Kashmir

The poet called her a Paradise, and I bought his word

I was astounded at her beauty, but immediately saddened by her worth

I looked at a man clad in uniform, dead face, and stiff arms with a rifle

Stern eyes that searched for nothing, besetting a place so stifled

The country calls him hero, he stands there unaware

As a stone that refuses to be moved, with only a memory to share

I look beyond him at the other man, the one whose freedom is lost

The freedom we talk so much about, the freedom that asked for a cost

His eyes are intimidated, his soul hates the man

The man is, after all, nothing but a murderer on their land

He has a family back home, some 2000 miles away

A family that is not sure if he will make it by the day

Yet he stands there cold, and I’m not sure if by choice

Being hated and wished dead, I hear in the other man’s voice

I decide to see who this man is, why does he feel the hatred

For a man who guards that land, the land the poet called sacred

So I see, a lover of freedom, and why shouldn’t he be?

If I have one life to live, shouldn’t freedom be free?

The man in uniform killed his brother, a day or two ago

Dragged him, shot him, left him. So says the down low

I ask the soldier if that is true, His tired eyes look down

“I took an oath to serve this country, and now they make me play around

His brother planned to threaten the peace of this nation I serve

I only put him where he should be, a place that he deserves”

I ask the other man, if he really understands this fight

But it’s only a face of his brother that comes into his sight

“What nation is this you talk of, soldier? Turning militant out of a man?

They deprived me of my freedom, and now killed my clan.”

I fail to comprehend this war, so I turn my back

I hear a gunshot and a cry, but vision I seem to lack

I don’t know who killed who, but I know a man is dead

I know the winds will wail, and I know the valley is red

I find myself laughing aloud, what poet was he so wise?

Who denied the lament in the air, and called this place a paradise.

 

Garima Siwach is an Economics Graduate from the University of Delhi.  She is currently working with an organisation for agricultural and rural development in Uttar Pradesh. Garima describes herself as, “I have previously been a part of a couple of research projects in Mumbai. Culture curious at heart, I am an avid traveller and reader. My interests primarily lie in books, cameras, and bicycles. There are few places that have been able to inspire me immensely; Kashmir is one of them, Sikkim being the second.”

Thumbnail: Muhabit-ul-Haq

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4 COMMENTS

  1. This is very touching and to have come from someone who has not suffered this personally it is even more commendable. But what is baffling to me personally why don’t we see any kind of sensibilities shown to Indian narrative in mainstream media in Kashmir(Obviously which has not been bought over). We need to understand that the conflict will never be resolved by hot headed. It will be done through reconciliation only and that’s what we need to start doing now without wasting any more time.

  2. garry this is amazing !!!! u write so so well . its one of the most beautiful pieces i have ever come across. well done girlie

  3. Very evocative….it played out in my head like a short film. I like the way you tried to show two different perspectives in one narrative. Keep writing, Gary !

  4. There was something about this poem which makes me want to go there and see the beauty described. And it just touches those patriotic parts which are generally buried away in the daily musings of life.

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