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Kashmir: A Heavenly Cemetery

It was the Persian poet Amir Khusru who referred to Kashmir as a paradise on earth. There is an old stone plaque in, Shalimar Gardens, which proclaims “Agar Firdaus bar rōy-e zamin ast, hamin ast-o hamin ast-o hamin ast,” meaning “If there is a paradise upon earth, it is here, it is here, it is here“.

It is also mentioned that when Jahangir was asked on his deathbed about his cherished desire he is credited to have said:

“Kashmir, the rest is worthless”

Well, reading such great poetic words:

Always I wondered

How could one term a piece of land heaven

It baffled me for ages

Why do poets write such praises

After all it’s just a land, few trees, few mountains

A valley blessed with decades of unrest

Lost peace as a concept

A land once white as snow

Now has traces of blood 

On every leaf which has the mettle to grow

A land trampled by army boots and assault rifles

A land filled with widows, staring out the windows

Bleeding for someone long gone

A land whose kids wish a life at dawn

Return home clad in white, powered by saffron

What’s so special about a ruined town?

Why is it a talk among the nations around?

Well, I never knew what ‘beautiful’ meant

Until I set foot on Kashmir’s heavenly ground

A land blessed by Allah himself

A heaven with gunfire in the background

A heaven with bleeding, dying children in a mound

Throats choked with tear gas and smoke

Unable to make any sound

A heaven destroyed brutally

By you and me collectively

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