August 27, 2019

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee

KASHMIR, KASHMIR

An Elegy

It rains through the day. I sleep, I wake up,
Kashmir, Kashmir.
On everyone’s fingertips, on everyone’s lips,
Kashmir, Kashmir.
The newsreader parrots his eroded soul,
Mockingbirds risk their tale,
Kashmir, Kashmir.
Telephones have lost their pulse,
News of the heart cannot cross the mountains,
Kashmir, Kashmir.
Clouds of agony move slowly in long queues,
They linger for a touch of broken words,
Kashmir, Kashmir.
Streets are sleeping rivers in the jaws of night,
A deluge of tongues wake them up,
Kashmir, Kashmir.
Windows looks out for a glimpse of life,
Tired doors heave a sigh,
The air of hope is in short supply,
Kashmir, Kashmir.
Curfewed medicines wait to cure the ailing,
The ailing wail the delay of god,
It is a wrong time to fall ill, a wrong time to die,
A wrong time to be born,
Kashmir, Kashmir.
Someone, somewhere, reads Darkness at Noon,
History, like nature, has no scruples, when it rains
It rains, when it kills, it kills,
There is nothing darker than a dark sun.
Kashmir, Kashmir.

from Poets Respond
August 27, 2019

__________

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee: “Kashmir was named ‘paradise’ by the 17th century poet Amir Khusro. History is a blind man with greedy hands. It has been cruel to what it considers beautiful. Between Kashmir and Kashmiris falls a long shadow of history that begun when the Mughal king, Akbar, set his eyes on it in the 16th century. Akbar exiled Kashmir’s ruler and the poet-queen, Habba Khatun’s husband, Yusuf Shah Chak. In his poem, ‘The Blessed Word: A Prologue,’ late Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali wrote, remembering Khatun: ‘Her grief, alive to this day, in her own roused the people into frenzied opposition to Mughal rule. Since then Kashmir has never been free.’ Ali rues how unkind and brutal history has been to Kashmir, and how it imposed an unending saga of grief. But he also considers grief the fuel behind Kashmir’s resilient spirit. Hope the long night in Kashmir ends now, and voices of calm prevail.” (web)

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