Humanity- Let’s not be human.

Look at the world, it’s so messed up. Humanity, you’re a curse to this world! Human nature is just like the nature of any other animal in the word. Humanity sucks! I don’t understand why the concept of humanity is so eulogized. Humanity is so disgusting, humanity should be no ideal for anyone, it’s frigging sick to be humane! I realized that being humane means being just like any other wild beast out there, ready to snatch anything that comes along its way. The day humans stop eulogizing the concept of humanity, will be the day they will see real peace. I’d say that, the only ‘good’ thing about human beings is their ability to suppress their human nature, hats off to all those who have done it. If we unleash/present ourselves as true human beings, we will get to see the same things that are currently troubling us, but on a very larger scale i.e. violence (of all forms), brutality, oppression et al. When people see anything ‘good’ happening around them, they cry out that humanity exists. No, it’s actually the absence of humanity!

When we say that we should be humane, we are actually saying that we should follow our basic instincts/our basic human nature, but we forget that human nature has never been to live peacefully or to give space to others. We forget one basic thing about human beings that, whatever be the case of our advancement in science, technology, knowledge or the level of our intelligence, we are still ‘animals’. We forget that we belong to the animal specie called Homo Sapiens. Human beings are creatures whose natural behavior is like most of the animals out there, having traits that we detest strongly. Then what’s so great about being human? As a matter of fact, even religion preaches us not to be human. Spirituality/Religion teaches us to suppress our desires, to control ourselves, our behavior, our emotions, our instincts and all that human stuff. Spirituality/Religion teaches us to be humans who lack human characteristics. Actually, what we call civilization is suppression of human desires/nature and what we call barbarism is actually, being human.

It’s high time we stop praising humanity, because there doesn’t seem to be anything ‘good’ in being human. I see ‘good’ among us only when there are human beings sans human nature. Even our definition of ‘good’ defines implicitly the need to suppress our basic nature. I just wonder that, if we praise civilization and curse/detest barbarism, how can we praise human beings for their human nature/humanity? We curse barbarism but ask people to be human beings! We love civilizations but hate the idea of absence of humanity! We’ve messed up the definition of humanity. Humanity is actually a misnomer, it gives us a false idea about human beings. In the name of humanity we preach things which go against the very basic human nature. It’s in our nature to commit ‘crimes’, to spread ‘evil’, but when someone does the opposite and does ‘good’ things, we talk about the presence of humanity! If we want us to be humane, then any act committed by human beings shouldn’t be a crime. Have you ever heard anyone saying that a beast (wild animal/predator) killing its prey is evil? Ever heard that a beast killing another beast is evil? No, never, they would say that it’s perfectly natural! But if a human being does the same thing, they’d use all the bad words in the world to curse the perpetrator of any such act. I want to ask, why won’t they call it a natural act (which it is, of course) when human beings do it? What makes an act done by human beings specially different from the one done by any other living being? After all human beings are living creatures just like billions of them out there. Why is it that morality and moral code is applicable on only one living creature among all the living beings? Aren’t humans also natural beings? So, whatever they do should actually be called natural, no? Are human beings special? If yes, then whatever we do has to be special, why such a hue and cry? If no, then let’s go back to the above questions.

We human beings are full of hypocrisy, and I would like to add here that it’s perfectly natural to be a hypocrite. A friend of mine once asked me about the solution for humanity. I’d say that the only solution for human beings is to stop being human, and save the world from all the pain and agony. Human beings have caused enough destruction, enough now, let’s not be humans for a while, rather, forever!

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Ded (Grandma)

Memories, they paid me a visit, yesterday,
Now in thoughts, thinking about you, today.
‘Ded’ in Kashmiri, ‘Grandma’ in English, ‘Daadi’ in Urdu . . .
In all the languages, I wish to call you.
Will you come back, for a moment, just for a moment?
I would have called you to stay forever,
But, I don’t wish you another torment,
I can’t wish you to live among these men, ever,
Amongst your sons and your husband.
Not even amongst those women,
Your daughters-in-law and your daughters.
No, not even with me and all your grandchildren.
I want you to rest in peace, forever and ever,
Not to be burdened with the ‘life’, never ever.

I was a child, my memories of you are ‘childish’,
You left too early for those memories to be ‘mature’.
Maybe these lines are strong, which can hold,
Your life, your story, for it needs to be told.
Let me close my eyes and see your smiling face,
Lost teeth, those wrinkles, that grace!
Fragile hands, hardened by times, now looking so feeble,
Your eyes, that charming look!
Puffing hookah, you would be,
In that room besides the house,
The rising smoke, I would see,
With each puff you would glee.
And I, I would break the chillum,
Hide that hookah and won’t let you smoke,
I wasn’t being kind, I wished you no good!

Through false stories I was deceived,
And I, as a kid, believed.
Told that you weren’t good,
I was an immature kid who believed in mature lies!
Forgive me, I’d say,
But you always did,
With your smile, each day.
Your habits, I did hate,
But now, I would never do that.
I wish to change those times as the times did change me,
Change the times that shaped you when I wasn’t even born.
Now I understand you, I understand your ways;
Now people don’t call me a kid anymore!
No more lies, not a word against you,
I won’t hear, I won’t pay any heed.

You were born of tough times,
You were shaped by rough hands,
Trials and tribulations you did bear,
Through deep gorges of life you did steer.
In the world where women are taught to be obedient,
In your obedience, you were consistent,
You learned it with your heart,
I wish you had given rebellion, a thought!
Wish you had told me your story,
About your life, the robbed glory.
Wish I had been good to you,
Loved you like I had to do.

Your indifferent sons, the uncaring husband,
We, the kids, who were ‘taught’ to be like them.
Your gifts, however small, were a token of love,
You gifted everyone with anything, anyhow,
A piece of dried bread, a broken toy,
You loved everyone, you brought them joy.
Your stories, your words, that made us smile,
Your own life, wish you had talked about that for a while.
You never spoke about your agony or your pain,
You always talked about the brightness of snow and the sound of rain.
No one did care for you, like you cared for all,
How pure your love was, how evil we are!

You were so good, so good to all,
From the first day to the last, you faced indifference.
But, never did your eternal love fall,
You blessed us all with your affectionate persistence.
Your heart is the source of a gushing stream,
In which the blood has the color of love.
Your love lives in our heart,
We need to learn to pour it out.
The world needs to learn to love,
It needs to learn from you, how.

You would always see off the guests,
Standing near the door, against the wall you would rest,
Until the guests were in the sight,
You would stand right there.
Then you bid us final farewell,
To all the tormentors:
To the disease called cancer,
And the people called family.
You left us like those guests,
But you didn’t promise to come back, like they did.
I didn’t cry that day,
I didn’t want to be a hypocrite, anyway!
People shed tears, suddenly they started calling you, ‘Jannati’,
Oh, the irony!
The same lady, who cursed you to hell.
The same gentleman, who never ringed your doorbell.
Those tears, so uncouth,
That mourning, wish it had some truth!
We remember your generosity,
But forgot to be generous.
The absurdity of our traversty,
We won’t even talk about our severance.

I asked you for a moment,
To let you know that, I know:
I know the truth,
I know about you.
I asked you for a moment, to thank you,
To thank you for being what you were,
To let you know that I care.

P.S. Jannati is a Kashmiri term for the person who is believed to be dwelling in heavens.

Rushda, thanks for helping me in writing this poem and sharing few things about Grandma which I didn’t know.

Feeling . . .

Feeling like . . . like what?
Wish I could say, but . . .
Hiding my emotions behind these dots . . .
These blacks marks, these tiny spots . . .
Shall I speak or let them be . . .
It’s always the same melee.
Let’s turn the page.

Over to the next, it’s still the same,
The cacophony of thoughts, burns me without a flame.
In each heartbeat there is your sound,
In each breath there is your voice.
There you are, here I am, way too far.
But still, still I feel your presence in this hour,
Beside me in your shade,
Underneath the light of our love.

Over to the next page,
A moment of pause, stillness of thoughts,
I search for you, in your fading shade.
Where are you, why aren’t you here?
My heart now beats without a sound,
In silence it bleeds,
The numb heart, beats so fast!
Asking, which one, which one is the last?

Let’s turn to another page,
Here I make a cry,
And let it out in a single sigh:
“For you, I desire.
It’s you, I desire.
I long for you,
I cry for us!”

There’s another page and a hundred more,
It ends with you and me together on a shore.
Looking at the ocean we passed through,
Hand in hand, together we move.

AFSPA: The constitutional assassin

November 4, 2014, Kashmir: A car ripped by bullets for not being able to stop at an army check point in Chattergam when the car skidded, killing two youth and injuring two others. (And the recently released movie, ‘Haider’ showed that, armed forces give a chance to militants to surrender before any encounter. But here they are seen firing at a car without even ascertaining whether the persons in the car are militants or just civilians. What a farce!)
Now, starts the judicial (read anything) process. Police has registered an FIR against army personnel in Kashmir after the civilian shooting but we all know the fate of the process even if the charges are proved. They will invoke AFSPA to get immunity. They maybe even promoted, as they say, taareekh gawaah hai (History is the witness). The same old story, kill at will, rape, murder innocent people in cold blood and then invoke AFSPA! Why are lakhs of armed forces in Kashmir given such excessive powers just to counter militancy where numbers are no more than few hundred active militants (according to the official statement of the same army)? I just wonder how can the constitution of a republic and a democratic nation like India have such a draconian law? For how long will Kashmiris and North-Easterners have to face the brunt of AFSPA? It’s not those murderous armed forces who are actually reponsible for the killings but the carte blanche aka AFSPA that they have. India boasts about democracy and accountability, and yet gives unbridled powers to its armed forces, chutzpah, no? Haven’t they paid enough or there is more blood to be spilled, more precious lives to be lost till sanity prevails? Do these power-blinded forces even know the meaning of sanity? Someone please, let them know what being sane means and yeah if you’re to meet them, don’t forget to wear a bullet proof vest, ’cause you never know! These brave Indian armed forces can do anything for bravery medals and gallantry awards. And if you think, I’m exaggerating, just have a look at the records. Again, as they say, taareekh gawaah hai.
I have few questions for all the Indians: How do you feel when a law duly approved by your constitution is used to spill innocent blood? Do you still feel proud of your army? What about your conscience, the ‘collective conscience’ (the same collective conscience, you know what I mean, Afzal Guru . . .)? Is it satisfied about the pile of dead bodies, the mass graves, thousands of women raped and then perpetrators of crime getting away with all their sins and crimes? Don’t they have your backing, the backing of a law which you approve, your constitution which validates such acts, the impunity of armed forces which you support after they commit such dastardly acts? Aren’t you, as citizens of a nation responsible for the crimes that are validated by the constitution of your country and by your silence? Where is your collective conscience (sleeping or dead?) when it comes to human rights in Kashmir and North-East? What about your ‘atoot ang’ rhetoric? Isn’t the blood of innocent people on your hands? You pay taxes and they manufacture a bullet to be shot at an innocent person? Aren’t you sponsoring the genocide of Kashmiris when you don’t hold your government accountable for its actions? Your country, your nation, your army, your money and our blood! Aren’t you ashamed of your army which commits such crimes and then shields the perpetrators of crime or you are still proud of it? Are you blind nationalists or human beings? Just one last question, “Humanity, where art thou?”
Enough questions, enough time wasted. I don’t expect an answer from you but I know the solution: India, just get the hell out of Kashmir!

Colors of your silhouette

image

The memories,
The beauty of each memory,
Walks along with me,
There in my own shadow,
I see you, but with no colors,
Just a shade, a dark shade.
Your silhouette in my thoughts,
Searches for the tinge of your colors.
Where do I find them, rainbows or my heart?
Let me close my eyes and look for the colors.
I see your smile, I hear your voice,
I see you, the bright color of my life.

P.S. Dedicated to you.

A thoughtful walk

After a long time Hyderabadi skies were covered by a blanket of clouds, the stars weren’t there in the sky, they were hidden under the clouds without a space to peep out. The pleasant weather asked for a walk, and so I did. As I stepped outside the hostel, I could feel the fresh breeze brought by monsoons with themselves. It touched my senses and brought them back to life from the suffocated environs of a dried up land craving for some water. The moment I walked out, it started raining lightly. You could feel the rain only if you paid attention to each droplet falling on your skin.
Outside the hostel, the tea stall was abuzz with people enjoying each sip of tea along with the beautiful weather. As I walked on I could sense a feeling of peace and ecstasy at the same time. The garden infront of Administration Building looked the same but with a different feeling, the tree leaves were making a slight motion with the wind while singing the silent song of rain.
Then I took a turn towards the Administration Building and my eyes were fixed on a tree whose leaves had been colored with a slight tinge of rain water. It looked like an unfinished painting about to be colored with the colors of rain. I went further and reached the administration building where the main door was open and I could see the portrait of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Education Minister of India, while a guard was standing near the door. I tried to draw a contrast between two different people, the guard and Maulana Azad, who were standing in a similar posture but then a lonely vase lying on the footpath along the garden piqued my interest. It was standing there, maybe wondering why it was lying there alone without a companion and asking for me to be with it for the moment. While I was about to go near the vase, sit besides it and be its companion for the beautiful moment of longing for each other. A group of students talking loudly, probably returning from library, distracted me and all these thoughts were wrapped up, and I looked at them with a keen look of an observer trying to fit them in the trail of his thoughts which have engulfed his mind. As they walked away from me, my attention was now towards another guard standing in front of a building who seemed to be lost in thoughts like I was. I let him be so and walked on.
Now I was on a straight path leading to the main gate of our University. Just then I observed the leaning rock along the right side of the road, and I wondered whether it’s lean was more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And as I walked besides it, I felt like it had bowed itself in respect for all the passers-by, having no feelings of pride despite the majesty of its size. I walked on with deep respect for the humility of this huge rock, taking a lesson for myself and the whole humanity.
So, I reached near the entrance of our university and seeing the rush of people there I was brought back to the crowded world from the free and solitary world of my thoughts and my imaginations. Then I started moving back to the hostel with different people around me bound to their different destinations.
It was still raining the same way and continued to rain the whole night, watering the parched land of Hyderabad which had been longing for it. The thoughts persisted in my mind for some time. I wondered about the invisible colors of rain which had painted the sorroundings with colors of beauty and elegance. I realised that, the colors of rain are vividly flashed only in the beautiful company of nature and not in its independent existence.

Blessed Mourning

I mourned and I cried,
You said, “I’m too blessed that my dear one died”.
I’m too blessed to mourn for the loved one?
Mother, father, daughter and son?
You made a ‘lovely’ proclamation:
“Blessed are the mourners”,
‘Cause they mourn the lost part of their life?
‘Cause they mourn the gall of strife?
I’m astonished at your vision,
You view my agony as a blessed rendition?
You call death a blessed assuage,
You murder, filled with a murderous rage,
With a yearning to see the gushing warm blood to go freezing cold.
You say that, you did only what you were told!
And then you try to explain your pain and anguish,
With your officially ‘sympathetic condolences’ and formal announcements,
And all those bloody monetary pronouncements.
All this while I’m put in a cage!
All this you do for a bloody wage!
Your sympathies are as cold as the murder,
Which make the fake consolations of peace fall down asunder.
So, I do what I can,
I’m only a weak oppressed man.
I call upon the wisdom of God,
The all-knowing, the all-just Lord.
And I ask, I ask, and I ask again:
“Am I too blessed to mourn for all my people and my land?”
“Am I too blessed to suffer from the loss and pain?”
“Where are You? Where’s Your helping Hand?”
If He says, “Yes, you’re blessed”,
I’d ask Him to bless you too.
Blessed be thee and ye all . . .
And if he says, “No”,
I’d ask Him to make you my beloved,
‘Cause I too want to mourn for you,
When a murderer like thee will murder you!

Let’s be strangers

Done, undone.
For myself, for someone.
It’s a circle, it keeps rolling.
It’s life, it keeps moving.
I did it to undo,
I did it for myself, I did it for you.
All that happened was not my choice,
All that I said was not my voice.
There are demons, inside you and me,
They reside there ’cause we let them be.
We have names, and they have names too:
Angels of deception and Angels of hue.
They color us with a selective tinge,
They produce in us, a deceptive fringe.
We lose our mark, we lose our stand,
We let the instantaneous spark to burn the whole strand.
We accuse, we fight just for our ego and pride,
We refuse to acknowledge, we let in the destructive tide.
Our dorm is flooded, with lies and mournful scorns,
The blossoms have faded away, giving birth to scornful thorns!
Our wounds may be unhealed and our patches unpatched.
We’re in a denial, but there’s still a bond that keeps us attached.
The seasons are lost,
It feels like an unending frost.
This feels like a chilly night of Chillai Kalan.
There seems no future, it seems to stay for an infinite span.
We feel despair and dismay, we forget the spring.
How far will this winter stay, it will soon grow it’s wings!
We’ll march on, ’cause there’s music, ’cause there’s fife,
Together we will arrive, yes we will arrive, ’cause there’s life.
Let’s undo all that we did,
Let’s do it right, let’s not skid.
Let’s scream and shout for the beauty that exists,
Let’s dream and let it sprout for the beats which heart persists.
Let’s be strangers, let’s start over.
Let’s reclaim the life, let’s make it our . . .

(Chillai Kalan is the harshest 40 day winter period in Kashmir)

Kashmir and Kashmiri: The dilemma of Language

The misery of Kashmiris while they speak can be adjudged from the fact that we, Kashmiris, are unable to express ourselves clearly in our own language, Kashmiri. We fail to get the words/expressions/phrases that we need to express ourselves because we have always felt shy of our own language and because we’ve always maintained a psychological distance from our very own language. The new generation finds it cool to speak in Urdu/English rather than their own language, Kashmiri, which they find boring, uncool, offensive and degrading. It’s not a problem, not at all. But the problem is that, most of us aren’t even well versed with English/Urdu, the languages which we keep flaunting and the languages in which we always try to show-off our true colors. And we know it well what we do to the grammar, sense and syntax of these foreign languages when we speak. Whenever we, Kashmiris, speak Urdu I’m reminded of the fact that, “Urdu used to be a sweet language” until “Kashmiris started speaking it”.

The problem becomes apparent and frustrating when we find ourselves talking to Kashmiri elders, those who are not aware of any other language except their own, Kashmiri. We’re always unable to express ourselves in pure Kashmiri, we’re always left desperate to find an appropriate word/term to describe what we want to express. We have to go around the field just to express a simple emotion/feeling/expression because we lack the proper vocabulary to do so. And when our elders speak we are puzzled by their vocabulary and we have to keep asking the meaning of those words to make a sense out of our Kashmiri conversation. We actually don’t speak Kashmiri even when we claim to do so. We speak a hotchpotch mixture of Kashmiri, Urdu and English. It’s not a problem when we are talking to those who are well versed with these languages but we are left in lurch and desperation when we talk to our elders. I always feel ashamed at such times when I’m unable to express myself to my elders in their language, in my own language, Kashmiri. I feel embarrassed at my misery and the misery of my fellow citizens who can’t claim to have their ‘own language’.

The lack of having a proper way to express ourselves is slowly taking a toll on our intellect. Most of the people may fail to observe it, but it’s a fact that, when people don’t find a proper way of communication and expression their intellectual and reasoning power decreases with time. This is what happens with deaf/dumb people. And we, Kashmiris, seem to be partially deaf/dumb. We’re a paralyzed lot who don’t have a proper source of communication. Even when Kashmiri is such a rich language, we are still left out of resources to express ourselves, because we’ve simply failed to use them. What can be a worse nightmare than being unable to express yourself properly?

We all know what we do with Urdu/English when we speak. We don’t even spare Kashmiri, our own native language, let alone all these foreign languages. We destroy the very fundamentals of any language we speak, be it our own Kashmiri or foreign English/Urdu. We’re experts in doing that! We destroy the sweetness and the purpose of languages because of our half-knowledge/half-acquaintance with each of them. Only in Kashmir (maybe there is another such miserable place on the face of Earth, and I hope not) we find that, speaking your own native language makes you feel ashamed while speaking foreign languages like Urdu/English gives you an edge over others and it becomes a matter of class and dignity. How disgusting to see parents refraining there children from speaking Kashmiri in their disgusting ‘Urdu’. Sorry to use such words, but the way they speak Urdu only gives you the feeling of disgust. They way they say “Beta” and then “Kashmiri mein baat nahi karte”, the ridiculous statement and the even more ridiculous accent, which they are proud of, makes you crave for a place to hide yourself from these ‘high-class’ people. Such statements always make me wonder at God’s wonders. I wonder, why were they born in Kashmir, why not in any Urdu speaking place? They wouldn’t have had to feel embarrassed about their native language! What amazes me more is the way Kashmiris laugh at others when they use Kashmiri words while speaking Urdu/English but find in perfectly normal and highly acceptable to use English/Urdu words while speaking Kashmiri! Rationale, anyone? We need to get over this inferiority complex, as soon as possible.

Don’t even for a second think that I hate Urdu/English. I’m a huge fan of Urdu/English poetry. And of course, I’m writing all this in English. It’s a good sign when you see people of a nation speaking diverse languages but not at the cost of their ability to express themselves properly in any of them. It’s an irony that I’m talking about all this and bashing Kashmiris for their lack of knowledge about their own language while the fact is that, even I’m unable to read/write Kashmiri properly like most of the Kashmiris out there and that, I’m only able to speak half-baked Kashmiri, a hybrid of all the languages I know. As a matter of fact, I’m frustrated at all such Kashmiris, I’m frustrated at myself.

Language and culture of a place develop over time according to the needs of that place/society. So it’s for our own benefit that we should be fluent and highly comfortable with our native language. We need to learn Kashmiri, not for the sake of preserving it or doing a favor to this language. But for our own selves and to be able to express ourselves clearly lest we be a doomed nation who has lost it’s intellectual/reasoning power just because of being unable to express itself in a proper way and being like dumb/deaf people unable to express themselves or say anything properly. The way we express ourselves, and the extent to which we are able to express ourselves properly has a huge effect on our mental and psychological development. We need to learn Kashmiri properly from the beginning of our development as a child, to be able to express ourselves properly and efficiently, so that we are able to do discourses/discussion/debates in a language we find ourselves completely compatible with. We need to learn Kashmiri (our native language) because, I don’t think that, Kashmir wants to be a mentally/psychologically underdeveloped nation. All the people on the face of Earth find themselves inclined to their native language because their psyche and mentality has developed in the environment of the same language. So, it’s high time we take back our abandoned language from the lap of darkness and earn the right to call ourselves, Kashmiri.

Loneliness

Feeling of nothingness,
I’m stealing words out of the emptiness.
I wonder if my heart beats,
Just for the silent sickness?
Why make a sound, my heart,
When the ‘sounds’ have turned off?
This feeling makes me feel alone,
Even when I’m surrounded,
And everything is all around.
Moon shining high in the sky,
And Earth going round and round.
Still I feel neither the stars nor the ground!
I feel like sleeping, but then I want to wake-up.
I feel like dreaming, but then I want to shake-up.
I feel like this and I feel like that.
I don’t know what it’s all about!
I’m looking out there in the dark,
Why’s reality so cruel and stark?
A mix-up of emotions . . .
I wish to explain, but they are so blank.
The colors are lost.
Black and white? No, it’s just pretty dark.
Not the bad omen, not the good.
It’s a sign of void in the hollowness.
It’s the disease, they call loneliness.