Chinar of Eidgah Pinjura

Musings unpoetical on tragedy incarnate - Kashmir.

This eye- catching old chinar

of Eid prayer ground

of Pinjura.

Aloft on ground high wearing the summer green,

eying Pir’s high old mountains from the very time

Kashmir’s rendezvous with her turbulent history__

trampled, trodden, bloodied – thus began.

This grand old Chinar

eye-witness to many turns of eventful upheavals,

treachery overtaking them all to render all uneventful.

Companion of my childhood

fill my memory card again

with that eventful entry of the Mughal king, Akbar the great

across Peer ki Gali four hundred years ago

to subjugate Kashmir.

From your high pedestal you remain

the living page of history to memorialise

the marching Mughal legions camping in the meadows of Pir Panchal__

The offshoot of that first treachery __

 – the broken promise – history has recorded.

Songs of Habba Khatun, our queen, 

revive in our memory loss of our free Kashmir.

‘And since then Kashmir has never been free’1

Centuries after that borehole

in the Pir’s mountain wall

saw soldiers from the plains enter Kashmir,

downtrodden Kashmiris rose up in yet another upheaval.

That was when Mehjoor – the poet of Kashmir

sang of somebody to have changed the destiny of Kashmir.

There and then, when Kashmiris were going to be

the master of their own fate;

coming from afar treachery also stepped in

to render the turning tide uneventful.

Rather pushing us deep down

into the abyss

of nothingness and uncertainty. 

Do we exist or not?

is the only question now.

Ever since that waylaid journey__

Waylaid by highwaymen we knew nothing about,

we began

this Chinar__

The village’s historian,

continually with a watchful eye

goes on to see us suffer and die.

we suffer, we bleed, we die.

But lo!

Still upholding the same old cause

we espoused in the beginning –

what else than life free,

without fear under the sun.

‘where the head is held high and the mind free'(2)

your majesty – our camaraderie

in our long, beset journey:

you must have seen us in our glory

with spectre and crown on our heads.

Tell us of that time when we were free.

How did we look, live, enjoy poetry?

Be then a prophesier to tell us when

O when shall we be our former self again.

‘ you wayward crusader – 

you failed to catch time by forelock

at the defining moment

when the nations of the East

were breaking the chains put on them

by the West’s imperium.

For that criminal betrayal or whatever.

Now wait and wait long till the old gypsy man

comes your way again’, bespoke

the Chinar to me in silent language.

God intervenes in history once in a thousand years(3)

History knew this lofty Chinar is preserver of.

History of broken times hard and bitter,

of tear and blood, of congregations

of lamentation and sorrow.

There is another signet folks of my village

have put on thee.

Thou majestic Chinar

It is under thine long and leafy branches

that they, the pure and true folk of my village,

now bid farewell to their martyrs.

(They now say their funeral prayers__nimaz-e-Jinazah_

for their slain youth under the Chinar of their Eidgah)

Chinar of Eidgah you now are

a mourner among the multitude of mourners.

 You are a mighty longer lasting participant

in the funeral prayers of our slain youth.

Slain just in a killing spree of vendetta,

by the jackboot enjoying impunity under AFSPA.

Friendly Chinar

unforgettable how you held

teenage Umer’s bullet-torn body

under your large canopy

and around those thousands of mourners,

men.women, young and old bewailing

the martyrdom of Umer.

Skyrocketing the cries of their cherished dreams.

Dream we must, dear friend,

to be of worth and value,

to make ourselves count

in the reckoning of free and fearless

human beings.

No longer humiliated, outraged

and taken …..for…granted.

Each night we put Kashmir in our dreams

Hard to think schoolboy Umer, three in number

in the killing-spree to youthful Suhail and Ishfaque

within a span of days.

Forget not Khanday Rashid in the bloody annals of our history.

This morning, after that shooting to mutilated death

of ten humans in South Kashmir’s

little known village of ‘doomed address’,

a beggar woman dropped in my house

from a neighbouring village.

‘where shall I go a begging in this flood of blood-letting

The rite of fourth of a shaheed not yet come

the news of two more shot dead is carried

by the wave of bloody time all around:

all around there is shutdown of terrible silence.

Difficult to go a begging when nothing moves;

but I have to __I am ill I need money to buy medicine’,

she says in overriding pain.

Kashmir is bleeding.

Bled by dirty politics for power and pelf

without mercy.

History of deceit, reminiscences

of treacheries of those who claimed to change__

__change our history – history of us Les Miserables,

into a history of promise.

Pinjura- born uUrdu poet Shoorida Kashmiri lamented

"Hum un manzilun se guzrein hain ya rab

jahan apne hi humsafar loottai hain"

we have passed through so many such stations O God

where our own fellow travellers have robbed us

This robbery goes on with us unabated.

Save us God. Save us merciful Allah!


‘ Shall we meet again, you old Chinar

and this old man

by the gates of the villa of peace,

our hands blossoming into fists

till the soldiers return the keys

and disappear’

(Agha Shahid Ali slightly altered)

(1) Agha Shahid Ali

(2) Tagore

(3) Ibn Khaldun