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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

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Of Gods, Men & Militants

by Dr. K. L. Chowdhury

Kashmir - the land of snow-capped mountains and lush green valleys; the golden land of breath-taking beauty - torn asunder by the intermittent booming of guns; the exoctic flower-carpeted expanses dyed a deep, dull red. This is how the author sees his beloved homeland and his cries of anguish echo through these pages:

We live to share your grief and die to suffer your agony

Cover page

Indeed, the tumult of the exiled Kashmiri Pandits can never be stilled as long as the guns refuse to be silenced and brother fights brother with hatred that is fanned by vested interests.

With the pain and nostalgia writ large in every heart-rending poem, there still emerges a glimmer of hope that peace will prevail and his misguided brethren will lay down their arms and resolve to study war no more.

The valley of Kashmir is fabled for its unique and many-splendored beauty. Over its long history it has suffered many upheavals and political turmoil, yet it had nurtured a resilient society with communal harmony and amity between minority Hindus- the Kashmiri Pandits and the majority Muslims. Despite relentless pressures from extremist groups and the machinations of external enemies, this harmony seemed largely intact in the post-independence era until about 1989. Then malevolent and violent desecration of Kashmir and its people was started by terrorists in a big way leading to the mass exodus of Kashmir Pandits from the valley south to other states and towns of India. The violent terrorist onslaughts continue to this day.

This book of poetry gives expression to the intense hurt, sadness, disappointment, shock and disillusionment of a whole community. Only a son of the soil like Kundan Lal Chowdhury, could provide the right voice for these emotions and thoughts. There are several reasons for this and these include his family background, his upbringing as a Kashmiri Pandit in a Muslim locality, his training as a medical doctor, his courage , the trust he inspires as a healer and his gift of communication . 

A deeply sensitive poet with a great reverence for nature and the culture of his people, Kundan Lal Chowdhury has lived through and witnessed the rise of militancy, the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from the valley, the destruction of the composite culture as well as the degradation of the environment and the ecology of Kashmir. Of Gods, Men and militants chronicles the pain suffered by Kashmiris as militancy took hold. 

His unique perspective is a consequence of the immense love he has for the place and the people as well as his faith and pride in our timeless heritage in a land of saints and rishis.

In this anthology, the individual poems evoke the dominant emotions and frame the questions about our behavior and relationships as a commentary on the vulnerability of the human condition. The book is not a political tract nor does it seek to intellectualize the issues arising from the upheaval , deception, cruelty and hypocrisy displayed by individuals and groups on others. As a healer, the poet knows only too well, however that concern for the victim , the patient is not enough; an acknowledgement of the invader, his processes and operations are vital for understanding and dealing with the disease or malady. 

Table of Contents

Acknowledgement Preface
About the Author Glossary
Section I: The Gathering Storm
The Mists of Siva Caged Goddess
The Battle Cry of Jihad Civil Curfew
The Martyrdom of Pandit Tikkalal 19 January 1990
Execution The Hizeb Credo
Declaration of Non-allegiance The Score is Equal
Witness to a Massacre Siege of Kralkhod
The Charge Sheet Sieve
Plaint to Kheerbhawani Farewell 
Section II: Exodus and Exile
A Hundred Kilometre Tunnel of Fear Lamentation
The Burning Pyre Identity
To Kashmir Twin Shame
Dried Offerings Dole
Camp School The First Right to Forcible Seizure
Testimony A Space to Die
Drought Lovesick
Ode to an Amaltas Saga of the Student
Arda Shankara Funeral of a Monkey
Devotion Gone Overboard Invocation
Kashmir Lust for Savagery Paush Amavasya Night
Frankenstein Monster  Journey Into the Land of the Exiled
On Your Arrival Status Change
Promises P. S. O.
Dyed in the Same Colour 26 January 1997
Sangrampora The Religion of Killers
The Colour of Blood Premium on Death
Death Threat Wandhama
Exile Need for an Identity
Section III: The Call of Roots
Sanctum Sanctorum Homeland
The Spirit Does Not Accept Exile Floral Adoration
Magnolia Re-creation
Celestial Bridge  Proxy Prayer
Reconciliation The Kindling
Quantum Leap Time
Mauj Kasheer What Unites Us
Nausheen Pride of a Nation
It is Now Aditya
K.L. Choudhary's 'Of Gods, men and militants' - a review

Cover design: Indigo Communications

Om bhoorbhuvah swaha
Tatsaviturvarenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat

May there be peace in mortal, immortal and divine planes. I meditate on the brilliant splendour of the Sun God. May He stimulate our intellect and drive away ignorance.

Gayatri Mantra

For
Dhan Rani, my mother - the fountainhead
Leela, my wife - the inspiration
My family and friends - the encouragement
Kashmir, my homeland - the agony
India, my country - the soured dream
and
Nausheen, and Aditya, my grandchildren - the hope

OF GODS, MEN AND MILITANTS
Copyright © K L Chowdhury 2000
All Rights Reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by photocopying or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from both the copyright owner and the publisher of this book.

ISBN 81  7662  116  1

First Published 2000 by
MINERVA PRESS
13 Palam Marg
Vasant Vihar
New Delhi 110 057

Printed & bound in India
for Minerva Press (India) Pvt. Ltd.

 

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