After the occupation

By Shubh Mathur


Some day
After the Occupation
we will return
to Chrar-i-Sharief
and remember.
at the tomb
miraculously spared
by the fire
the soldiers set to burn the town.
The people
who told
of hiding for three days in the mountains
while fire and artillery
reduced their homes
to rubble and ash.
The barbed wire soldiers
surrounding the rebuilt town.
We will return
to the shrine
on the hilltop
and greet the saint
feed the pilgrims
and the pigeons.
Some day.

The Meadows

Some day
After the Occupation
We will take a picnic
to the meadows
Where your family’s pictures
place you.
Your brother then
a schoolboy with a shy smile,
a son.
Not a memory,
and a cause.
The meadows now speak of torture and pain
but some day
they will smile again
for me
and you.

The Anthropologist

The anthropologist seeks to discover
“The natives’ point of view.”
Is this what is meant?
That I would
from you?


Some day
After the Occupation
The Azaan will not frame
tales of torture
told of prisons far away,
of years spent in solitary cells
for speaking words of defiance.
But the Call to Prayer
will remain
a call to justice.
A reminder.
Evil fails.
Tyranny ends.
Some day.


Shubh Mathur is an Indian anthropologist whose work concerns human rights, nations and borders, violence, sovereignty, immigration and cities. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the New School for Social Research. Her first book, The Everyday Life of Hindu Nationalism: An Ethnographic Report has been published by the Three Essays Collective Press. She is currently working on a collaborative ethnography with the families of the disappeared in Kashmir.

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  1. Chrar-e-Sharief
    There is a fundamental flaw in this poem. The Shrine was burnt by Mast Gul and his cronies. This is a well known fact. Why is the writer’s poem based on a lie. This takes the whole charm out of his/her poem.

    Most wannabe writers use such tactics to generate publicity, otherwise no one would read their poems/books.