Kashmir – The Invisible and the Damned

Aijaz Zaka Syed


You can look away now

The Vale of tears has dried up

And a deathly silence stalks the Dal


Deserted towns, burnt orchards and 

shadows everywhere.

Paradise will ne’er be the same again

Nothing will ever be the same again


We, the invisible and the damned,

the rejected and the reviled,

have long ceased to exist

for a world gone blind.


This land, the sky and these mountains, 

my home since time immemorial,

are now but a big, beautiful prison;

There is a serpent in paradise.


You drown me in irons and chains, 

lock my home down

for my own greater good;

Life’s beautiful, says the new Emperor


You come in the dead of night

to snatch my youth 

and mock the silent, greying beards

all for the love of liberty,

the will of the people and all that jazz.


These barbed wires and bayonets, 

and the jackboots

can never break my spirit though. 


The burden of this heavy cross on my back,

though staggering,

it hurts my tormentor more.

For hanging on the cross is its humanity

and that of a self-serving, callous world.  


Aijaz Zaka Syed is a former newspaper editor and widely published columnist based in the Middle East. He tweets @AijazZaka






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