Amidst the chaos, I pray for the best for Kashmir. One visit to this place surprises you. It is because of the warmth that is offered by the people here. Their culture remains tall and well above propaganda that circulated in society. This is a poem I had written a few years back when someone asked me, “What is Kashmir to you?“
Red is love, so are the cherries.
The wind is cold, yet they overcome all miseries.
Home to the saffron, famous for the shawl,
This is my Kashmir, beautiful and above all.
I brood under the flicker of an oil lamp,
Peculiar thoughts, I attain.
I ask, why only negativity, for the valley?
Why the image of my Kashmir is slain?
Listen to the child playing out in the snow–
The bullet’s sound will fade away.
Listen to the winds in the garden, making that flower sway.
Let’s not wait for a harbinger of good – but act as one.
Enough lives lost, enough of wars won.
I see, dew on the lotus here.
The Shikara rides the ‘golden’ Dal.
A whole city on its bank, for the surprise,
Surrounded by lush green chaparral.
The snow-capped, sky-kissed mountains,
Ready to mesmerise.
Visiting this place, so much love you gain,
Wrapping the tense history they ask you to rise.
It might have had its part of sufferings,
It might have had its strange fears.
Yet, the calmness of Gulmarg, oh hear,
Spreading the happiness to millions, here.
One day, cries of joy will echo in the valley,
The fragrance of Mughal gardens will reduce the pain.
A day will arrive when we will celebrate,
We know sunshine is followed by rain.
Let us collect the pebbles, aid in forming a wall.
Indeed, the struggle is omnipresent, willing to give up and fall?
I am a believer of peace, let the beauty swallow the pride,
Kashmir is in my heart, it will hail,
Welcoming all, with arms open wide.