daughters, Abdul Razzaq’s legacy endures, with one surviving daughter and a multitude of descendants. Faizan stands as the lone voice amidst silence, with his father, mother, and younger sister ensconced in a world of deafness and muteness.

Despite his father Reyaz Ahmed’s earnest efforts to acquire a trade for sustenance, the inability to comprehend his tailor master’s instructions thwarted his aspirations.

This linguistic barrier renders communication arduous in a society predominantly fluent in speech. Tragic echoes of heterochromia iridium resonate within Faizan’s familial history, as his late aunt Mumtaza Akhter, born with the same condition, navigated a life devoid of sound and speech.

Her untimely demise at the age of twenty-one in a forest tragedy echoes a poignant reminder of life’s fragility. Amidst the complexities of his familial landscape, Faizan finds solace within the confines of Kupwara Model School, conveniently nestled adjacent to his dwelling. Guided by his grandfather Abdul Razzaq, a spiritual luminary, and his uncle Muhammad Saeed, an educator at the same institution, Faizan receives both academic nourishment and emotional support.

Bonding over shared tales and tender care, Faizan’s affection gravitates towards his uncle and grandfather, pivotal figures in his formative years.

Yet, financial constraints loom over Faizan’s horizon, casting uncertain shadows. Muhammad Saeed, a private tutor in a village school, acknowledges the precariousness of their economic reality. While presently capable of providing for Faizan’s needs, Muhammad Saeed harbors apprehensions regarding sustaining this support amidst escalating expenses.

Faizan nurtures aspirations of becoming a police officer in adulthood, a dream staunchly championed by his uncle, Muhammad Saeed. However, the specter of financial adversity threatens to eclipse Faizan’s aspirations, instilling fears of dashed dreams and despondency. Unaware of the trials that await him, Faizan’s innocence shields him from the harsh realities lurking beneath the surface.

Despite their financial tribulations, Faizan’s family refrains from soliciting external aid, harboring hopes of securing sponsorship for his education from a prestigious institution.

“My heartfelt thanks to our benefactors. Their generosity promises a brighter future for Faizan, free from economic struggles,” said Reyaz Ahmed, Faizan’s father.

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