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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Saga of the Student

A bus skids off the road,
hurtles twenty feet down a gorge,
bang into a boulder.
Three instant deaths,
four fractured skulls,
five flail chests,
a score broken bones,
bruises, gashes galore.

Who are the victims?
Worn out and wasted,
battered and bedevilled,
depressed and distressed,
they are the Pandit students,
Brahmin boys treated as pariahs,
refugees in their own land.

Snatched from the bosom of their motherland,
forced into exile in their teens,
they grow up in tents and tenements.
Segregated into ‘camp’ schools,
few graduate to college level
while most drop out
as heartless mandarins of education,
remote-controlling their destiny,
deliberately harass and procrastinate
admissions, examinations, and results,
as three years of curriculum
drag on to six or seven,
while graduation fades into a distant dream.

Desperation drives the helpless youth,
in search of their rights,
from schools to secretaries to satraps,
from classrooms to courts,
street rallies to hunger strikes
to face batons, handcuffs and jails,
as every other method fails.

This is the tragic saga
of innocent boys and girls,
victims of a conspiracy
where the militant and the bureaucrat,
the police, politician and the prosecutor,
have ganged up against them,
and not to be left behind
accidents readily join the grind.

Jammu - March 1994



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