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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri




Three brazenly blustering youth
stormed into Azad colony
on that grim wintry afternoon
and in a swift operation
two staked out near the door
while the third, brandishing a gun,
forced into the Pandit house
and fished out their only son.

Terror-stricken, the neighbourhood watched
from behind the window blinds
while the helpless family begged and cried
as they shoved him into an automobile
and sped fast through the lanes.
‘Routine questioning,’ they yelled
as their victim grovelled and struggled.

From what people had heard and seen
of ‘routine’ interrogation by the mujahideen
we could hardly believe our eyes
when he returned at eventide,
and the whole mohalla - Muslims and Pandits -
kissed and hugged him in felicitation
and showered peanuts, dates and candy
in a traditional demonstration.

‘These mujahid youth,’ a neighbour claimed,
‘go by that strict code of discipline
not to abduct, torture or kill
unless when driven by reason
to haul up an agent or informer
or one suspected of treason.
They are no terrorists indeed
as some make them out to be
or they would not have set him free
and acquitted him honourably.’

But in the dead of the following night
they swooped on the house once again
and the next morning his body was found
side by side with that of a female
with signs of torture and bullet holes
and a note staked into their breasts -
‘Beware the wages of sin.’

‘It seems the righteous warriors,’
the neighbour was forced to conclude
‘must have gathered fresh evidence
of this irreligious alliance
between two persons of different faiths,
and punished them in accordance
with their scrupulous ordinance.’

Srinagar - 10 February 1990



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