The Student Uprising & Other Poem by Fazili Zabirah


The student uprising

The sky is dark.

An eerie silence prevails

I am out, looking:

may be, the stars or some peace?

The day was hectic but memorable.

Out there, on streets I found

them all. Sigh of relief.

Amid slogans and calls

for freedom, I found peace.

Now that the day is over

peace eludes; a black blanket swallows the planet.

I am out,

I scour the sky for stars.

They bring peace

to the soul. Nowhere in sight now.

How would they be? I question my naivety

They are symbols of peace.

And peace? My homeland Knows not of it. Peace,

here, in my land was arrested long before I was born. And this-  my soil,

knows, since then only of blood, and flesh that feeds it.

Again I look toward the sky, smile at it. It stares back

coldly. I dreamt of my eyes shining from

the light of empty stars

I fill them with dreams and hope.

With a promise to gaze

one day, at it

Unstoppably, I find way


I prepare myself for tomorrow because

The struggle each day has to be intensified

And the promise to the sky to decorate it, one day,

with stars has to be fulfilled soon.



The previous day

As we sat in Hazratbal Park

You, facing the sun

Lit out a cigarette. The rays

Of the sun fell on your face.


It radiated. I was lost.

In deep thoughts. Just when you spoke,

“Religion! What is it, but opium to masses!”.


It brought me back from the hospital ward,

Where my sister lay, in the ICU, struggling

For survival. “Yes, religion, you know, is opium to masses. It intoxicates.”


I smiled. Not in agreement. But

At your innocence and naivety.


“But Coleridge

Is renowned for his poems.

You read him a lot, don’t you?”


You looked at me, with a question

That your eyes reflected. I deduced.


“He wrote beautifully, under the influence

Of opium. It earned him fame”.


You smiled back. In disagreement too.

“Religion, you see, has messed up world.

People kill. People loot. People dehumanize

In its name”.


This struck my mind. You had said this before.

Convinced me actually. But then

That day, I had returned home

An opened it, the book of God.

Verse to verse, I had read it all.

Violence, bloodshed and wars.


You know? It had condemned all.

Peace and brotherhood stood

Eulogized there.

And so I told you,


“Religions never reek of hatred

The beasts called humans do.

In the name of religion though.

You and me have messed up the world.


Sheer exploitation!”.


You denied and we talked

Of existence of God.


The discussion went on for hours.

Till dusk laid shelter above our head. And owls

Were out. I questioned,”Who is it then

Who created us? The dog nearby? The skies?

The land? The rivers? Everything?”


You smiled. “Some other day”, you said.

Lit another cigarette. I stood up


To leave. For the funeral of my sister

Awaited. Me. To have her last glimpse.


I smiled and carassed her face. With love.

I thanked my Lord. For nineteen years,

I enjoyed her presence, company. I

Cherished every moment of the past.


Looked up to the skies

Thanked my Lord

For beautiful nineteen years.

And my heart shouts,

“Fa’bi’ayyi aala hi rubbikumaa tu kazzibaan”

“And which favours of you Lord shall you deny”…



Fazili Zabirah from Srinagar is a poet from Kashmir.  She is currently pursuing her masters in English from Kashmir University.


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