From the Master’s Stroke
Today, Ahmed Javed again. Great man of our times, and our situation, who if we turn to helps restore our sense of existence; sense of who we are, and where we are. From Srinagar to Sarajevo, and from Lahore to Delhi to Dhaka, this man's canvas carries grand images, with very fine detail. If only we divorce our relationship with trivial, and resist being dumbed down by this charming thing called journalism, we can prepare ourselves to benefit from him. People like him are the guardians of a great tradition, and in them we have the address of our destination. In them one can meet azadi. Here it is that you can shake hands with azadi, talk to azadi, and experience Azadi as a presence.
What is slavery! To borrow an explanation from Akbar Ahmed, he employs to describe the impact of colonialism on Muslims, slavery means "negating the capacity to think". Ahmed Javed is a person who does the exact reverse of it. He capacitates you to think. So once we, the people of Kashmir, sail through this phase of collective assertion successfully, our young and old need to sit with him. Meet him, and meet Azadi.
He tells what has been done to us, and who we are. He tells us what is being done to us, and how grim it has been made for us. Take this sentence of his:
Aisai aisai Andhairai eijaad kiyai ja rahai hain jin sai zameen tou kya sooraj ko bhi tareek kiya jasakta hain
Such is the darkness in making that not just the earth on which we live, but the sun under which we breath, would turn black.
This single sentence draws an image of the darkness that has surrounded Muslim societies and countries – Mid East or South Asia. Unusual situations can capture anyone, but unusual situations can be captured only by a few. Among those few, we find only someone, who can not only grasp the unusual times, but can draw an image of it. This image is drawn by minds like Ahmed Javed – power houses of deep thinking.
Kashmir, as part of Muslim world and Muslim politics, is also under an assault from this darkness. The earth beneath us and the sun above us is threatened by this blackening of space. May be pellets hitting our future eyes serves as an easy and immediate example!!! And in this situation when one hears people, who could have articulated our predicament, and whose intellectual capacities we once thought were our own, one turns numb. In this state of numbness I hit upon a free verse that the internet source tells me, is from Ahmed Javed. Great men are always a great relief, and that is what these lines did to me. Written in Urdu, these lines depict a sublime concern for future, a deep agitation on the current, and an electrifying condemnation of those who are responsible for the devastation of the Muslim lands.
How do we put the same thing in English, and tell our own story. The Kashmir of 2016. How do we express our anger against those who did it to us, and still insist that they are amongst us. I tried it for my self. Just for my self. It's no match to what the master has written, of course, but it gives voice to my helplessness. This is a moment when the most gentle in the town regret their inability to hurl abuse, and these lines come to rescue.
I could design a costume of curse
and drape over these lepers
dumped in our town;
spires of scum
minarets of muck
towers of trash
But how unfortunate I'm
there are no fields curse can be cultivated on
and no looms you can weave it on
and if they were
woe to me, I know not how to stitch a robe of abuses
Had we chosen the right direction for ourselves
I wouldn't be faced with the bondage
that turns my disgust into a sterile womb
carrying only a self consuming fire
I'm in search of a volcano
squeezing out fire from,
like honey from a comb,
I could torch these assemblies
where lizards sign deals
and wolves make speeches
I'm looking out for an earthquake
that can pull this frightening wall down
behind which slavery is coronated
and perfidy is honoured
I wish the earthquake hits soon
and that volcano erupts sooner
otherwise Bijebehara and Beerwa would turn into jakes
for the foxes of same lineage;
and filled with the discharge
from these mutilated souls of mercenaries at Gupkar
Jhelum would stink to high heaven
I'm out to delay the dawn
whose sun orders the rats
ruling over Rajpura and Handwara
to issue plague by proclamation
I'm out to delay the evening
that arouses these coronated crows of Gupkar
to make vulgar romance in haunted graveyards
I am terrified of the day
when Srinagar becomes a dumping site for such decomposed souls
Why don't we set out to gather sounds;
but are there enough available!
What we have right now are whimpers;
And when did this dust finally decide to cry!
We need sounds
that can hold our fury
sounds, that can carry the fire within us
and deliver it faithfully
at the doorsteps of our tormentor,
into the chambers of the cruel.
Even if they are on other planets
We need such killer sounds
come, join the journey to outer planets
carrying back an inferno of sounds;
when we come back
hope, these shameless creatures
have not bartered away all power to hear