Verses of Dissent and Discontent — Three Poems by Mubashir Karim

Oct 17, 2020

Mubashir Karim presents three poems of dissent and discontent placed within the long trajectory of resistance poetry that marks contemporary poetic expression in Kashmir. The three poems are linked by the themes of discontent and disillusionment and fueled by a cynicism, sarcasm and an apprehension that have become customary to Kashmiris trapped between hopelessness and grief, with no clear future in sight. However, beyond such undertones, there is the subtle echo of hope lingering somewhere in these verses for the current times.

Half-past Stone Age

As the never-ending convoy,
moving at the speed of democracy,
rattles our insubstantial roads;
some passers-by cover their nose,
others close their car windows,
some others change their route,
some keep the possibility open
to cross or drive in between the ritual.
The rest of the people
gaze at their wristwatches
to confirm
the fact
it is still
half-past Stone Age here.

Perpetually.

“Everything is the colonizer's Fault”*

We already have poets
who speak truth to power,
in various reputed literary magazines.
We already have our political heirs
who know how to stay relevant in the media.
We already have journalists
who are friends with people in high places,
in case they write something against them in the future.
We already have newspaper editors
who know how to beat politicians at golf.
We already have people in uniform
who know how to change their nationality
as they return home.
We already have government employees
who are oblivious to politics
in the first week of every month.

What we need, God
—if you are still up there?—is
some typical, rich,
handsome, high caste Kashmiri dictator
who empathizes with our material zest!
Someone who understands
our helpless need to be religious and
speaks Arabic like poetry.

 

*a quote from Andres Neuman's book How to Travel without Seeing

As If

As if
we are
the beforehand fallen debris
of some colossal
seemingly imperishable desires.

As if
someone is searching
for something under this debris
someone who's not God
but acts like one.

As if
the debris could be
put together once again.

As if
we won't be cleared
off the ground of our own bodies
just like levelling the old graveyard
with new soil.

As if
life has always been an order
within order.

As if
we believe their lies.

As if
we don't know how to scribble
in the face of imminent death
Life in cursive writing.

As if...

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About the Contributor

Mubashir Karim was born in Srinagar, Kashmir and completed his Masters in English from the University of Kashmir. He went on to pursue his M.Phil and PhD from Jamia University. Mubashir is currently working as an assistant professor in the Higher Education Department, Jammu & Kashmir. His work has been published in the Transnational Literature Journal, Café Dissensus and Muse India, among many others. He is a regular blogger at http://poiesismubashirkarim.blogspot.com/

Knowledge is like Teher.
A handful of cooked rice
a humble offering
to ward off the grief
from an entire century.
Whosoever receives Teher
does so with blessings
and well wishes.
Today the T in Teher
is the T in Taaleem
just as the K in Kashmir
is the K in your name.
From Teōtīhuacān to Tral
we make a humble offering.

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