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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Funeral of a Monkey

‘Ram Nam Sat Hai’, resounds in the air,
the procession moving through the streets-
a pier adorned with buntings and saffron flags
carrying the mortal remains
of a monkey.

The pallbearers take slow measured steps,
a dozen urchins in the vanguard
dance in frenzy
to the tune of a tragic film song,
the more venerable form the rear,
and others beating drums, tolling bells,
as the crowd jostles and swells
toward the pyre,
each one eager
to lend a helping shoulder.

‘Ram Nam Sat Hai,’
the solemn refrain rises above the din
as the procession takes a turn
toward the Hanuman temple
for the blessings of the monkey god.

Not far from the temple,
on the wayside,
lies an abandoned corpse
half shrouded in dirty white,
mourned by a moth-eaten dog;
a flock of ravens in their black apparel
and a swarm of buzzing flies
complete the funeral crowd;
this being the death
of an unknown mortal,
not that of a monkey,
the incarnation of Hanuman
but of man,
the offspring of Mammon.

Lucknow - 10 January 1995



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