The Blog of Cafe Dissensus Magazine – we DISSENT

Poem: Kashmir

Photo: Indian Express

By Faakirah Irfan

“Write with your eyes like painters, with your ears like musicians, with your feet like dancers. You are the truth sayer with quill and torch. Write with your tongues of fire. Don’t let the pen banish you from yourself. Don’t let the ink coagulate in your pens. Don’t let the censor snuff out the spark, nor the gags muffle your voice. Put your shit on the paper. We are not reconciled to the oppressors who whet their howl on our grief. We are not reconciled.” — GLORIA ANZALDÚA, “Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to Third World Women Writers”


Where Smoke, blood, and metal shards
Replace the cold autumn breeze.
Where the sky bears witness to bloodshed,
Where the streets have turned into a battlefield now.
Where Stones become weapons,
Where they fire bullets as an answer to our stones –
412 pellet injuries on his body.
123 more than the days I had been married to him.
My womb, giving birth to an orphan.
Hundreds of wombs like mine.
His face, his innocence,
Our Death.
A boy who was playing with his bat today afternoon,
Just a 12-year-old doing things kids do.
A martyr now.
A 12-year-old martyr.
A girl, a woman, a man, a generation
107 eye surgeries.
107 blind children: collateral damage.
Their future: a damage.
Exams become a necessity for the maimed children.
Education can’t suffer, says the education minister.
12-year-old dead, one less child’s future to worry about, no?
She ate pani puri when she was young.
We eat bullets and fire and death.
She rides a Scooty while we ride ambulances filled with dead bodies.
Calendar, every seven days.
No holidays for celebrations, no festivities.
Just funerals and pellets.
Roads closed,
Windows shut, broken.
Doors bolted.
Homes, looted.
Women behind the doors, locked.
Better to die in my home than on the battlefield.
Women soldiers.
Women, widows, childless.
Women raped, women fought, women with their men.
Stones in their hand.
Protectors of their land as their men die.
Land, home.
My motherland, my martyrs, my people.
Your bullets, your pellets, your shells, your pava,
Your oppression, your forced alliance.
My stones, from my land.
Your army.
My people.
My humanity over your jingoism.
My revolution
Will overthrow you.
One day.
My words will pierce through your nationalism
I hope.

Faakirah Irfan is a law student at the University of Kashmir. She aspires to be a human rights defender someday. For now she can be recognized as the “seditious” research intern at the Digital Empowerment Foundation, New Delhi, India.


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Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine on ‘The Idea of the University’, edited by Dr. Debaditya Bhattacharya, University of Calcutta, India.

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