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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Plaint to Kheerbhawani

Plaint to Kheerbhawani

In the company of ancient chinars
that sage-like in meditation stand
and seated in the midst of the Spring,
you reign supreme, Mother Kheerbhawani,
as the river Sindhu sends a stream
to skirt round you in reverential embrace,
and hallows this piece of chosen land
where countless foreheads bend in delight,
of your devotees sanctified.

Little earthen lamps dance around you
in bright sunshine and evening hue,
be it summer or freezing winter,
the chants resound, the hymns pervade,
the conchs sing, the bells ring.

We deck you in flowers of all hues,
of all seasons - reds, whites, and blues - 
the hyacinth and the chrysanthemum,
vena, pansy and lotus,
guelder-rose and narcissus,
marigolds, lilies and the rest.

We flock to you day after day,
and every eighth day of the moon,
when you are at your best,
most benevolent and kindest,
we wash your feet with our tears
and bathe you in ambrosia,
sweeten your spring with candy cakes,
and with our most prized apparel,
sweep the floor round the Octagon,
as in wonder, awe and admiration
we watch your changing moods,
transforming the colours of the Spring
that symbolise our destiny,
from turquoise to sapphire blue,
Nabadi to emerald green,
amber yellow to rose pink –
heralds of peace, plenty and joy - 
and at times the red of war
or the frightful black
that presages death.

But now the clamour, cacophony, and curse
drown the chants, hymns, and verse
as the fanatics rave and rage
and open the barrels of their guns
on your loving daughters and sons.
Why don’t you arise and strike
rather than stand there sphinx-like,
why doesn’t the Spring turn blood-red
to signal war on the tyrant,
why doesn’t it change to pitch-black
and chase evil from its track?

Srinagar - April 1990



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