Some Poems by Kashmiri Pandit Refugees

Some Poems by Kashmiri Pandit Refugees

Koshur Samachar

Home, My Home

by P.L. Kaul, New Delhi

I had a home
There in the yonder vale,
Under blue sky
And green all around.
Brooks running down
From mountain slopes,
Merrily frisking away
Onto serene lake,
Reflecting the eterna1 Trinity
In the ecstasy of sunlight
And moonlit night!

Here was my home
My Sweet home.
I was born here.
Here I grew up
In sun and shade of Time.
I recall those yesterdays,
On sunny morns, through leaves
Sunrays filtered onto my bed,
Kissing me on cheeks,
Spraying warmth-
Of abounding Love,
Infusing hope sustaining life !

That was my home-
A cosy home,
Brimming with esquisite joy.
The inmates held by bonds-
Of Love and trust,
And faith in God and Man,
Despised hate-
Of man by man, faith by faith;
Not swayed by fallacies-
Of caste, creed or colour.
Though poor, rich in values
Humans have always held dear!

I had a home
There in the yonder vale
A storm swept it away.
An upheaval wrought by brutes-
Greed and hate possessed the inmates.
They have lost all-
Feelings of love and concern
Which once made them share
Mutual joys and pains.
Alas, enemies within destroyed the home,
My home I cherish to behold
In My dreams-today:

Shall it be Buried Forever

by Prerna Kaul

The wrathful curse, that fell from the sky,
made each of us an alien-wreck
ousted from our beloved land -
the land that makes our flesh and blood.

Blurred eyes wept, as the motherland passed by,
and we set out unarmed
for destinics yet to be known,
destinies where miseries flourish and flood.
It will be long before the wounded passions die,
and give way to an awaited birth -
a birth that in its gestation witnessed
nothing but hatred and blood-shed.

Only time will tell whether
this birth shall review
our wheezing and suffocating cultural breath
"Shall it be buried forever, as dead."


By Radhey Nath Masarrat

They bade us take seven steps across the Jhelum,
We did not utter a single word.
They made us ascend the Pir Panchal blindfolded,
We did not utter a single word.

They thrust nails of faith into our bosoms,
We crossed bloody torrents near our very doors.
Christ-like, we were hanged on the gibbet,
We did not utter a single word.

And then, a weak woman was sliced;
The sawyers were only doing their 'job',
How could we possibly object!
We did not utter a single word.

As seers, we believed in transmigration:
That is why tongues of flames ate up many
While the rest were bundeled out.
We did not utter a single word.

When head-hunting became the order of the day,
We preached a new 'ahimsa' to the world:
We held back our hands, offered our scalps.
We did not utter a single word.

Basically, our minds are rusted.
Why did we not shower praises when,
In darkness, they sifted 'chaff' from rice!
We did not utter a single word.

Today, when shrouds were being supplied
In the city for the dead, we dared not ask
Whether we too had been summoned.
We did not utter a single word.

The murmuring flames proclaimed that
One more family had been annihilated.
Newspapers said they were innocent,
We did not utter a single word.

We were tongue-tied, what could we do ?
Shakuni and Duryodhan ruled the roost.
They cast the die and we were lost,
We did not utter a single word.

Who says we should have spoken out,
If only to avoid feeling calumniated?
But who was there to hear our tale of woe?
We did not utter a single word.


(A trip To Kashmir In Dec. 1987)
- by M. Kaul

Touching the ground on which I put the first shaky footsteps,
Seeing the majestic contours of the undulating skyline,
Which my eyes had never tired to range,
Back in Kashmir, I feel the echo of my genesis,
An expatriate's answered prayers.

Buried here lie the pristine years of my childhood,
When wonder turned into thought,
Desires into dreams,
The vision was uncluttered
And conflict took root.

Does a man owe something to the land of his birth,
Or is it his insecurity that binds him to his roots,
Or is it all an alluring angle of the architecture of emotion,
Or simply an elemental pull to gravitate to one's origin,
If 'child is the father of man' then what is growing up all about.

Unblemished by the coarseness of life,
Unmarred by the waywardness of the world,
Reposed in the frozen perspective of time,
Still gleaming lie the first experiences of life.

The integrity of self,
'The uniqueness of the individual and the brotherhood of mankind',
The uncomplicatedness in human relationships,
The simplicity of understanding,
The unquestioned joy in living,
The clarity of the way ahead,
Just being, not becoming.

We go back to the roots
To replenish the vision and the spirit we have lost,
To regain our identity and reclaim our history,
To reset the balance between nature and mind,
To feel as an element of the universal spacetime.

But the chilling vision shattered the trip down the childhood:
Kashmiri's living in the fossilized glory of the past,
Apathy their unshakable creed,
Cynicism the only energetic hope
Living between tyranny and anarchy of political pendulum.

Walking down the desolate ruins of Srinagar's streets,
Shapeless stretches of thoughtless construction,
Chaotic services and nightmarish traffic,
Where time has frozen in the inner city,
And darkness envelops the winter months.

Plundered, ravaged, and defiled through ages,
By its soulless bandit rulers,
Neglected eternally by its crass inhabitants,
To wither slowly in the irreversible arrow of time,
This bounteous gift of nature, Kashmir, moans in pains unnameable,
Its soul heaving with a curse eternal
For its unworthy sons.

Kashmir always beckons me to a homecoming,
A quivering echo of a distant thunder,
A withered glow on the horizon,
Remnant of a fire kindled a long time ago,
It will remain my tombstone.

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