Kashmir

Author’s Note: I have been distressed by the constant reminders of Kashmir that we receive, and I am not even in Kashmir, when I think what must be going on there, It makes me sad. It makes me worried for the state that doesn’t belong. For the state that wants its home back. For the state which has endured way more than any other state in the world, I am worried, for Kashmir. Here’s a poem, do read. Thanks.

 

Everyday I wake up,

I see new faces,

“Tourist flock here”

The tabloids say daily.

 

The valleys, lush and green,

The hills cold and ever-present,

The climate cozy and romantic,

The state of flowers, Kashmir

 

I live here, my name’s Aman,

These finer points escape me,

They see flowers, I see war,

They see valleys, I see unrest,

The feeling of not knowing,

Not owning the land I stand on,

The terrorists killed my mother,

The army got my father,

Which army?

Indian?

Pakistani?

I don’t know,

I don’t care.

They’re dead.

 

My house isn’t my own,

My valley isn’t my own,

The air I breathe has chemicals in it,

People are yelling now,

They are revolting,

Should I cry?

Should I get angry?

Should I join them?

I don’t know.

I am too young.

Who should I fight?

India?

Pakistan?

I really don’t know.

I don’t think I care,

I am alone,

With no ‘state’ of my own.

 

I have a neighbor,

You could ask him,

For maybe he can give,

Answers to questions yet unasked.

 

I live here, this is my home,

My name’s Abdul,

Flowers? No I don’t have any,

I am old enough to know,

But I can’t yet understand,

Why are we fighting?

My eyes? The grenade got them,

The shrapnel flew in,

I can’t see.

I can hear though,

I can hear the cries,

The cries of the people,

Who don’t know where they belong.

 

Where do I belong?

I am an Indian,

Pakistan wants me.

Why?

I don’t know.

India wants to keep me.

Why?

I don’t know.

I just want to live,

In the state I was born in,

As an Indian? No.

As a Pakistani? No.

As a human.

 

Let us be,

Aman is alone,

He’s just a boy,

I have seen good and bad,

But his eyes are still fresh,

I don’t even have them, see?

Of course you do!

 

For over half a century,

We have been on the news,

On the brochures,

On the tabloids,

At gunpoint,

On battle-tank crosshairs,

On grenade launcher aims,

On India’s heart,

On Pakistan’s bucket list.

 

God damn it, just let us live,

As humans, let us live,

Let us have our state,

We were born here,

We just want to live,

With our families,

On our land,

In our houses,

On our valleys,

Atop our hills,

As Indians? No.

As Pakistanis? No.

As humans.

Please,

Give us our life.

S Narayanswamy