I can never stop writing about my homeland Kashmir.
Born in Srinagar when the state was a dominion, under the British Rule. I was carried across the barbed wire border by my brave mother while my two year old sister walked along holding on to mother’s clothes. War with India had broken out and the three days and three nights escape journey is the unforgettable story. I never saw my birthplace nor ever will. But I can write about it, and remember it. The memories will haunt me forever.
The following poetic expression was inspired by a prompt ‘On Cities we like’
The Forbidden Birthplace
Walking for more than half a day, she sat on a large stone by the deserted road
thought how far now, the place of birth, just once she wished to set eyes on
‘All roads lead to unknown places, never go anywhere, stay where they are laid.
Oh a passerby! Please stop a while and tell me, have you seen the heaven here?
‘the heaven on earth, the land of fruit and flower gardens, and a lake full of boats
yes, there is a place, where weather stays cool and fresh, vegetables grow in plenty
“No”, the passerby replied, ‘heaven cannot be on earth, you are mistaken, this road leads to nothing but death and destruction, killing, shooting, and occupation by enemy.”
“Oh no, heaven is beautiful, peaceful, green and glorious, with no killing or any pain
where peace eternally prevails, contentment reigns, quietude rests as mountains protect.”
“No, sorry’, the passerby walked away shaking his head. ”Oh a horse rider’, trotting along
“Oh Rider, please stop a while and tell me, have you seen the heaven here, quite near?”
“Hmm, No, I don’t think heaven can be here. It used to be long ago,I heard people say so,but my horse and I are tired, in vain looking for grass and clean water, but we found nothing for miles”.
“O Farmer with your cow, please stop and tell me have you seen heaven here, nearby?
“O Sister Dear, go back go back, there is not a barn or a haystack, all are broken and burnt, the wooden huts with slanting roofs, lawns with pine and chinar trees, pansies and roses, in flower beds, no more no more, you will find nothing in air is clean and kind, all are blind”.
“Oh No, what do these people say and why, how can a heaven on earth be so destroyed, lush green hills be dry, lake devoid of lovely shikara boats, rows of graceful poplar trees that lined the road, seen no more, shops closed, windows and doors barred- smoky air, the road is here, but no traveler travels, barbed wires cordoned streets, all empty, unfair-
“O dear, the journey in vain, the quest remains, how places by enemies are overtaken, birthplaces vanish in gunfire and teargas, bomb blasts, fires, stone and brick fights-
‘Tis a pity how humans hate, cannot tolerate or follow advice, spread love and peace and grant the deserving rights, bless and comfort, fulfill each other’s basic needs.
Alas, heart is heavy the spirit laden, no return ever to a birthplace called heaven
majestic mountains, pure air, sunny days filled with apples and cherries red, twinkling starry nights, gone.”
All that remains are stories told and heard,
“The house was wooden but shone like gold
a home is no home, it has to be left or abandoned,
a dream in life is all, to hold”.
Anjum Wasim Dar was born in Srinagar (Indian Occupied )Kashmir, Migrant Pakistani. Educated at St Anne's Presentation Convent Rawalpindi. MA in English Literature & American Studies. CPE Certificate of Proficiency in English Cambridge UK British Council LSE.
Writing poems, articles and stories since 1980. Published Poet. Won Poet of Merit Bronze Medal Semi Final International Award 2000 USA.Worked as Creative Writer Teacher Trainer. Educational Consultant by Profession. Freelance Writer.