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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri




Here a ‘migrant’ stands in a queue
in this blazing afternoon sun
for his monthly allocation-
three hundred and seventy five rupees,
a kilo of sugar, two of wheat,
ten and a half of stale rice,
and a litre of kerosene.
He has gone through fire and hell
to establish his credential
as a bona fide refugee
from the terror-smitten valley,
and every quarter or half yearly 
he is directed to produce
evidence and fresh documentation-
affidavits, recent photographs-
to back up his identification.
Yet, invariably,
he has to part with
a chunk of his relief and ration
as a little gratification
to the greedy officials
in charge of the distribution.
And yonder in that prison
is detained a terrorist,
euphemistically called a militant,
who receives four fifty a month;
milk, mutton and eggs to boot
his daily share of cereal;
menus of his taste to suit;
and an unlimited supply of water;
playground and a prayer-hall,
toiletry, and laundry-
overseen and monitored regularly
by human rights groups
and many a visiting dignitary
from the country and abroad.
And to boost the prisoner’s morale
are the many directives from the court
to the administration and the jail
to uphold the mandatory standard
for his convenience and comfort.
Asks his victim, the ‘migrant’,
‘Why don’t I turn a militant,
pick up a gun and surrender,
if only for a better deal
for food, amenities and shelter?
The prison at Kote is a safer haven
than the dungeon at Muthi,
more promise in being a militant
than a wretched refugee.’

Jammu - July 1991



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Kashmiri Overseas Association, Inc. (KOA) is a 501c(3) non-profit, tax-exempt socio-cultural organization registered in Maryland, USA. Its purpose is to protect, preserve, and promote Kashmiri ethnic and socio-cultural heritage, to promote and celebrate festivals, and to provide financial assistance to the needy and deserving.

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