• Poem: Time in Kashmir 

    Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee

    September 14, 2016

    Photo Courtesy Javed Dar
    Photo Courtesy Javed Dar


    "It's late, it's always late,
    in history it is always night,
    always the wrong time."

    — Octavio Paz, "Although it is Night"

    What time is it in Kashmir? Time's a curse, time, accursed tongues
    Split into stones, mothers hurl curses, curses sit
    Lighter on their tongues than prayers reeling from gunshots
    When mothers give up on time
    Time roams without shelter, it has no place to hide. 

    Time goes blind, turns a blind eye on Kashmir, blind 
    Hands wound children’s eyes, children blinded cry prophecies 
    Time in Kashmir is in grave hands, time multiplies in graves, it hides  
    Its face in the water, time is upstream in Kashmir, oarsmen row against 
    The current, blood runs slow.

    Time hallucinates is it 2016? 2010? Nothing ever seems
    To rest in its own time, time is elsewhere in Kashmir, never here
    Time is a mirror in shards, it splinters memory, memory 
    Never sits in one place in Kashmir. 

    Time is the occupier, the occupation in Kashmir 
    Dates encircled in calendars are reminders, dates marked
    Not as past but as future in unmarked time. 

    Time is served on a platter in Kashmir, there they eat time
    Slowly in morsels, in Kashmir they eat curses.



    Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee‘s poems have appeared in The London Magazine, New Welsh Review, The Fortnightly Review, Elohi Gadugi Journal, Mudlark, Metamorphoses, Modern Poetry in Translation, The Postcolonialist, and The Indian Quarterly. His first collection of poetry,Ghalib’s Tomb and Other Poems (2013), was published by The London Magazine. He teaches in the School of Culture and Creative Expressions at Ambedkar University, New Delhi.

    Donate to the Indian Writers' Forum, a public trust that belongs to all of us.