A Kashmiri lament

back to issue


The iris still grows in our graveyards,

the saffron still sprouts in our fields,

the chinaar, cherry and apple

still blaze with colour in autumn and spring;


Our meadows are still green with sweet pasture,

our mountains still feed our rivers and lakes

with their brooky music and poetry;



as for India and Pakistan,

their governments, if not their people,

have bathed our land in blood and deceit,

they have brought the devil

into the daily grain, the very fibre of our lives;


Indeed, a time shall dawn

when the Kashmiri iris shall grow in the graves and brains

of those who sought to destroy the blossoms in our soul.


On the Dal

Marshmallow marigold

wildwater lily

Lotus simply supreme

the imperial zabarwan... and

erosion erosion erosion

by the military-industrial


for resources precious,

for resources made

shamelessly pitiable.


Our Bleeding Hearts

Our hearts bleed

for these jawaans,

for these loose-tongued

doosron kee zabaan ke



Our hearts thump with


for their stilted, sulky

morose selves;


Our hearts are astounded

by their blind mandate

to gun Ė cannon Ė lacerate

torture... to carry out

blind orders from blind officers,

their blinder mentors;


Our hearts bleed

for their sacrifice, the balidaan

of their families

themselves victims of

the silly-bloody homilies

of two follies-in-enmity

called India and Pakistan.


In Every Home of Kashmir

These years the shawl,

our fruit and rice fields,

our dexterous skills of

needle Ďní thread and

spinning and weaving

have been our saviours;

We have our honey,

we needed no Gandhi to tell us

how to blend sweetness

with the bitter pill of militancy;



We needed, indeed

we need no Gandhi

to confront Indo-Pakistani

theft and dacoity... for

We have embroidered into

our soul

our history of the lost tribes,

of Christ, Islam, our

Rajatarangini and Lawrencian capacity

to understand our heritage in its


Indeed, we need no Gandhi,

or nuclear cum conventional

follies of policy

to deliver us from

this our present, our

daily misfortune and tragedy;



For not only do we have our

sher and bakra,

our Abdullah roots, our Islamic zeal,

we have, too, in our chest

our grenade of piety, warmth,

compassion and energy...

our own, our very own

Our very loving and earthy

our gentle and fiery, black-brown Ďní

earthen kaangri.



Donít bleed donít die donít cry

for Kashmir,

only polish-dry your guns

for posterity to forgive,

not forget nor decry,

donít bleed donít die

donít cry for Kímir

only sweat and try

to carry your sins Ďní burden

with that sweet smell of failure

turning into a slow climax

of a distant difficult