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Two Kashmiri Ghazals by Ather Zia

Jun 26, 2021

Ather Zia recites two of her ghazals in Kashmiri for a people and their land, where the idea of a "prolonged longing" has emerged, such that time is always out of joint because space has been bent and constricted. It is in such spaces and under such circumstances where the poetic verse resists despair and gives form to grief, while sustaining hope. English transliteration courtesy of the poet, with photography by Masrat Zahra.

Ghazal I

yakh basteh ta'ran waeshun mizrab nazar aaw
wozill-maisoom'kis naeras Chenab nazar aaw

aes be-aaram dal'kiss wawas che palzan subuh shaam
ama, kansi ma su sani hisuk taab nazar aaw

ye shayy phir phir wedd gatchan, dapaan mitcherr atch
su prani Lalchowkeh wutchmut khaab nazar aaw

chu angott myoun buth basaan nazdeek adman yetkyen
apari balan ken matten lobeylubab nazar aaw

dapan chem hyeli gaerr, roodeh daedi harri akh akh posh
be kya wanhekh, me gulaban hyund sailaab nazar aaw

Ghazal II

gulabow soz meti akh dael, yath wearaan shahras manz
yakinitch gunaseh gayye beyi nael, yath wearaan shahras manz

me digi digi sombermut akh kaal oas towoonzadd reatchan
me ma payy wyedd che temiss ael, yath wearaan shahras manz

onun brunh beyi suuy manzar, khonni lalwaan yetan jehlum
dal'an zaneh beyi be kodnass sael, yath wearaan shahras manz

me zonneh gashas wanouyew tchayi kad thak chuy agar mokjaar
tem dopnum az te kad'hem khael, yath wearaan shahras manz

setha goam kaal chuss praran wetchem kayanaat khabas manz
aenin chesman diwaan chuss zael, yath wearaan shahras manz

myani noorik khodaya, gateh kasithey peyi wunal atchan peth
jawab te che gamit saweal, yath wearaan shahras manz

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About the Contributor

Ather Zia, Ph.D., is a political anthropologist, poet, short fiction writer, and a columnist. She is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at the University of Northern Colorado Greeley. Ather is the author of "Resisting Disappearances: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir" (University of Washington Press 2019) and co-editor of "Can You Hear Kashmiri Women Speak" (Women Unlimited 2020), "Resisting Occupation in Kashmir" (Upenn 2018) and "A Desolation called Peace" (Harper Collins, May 2019). She has published a poetry collection "The Frame" (1999) and another collection is forthcoming in 2021. Ather's ethnographic poetry on Kashmir has won an award from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology. She is the founder-editor of Kashmir Lit and is the co-founder of Critical Kashmir Studies Collective, an interdisciplinary network of scholars working on the Kashmir region.

“Remember, remember
13th of July,
Martyrs of Kashmir
and their sacrifice
who bore witness
with the crimson skies
Heroes of Kashmir
who paid the price.
Remember, remember
13th of July
Remember, remember
13th of July.”

—from: 13th of July, MC Kash