Poetry

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“Where art thou?” Kashmir needs a Shahid tonight “O, please free her with poesy,” pleads a Shahid tonight A red path marks the entrance to my home “Come on in, it’s okay,” greets a Shahid tonight There will be silent-shouting words, echoes of words Yet only one bullet makes a Shahid into a shaheed tonight It’s time to give a tongue of fire to shackles All mother’s breastfeed a Shahid tonight Where do these loud, lurid words come from, Ruhan, Does the spirit of an Agha lead a Shahid tonight? * For Agha Shahid Ali on his birthday, posthumously.

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I remember: the initial throe and the horror changed into loathing for them and the system that is talked of and never seen and then for my flesh that remained jerking with each stroke. One by one, having kept aside his black terror, hailed his vainglorious rigidity, and repeated the ritual, till it was over done. Then I was strangled and left a dead abomination. And now the bastards are dead, each bearing volleys of bullets in his hirsute chest. The loathing gradually changes into love and compassion for these strewn lumps of flesh. In my ‘wild lament’ I weep

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Haqeeqat e Kashmir Dear comrades let us do an exercise / polish this new guise, an exercise in memory / memory will set us free Let us begin, bloodied, let us bathe in memory / it is an urgent decree – before they whitewash us like frescoes of Shalimar / bury our bones under molten tar on which they make goodwill roads / that ease the flow of gun-toting hoards who fill the Rambiarah with their lies / there water with shame forever sighs Let us bloody begin now / I will show you how – I know we are

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The night’s ghosts came prowling down All geared in a khaki gown Wielded upon by a ghost with a frown   Walloped and whacked my door that midnight O horrible! My heart drubbed in fear At the ghost’s monstrous eyes   Fear I had, for my family that was. My only son- the crown of my head, The moon in my dreams!   The khaki ghost saw its prize Pushing, pulling and dragging While I kept trying, begging and beseeching.   Whilst I, a hole in my heart now Days to months; and months to years Nothing sufficed the khaki

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History, they say, always repeats itself. In my homeland, helplessness repeats itself. Our pangs never settle into grief, or mourning or bereavement. A fresh shot of agony injected shamelessly to scour our wounds. This time again they eyed him in the crowd And shot him in the head. I’m not fond of national pride But I stand in awe of the patience, the tolerance of my people, in this great democracy where our blood is disposable. What have you given to our homeland? Barbed wires and shattered windows, agonised orphans and wailing widows. Soldiers who don’t know why they are

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Agha Shahid Ali, around 1998 (Image from the interview for the ‘Poets of New England’ series with William Moebius) By Steffen Horstmann Forever   Do you seek, like Jonah, to be elusive forever– To live like an ascetic, reclusive forever?   You traversed deserts & abide in a mirage, Within the shade of a fig & olive forever.   The temple scribe said you were fated to stray In radiant absence, as wind lisps its narrative forever.   Sand rises around you, a volatile vacuum–O escape To the mind’s habitable star, fugitive forever.   In a vision you emerge from

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By Nida Sayed A splendid beauty from the skies descends Embracing the Earth quenches its long thirst Down hilltops, meadows and rivers it sends Its stroke and shine in watery outburst   Children dance and sing with joyous glee Utter utterance cannot illustrate the marvel Snooping beneath the shade of tremendous trees Bare feet caress the blanket of mushy moss   The carpet of green grass seduces smoothly And the swish-swoosh of the breezes toss As the sky shoves silver slings keenly And drippy droplets of water tumble   Bursting bubbles bloom in the pond And Fidgety Froggies croak relentlessly

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By Manu Kant You don’t cry when the bourgeois state puts your loved ones to death.   I didn’t become emotional. I am sure neither the teenage son of Afzal cried. I am sure Tabassum didn’t cry.   You either erupt in a spontaneous revolt and wage an unremitting battle until the victory or you just become stock-still turn your thoughts into a grand memorial to the departed one.   I didn’t cry. Perhaps, I had no reason to cry. Afzal Guru was a Kashmiri and I am from India. Afzal Guru was a Muslim by faith and I was

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By Mahi Farxana Munshi I walked above the dusty roads. The untrodden ways in the morning. The blood was dripping down from the sore skies. I knew it was going to end the air in my lungs. The curve on my lips just broadened more. The echo of the eternal bliss was calling my name. Just one wish was deep down inside. To be next to my kins who would wail, long when I will be gone. My return to the mighty one was decided, but this tyrannical way I didn’t know. Tell them what they can bend is not

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By Huzaifa Pandit Zindagi jabr-e-musalsal ki tarah kaati hai Jaanay kis jurm ki paayi hai saza yaad nahee!! (Life meanders on stooped under a perpetual tyranny What heinous crime begot such punishment? – Devoured by the misty mires of my memory) yeh jo raig-e-dasht-e-firaq hai yeh ruke agar yeh ruke agar to nishaaN mile, yeh nishaaN mile ki jo faasiloN kii saliib hai yeh gaRi hui hai kahaaN kahaaN mere aasmaaN se kidhar gayii tere iltefaat ki kehkashaaN mire be_Khabar, mire be_nishaaN yeh ruke agar to pata chale maiN thaa kis nagar tuu rahaa kahaaN ki zamaaN makaaN ki yeh

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