New Kashmir

Lend me your ear, O my dazed darling!
I shall unfold to you the elan of love.

The length and breadth of the vale
I traversed, like one lost to himself.

I ran after pirs, fakirs and jogis,
Bypassing no holy place.

I was snuffing the air for tomorrow’s
Tidings, when my country would be free.

But there was only talk of the past,
Of how the far-off world moved.

The star-studded night fell and moonlight
Took the hill and dale in its embrace.

Dead tired, I perched on a mound. My body
Slept but mind was awake to a new tune.

The morning breeze thus unfolded
The new message to the garden:

Lending ear to what tomorrow brings
Will make you self-conscious.

A new world shall arise from vacuum,
And barrenness shall yield to blossom.

‘Bulbul’ shall be crowned; hawks will obey
Him and eagle-king shall guard his palace.

Roses shall evaluate their own worth;
The ‘bulbul’ shall sing at a premium.

With spears upright, thorns shall keep
Watch least any rose should come to harm.

The kite shall turn vegetarian,
And not pick on helpless insects.

Mountains shall deliver jewels, their peaks
Emit gold, and the sky rain pearls.

Emeralds shall grow out of the Dal, and
Pearls float on Wular’s surface.

Pigmies, giants, elfs, demi-gods,
All shall be levelled to human size.

Fanatics, bigots shall be disarmed
And religion will be a mere hallmark.

Translated from the original Kashmiri by T. N. Kaul.

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