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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Arda Shankara

Up the Roop Nagar hill
there resides Arda Shankara
in an open temple,
a half lingam
of grey golden-brown stone
basking under the open sky,
away from the hue and cry.

A Gujjar nomad, they say,
in his heyday
of idol breaking frenzy
axed the lingam,
and from its bosom, as it split
into two unequal halves,
flowed a torrent of blood.
The bigger half
is our Arda Shankara atop the hill.

Nobody knows for certain
about the other half.
The Gujjar rustic, there is a belief,
carried it along and came to grief.

The Arda Shankara
that reigns from this hill
to bless his people
is not a common idol
of splintered stone
nor a mere half-god,
nor a maimed lord,
but matchless in his grace
divine, with a human face.

Unwittingly the iconoclast
seized by fanatic rage
sculptured a beautiful lord,
the unique Arda Shankara,
whom we worship
for his wholesome benevolence,
and not out of vengeance,
because an ignorant mortal
raised his axe.

Jammu - 16 September 1994



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