Thinking of Spring in Summer: Martyrs’ Day in Kashmir

by Huma Dar
July 13, 2013

for Naheed Shah-Sheikh

in conversation with the attached photograph by an anonymous photographer…

Frisking Ghosts: India Prepares for Martyrs' Day in Kashmir, July 13, 2013.  Photographer Unknown.
Frisking Ghosts: India Prepares for Martyrs’ Day in Kashmir, July 13, 2013. Photographer Unknown.


In my homeland
beloveds are planted as seeds
singly, or in mass
23, 54, 77, 131…
(each madness has its method —
each massacre its algorithm)
marked, unmarked, empty graves
or those packed like sardines
in football fields where children once played
or open meadows where people once prayed. 

In my homeland
the bodies of my martyrs
even in death
are deemed seditious,
dangerous, explosive.    Continue reading “Thinking of Spring in Summer: Martyrs’ Day in Kashmir”

Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir [The Reality of Kashmir]: A Journey of Counter-Memory

On Sept 7, we invite EVERYONE to come join us at noon, at the Municipal Park (near GPO), Srinagar, as we mark the “dark times” of the military occupation, and commemorate the luminosity of AZADI: the light of faith, of freedom, of our blood-soaked struggle for justice, dignity, and true peace. Luminosity that cuts through the deep darkness of the “dark times” and reflects the resilience of human spirit in all its grace.

Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir: The Reality of Kashmir
Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir: The Reality of Kashmir

A Cultural Aesthetic Tribute to the Resilience and Struggle of the People of Jammu & Kashmir

“In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.”
~ Bertolt Brecht

On Sept 7, we invite EVERYONE — and not just a handpicked 1500 — to come join us at noon, at the Municipal Park (near GPO), Srinagar, as we mark the “dark times” of the military occupation, and commemorate the luminosity of AZADI: the light of faith, of freedom, of our blood-soaked struggle for justice, dignity, and true peace. Luminosity that cuts through the deep darkness of the “dark times” and reflects the resilience of human spirit in all its grace.

We invite EVERYONE to send in cultural aesthetic texts: poetry, paintings, photographs, multimedia, performance art, songs, et cetera on the ABOVE THEME to haqeeqatekashmir@gmail.com

Continue reading “Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir [The Reality of Kashmir]: A Journey of Counter-Memory”

Anything but Stationary

kaaGhazi hai pairahan har paikar-e tasveer ka
Robed in paper are all pictures manifest:
this world is nothing but
Your paper!

by Huma Dar
for my N, Z, many Shahids, and the One

Write to Me.  photo credit: Natasha Dar, 2012
Write to Me. photo credit: Natasha Dar, 2012

The moon did not become the sun. 
It just fell on the desert 
in great sheets, reams 
of silver handmade by you. 
The night is your cottage industry now, 
the day is your brisk emporium.  
The world is full of paper.

Write to me.
Agha Shahid Ali, “Stationery”

(I)
The tilted goblet drips
mocking
Pacific amber:
liquid lunatic luminous.
And makes a slippery mess
of Highway 1
the night
memory and desire —
relentless, ebon, a plumbless
dream of falling.
Like tresses distraught
entwining your imagined arm
(make the bleeding black night
all yours)
your aching memories knotted in my gut
my exiled ghost lost, found
and willfully entangled
again
in the lines of your words
your stone-cold feet in my shaalfa —
an ablution performed in blood.

I will die at the golden hour…

by Huma Dar
dedicated to the memory of Agha Shahid Ali (4 Feb 1949 — 8 Dec 2001), and that of some other Shahids…
Untitled.  photo credit: Huma Dar, 2008
Untitled. photo credit: Huma Dar, 2008
I will die at the golden hour
on a Fall afternoon
in a car:
the driver’s seat

For Omar Misharawi: Killed by Israeli Airstrikes on 11/14/12

BBC journalist Jihad Masharawi carries his son’s body at a Gaza hospital. (Associated Press)
BBC journalist Jihad Misharawi carries his son’s body at a Gaza hospital. (Associated Press)
Omar Misharawi (Jihad Misharawi, via Paul Danahar)
Omar Misharawi (Jihad Misharawi, via Paul Danahar)

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

At death you measure
no more than our arms
When we rise
to blow a prayer into your charred lung
we find resplendent
butterflies
milling about — lapidary
punctuations of our time
together
(eleven months in all)

Horror turned honey
and lustrous
as buds of new fruit

Ya Shaheed
You witnessed

Intimations of Ghalib

translations by M. Shahid Alam

1.

My absence was God:
His absence grows in me.
If I was not in play, how
Would that go for me?

I had nothing to lose
When she cut off my head.
It sat not on my torso: it lay
Dead upon my knee.

Dead all these years, Ghalib
Comes back to me. We
Talked of present misery:
He always, what might be.

Continue reading “Intimations of Ghalib”

Ghazal

by M. Shahid Alam

A night reading Rumi fills ancient wineglasses.
By day speed & freeway suck God out of me.

I have stayed up all night thinking of you.
Wall Street & City leech love out of me.

Who is my brother if the world is a village?
Jet and internet pluck my roots out of me.

If earth goes toxic, let’s move out to Mars.
This devil optimism takes the heart out of me.

When blue sky and sun wrap me in their arms,
Shähid, this friendship takes the dread out of me.

M. Shahid Alam teaches economics at Northeastern University in Boston. He is the author of Israeli Exceptionalism (Palgrave, 2010).  His poems and Ghalib translations have appeared in Kenyon Review(forthcoming), Critical Muslim (forthcoming), Clapboard House, Prairie Schooner, Chicago Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Paintbrush, Black Bear Review, West Coast Review, Marlboro Review, Journal of South Asian Literature, Kimera, Sufi, Swan, Chowk, Blanket and Pulse.