Table of Contents
  About the Poetess
  My Father's Country
  Azadi: 1989-1995
  The Yellow River
  Summer Rain
  Mother's Day USA
  Bride in Red
  My Dream
  The City of Dread
  Kashmir Today
  Sukeshi has a Dream
  Autumn Rain
  The Story of Ganesha
  Washer Woman
  The Ever New Poet
  The Yogi
  The Rishi
  My Death
  Self Spectre
  Autumn Song
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Kashmir Today

Koshur Samachar, Feb'98 issue

It's bitter cold.
And I'm sick at heart.

Who is there?
Soldiers stand guard.
One relieves the other,
stepping on thin ice.
Army boots always
scared him. He wore
soft soled shoes

Whenever he went
to Srinagar
to visit his eldest son.
Wooden sandals
with cloth straps
adorned his beautiful
feet at home.

He is barefoot now,
treads softly on ice.
It is like glass
strewn on Mahatma
Gandhi's path
when he led the Salt March.

He is an apparition,
my grandfather.
He is asking a question.
National Rifles men
at Anantnag's Lal Chowk
do not know who he is.

He is Aftab Ram
of Kulgam, a village
medicine man whom
everyone used to know.
Their show of violence
scares him away.

He lurks in corners.
It is you, my father,
he wishes to speak
to you. Visit his 
village, his house;
lend ear to his story.

Believe it.
He is no ghost,
not thin as air.
His white robe
is real.

Not a shadow warrior
in a Samurai film,
he has been violated.
A newspaper bearing
his name, Aftab, or
Srinagar Sun
reports horrors he can
not come to terms with.

A Muslim woman named
Khadija appeals
to the Party of God
asking for her
disappeared husband.

She says: "I am your
sister. What have
you done to my husband?
My two years old son
misses his father

His name is Abdul Hamid
Daar. He is twenty five,
five foot seven, dark
curly hair, fair complexioned.
What have you done to him?"

A Hindu man's father
has died, has been killed.
Drowned in Jhelum
waters when he was
praying to the morning sun
on Makar Sankranti.

This man, Pandit Shiv Nath,
appeals to the Party
of God's area commanders:
permit me to cremate
my father. Please do not
force me to bury him.

That won't do.
I am Hindu. Won't you
issue me a travel permit
so I can go to Haridwar, to
immerse my father's
ashes in the Ganges.

My grandfather reads,
listens, shrugs
his shoulders, walks on.
He finds out Khadija's
husband did not return.
Her son became a mute.

Sweet syllables
of Kashmiri prattle
crashed against
a blind wall as he
fled in terror.

She had been hanged,
hands tied behind
her back. He was
brought in to see.

In Pandit Shiv Nath's
courtyard snow roses
and stars shielded
a frail, work-worn body
all winter. Spring
winds rotted it away.

Aftab Ram's shadow
grows taller, thinner.
It falls on blood
splattered walls,
as he reads, listens.

He is a shrewd
unsentimental man.
He does not weep.
He is Kashmir Today
He will wait, wait

for my father, my uncle.
He will wait for me
across the river.

[© Lalita Pandit, February, 1998].



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