Taaran Garee (A Satirical Poem) with translation

Translated from Kashmiri by Sualeh Keen

‘Taaran garee’ is a Kashmiri word for trickery, roguery, knavery, dupery, skulduggery, jiggery-pokery, chicanery, etc.

Lend ear, enjoy listening to this poetry
Taaran garee, taaran garee
Kashmiri is a foreign mystery
Taaran garee, taaran garee

City folk and villagers are out of their head
Those settled in city, these two villages fled
By crows of pigeon colours mimicry
Taaran garee, taaran garee

The disabled can now climb a hill
The healthy in marshes come to standstill
An ogress is our time’s queen fairy
Taaran garee, taaran garee

The Sultan of Time was small fry a while ago
Crazed by turning tables, here where did it go
My CM chair did he snatch away from me
Taaran garee, taaran garee

They climbed the sky, what will they gain
Our Bab advised us to travel pedestrian [1]
Himself took wing on a helicopter he
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Buddies won the gambit through cheating
Card of six shown as nine by inverting
And dealt Hearts the colour Cherry [2]
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Education however much top class
Say you are wasting your time, alas
To the front row is a backdoor entry
Taaran garee, taaran garee

The one on top fell under the ground
Just how can the earth in the sky are found
Pasty seller for one marla paid lakhs three [3]
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Males, females cut their eyebrows and hairs
Of saving the forests now who really cares
In present itself of the future burglary
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Today people sow grain in Wular Lake
Anchar, Dal: their share too they take
For landfilling Jhelum, our work voluntary
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Forests are being looted by foresters
Officers bolster them as partners
For taking twigs tinder, take into custody
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Today’s man a hundred faces has got
Seven kernels from an almond he pulled out
Know does he such great sorcery
Taaran garee, taaran garee

He is a journalist who was good for nothing
Of ‘mister’ and ‘miss’ ask him the spelling
The press card won him a lottery
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Those who were base, today are in power
They usurped the yard by running the metre
Dal is tied to the coattail of Chapri [4]
Taaran garee, taaran garee

‘Alef’ was made distinct by a diacritical sound
‘Be’ was with a dot flattened to the ground
‘Te’, his home itself visited worry [5]
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Caretakers of mosques bribe-takers deft
A hoarse muezzin’s cry of effect is bereft
In big palatial buildings no reciting the rosary
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Traditional breads to lamentations are given
The old baker has wrapped up his oven
Stomach is maddened by modern bakery
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Trust be torn apart, insane songs be sung
After drinking the river, keep dry your tongue
Fill your bank and show your coffers empty
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Take a loan, to a bank run quickly
Keep Wali of Ali as your guarantee
Show the mosque as your factory
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Everyone is idle, no job to do
No turn anywhere, you think about it too
Terribly busy is jobless person every
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Go see the postpartum hospital’s condition
Death itself poses of birth the question
Out there bedridden is Lalleshwari [6]
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Turned around the caravan from midway
Some escaped the trap, some passed away
Face they could winds and storms nary
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Leaders and ‘ttarvesh’ maulvi [7]
For themselves and for their own they be
Comforters of the nation, claims airy
Taaran garee, taaran garee

How our city is now phlegmy
Go ask your people or outsiders any
Without any gold knows goldsmithery
Taaran garee, taaran garee

From all sides we destroyed our Rishi Vaer [8]
Of human flesh we did harissa devour
On Rishi Mol Sahib’s days go meat-hungry [9]
Taaran garee, taaran garee

They a sex scandal to me displayed
One devil in total is all they nailed
O sparrow, where fled many a love birdie [10]
Taaran garee, taaran garee

After a long while fell snow so severe
Each hour a judgement day, hard to bear
The rulers were at home too busy
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Robbers stole new cars, no trace any
We had to pay the police lot of money
Arrested there, here set scot-free
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Someone gave a call for a shutdown
Whom will I ask who, why, and when
Four day’s value does a week carry
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Shahtoos was rolled away by enemies
Carpet is prostrating at a rug’s feet
Shawl was grabbed by Amritsari [11]
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Butcher, Milkman, Baker & Co
Teacher and Doctor also
Trader and Officer, Ministry
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Intellectuals set price to their tongue and pen
Under every banner they take a collection
Recite to the crass masses saintly poetry
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Pandit brother outside out of fright did go
Who chased him away, what do I know
Same situation, past many years dreary
Taaran garee, taaran garee

You get married and buy a big car
Become a rich man after looting the bazaar
Deploy you too on the gates sentry
Taaran garee, taaran garee

The big ruler on a public road built his wall
Who will investigate thefts that are small?
Baba Demb was embezzled by a mistry [12]
Taaran garee, taaran garee

In ’91 he who gave his matriculate [13]
Of a graduate did he show certificate
Masters too handed him a job supervisory
Taaran garee, taaran garee

For a long time seen sadness and gloom
Firing, searches, chases, and bombs
Habituated we are to such barbarity
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Hearths and settlements razed, death’s ruin
The known we have made unknown
Of our shops by those guards burglary
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Without moving your limbs cross the Dal
Good swimmers drown, such cast a spell
In love with you will be a water fairy
Taaran garee, taaran garee

They lament much who indulge in corruption
Morsel they snatch from ones in starvation
These old troupers know such artistry
Taaran garee, taaran garee

They planted trees not fruit-bearing
Seeing no fruits, again started lumbering
Wasted so many years beyond recovery
Taaran garee, taaran garee

The abstinent with One is wandering
Excess is he in oneness digesting
Sheikhs too indulge in time’s idolatry
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Torn asunder by gusts Time has wrought
Walking on banks by whirlpools caught
Swimmer too himself can’t across ferry
Taaran garee, taaran garee

What I didn’t lose, what I lost to roguery
Abode of snow, crystalline Dal used to be
The cool shadow was looted from me
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Your wife if you are going to take out
Knowing too well gossips will talk about
Where come and go, where what did thee
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Whom shall I tell of my painless disease
My people cast an evil spell, I’m ill at ease
I’m wailing inconsolably at home in misery
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Boys and girls insolent and uncouth
Pulverize do they their own youth
To flower sprig in spring they autumn carry
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Weddings the rich conduct costly as hell
A helpless poor man what will them tell
Forty year old children yet to marry
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Before anything, in-laws ask of girls this
Where does the bride do her service
What grade is she, how is her salary
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Mixes male female an auto rickshaw ride
Morality is bare naked right there inside [14]
Azhar too is clasped by Miss Mazhary
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Boys and girls with mobiles on the loose
Rendezvous meeting-place do they choose
Without a nuptial bond frolicking free
Taaran garee, taaran garee

When the ladies are gone out to shop
Whatever the asking price in bags they drop
No accounting in market with such spree
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Children call mothers as Maam today [15]
Jiji and Sisi, such names they say
Sister swallowed our Beni Ttaatthi [16]
Taaran garee, taaran garee

What was of old I did dismantle and sever
I became my own enemy and ill-wisher
I sold off all that was my specialty
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Laid down the gun and picked up a stone
I was stung by nettles I myself had sown
After seven generations broken debris
Taaran garee, taaran garee

The English language we did raid
One father became one-and-a-half Daid [17]
The foreign borrowed was by Kashmiri
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Of the garden I made a place of death
I am filled with fear even to take a breath
Heaven was Hell made by savagery
Taaran garee, taaran garee

A sullen Dal Lake nurses its water on boil
Buried are the lotuses in the sandy soil
Sand banks can’t grow marigold variety [18]
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Rudely interrupting, Zareef his words revealed
In his heart is vituperation deep concealed
An outsider became he in his own country
Taaran garee, taaran garee

Translation notes:
[1] Bab or Father was a title given to Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the first Prime Minister of Jammu & Kashmir.
[2] The card suit ‘Clubs’ is called ‘Cherry’ in Kashmir as ♣ resembles fruits attached to a single twig.
[3] The marla is a traditional unit of area that was used in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, originally one 160th of an acre. In India, the unit was standardized to 25 square yards. Marla is used here to denote a very small piece of land.
[4] M.Y. Chapri, house boat owner.
[5] Alif, Be, Te: Perso-Arabic alphabet.
[6] The reference is to Lalla Ded Maternity Hospital named after the 13th century saint-poetess Lalla Ded or Lalleshwari.
[7] ttarvesh is a pun of dervish; ttar in Kashmiri means a lie, fiction, deception. Thus, it means the opposite of dervish.
[8] Rishi Vaer of Garden of Rishis was a name given to the Kashmir valley in ancient times due to the multitude of saints living there.
[9] Rishi Mol Sahib was an ascetic saint from Anantnag District; his shrine resides at the heart of the Islamabad town in the eponymous Rishi Bazaar. Many people abstain from eating meat for a few days in a year, out of respect for this saint.
[10] Sabeena alias Champa Bai, who was running a successful sex ring with powerful clients.
[11] Inferior quality Amritsari shawls (from Amritsar, Punjab State) have been peddled as authentic high quality Pashmina shawls by none other than Kashmiri travelling shawl salesmen (pheri walas), thereby spoiling the market for Pashmina shawls.
[12] Mistry or mechanic. Here, seller of automobile spare parts.
[13] 1991 is notorious for mass copying in exams at all levels in the valley. Militants, some of them students, threatened examination superintendents so that they (and by extension, all students in the examination centre) could copy answers from ‘question-answer banks’. Mass copying was very common till 1995.
[14] Yakhlaq means ‘moral virtue’ in Kashmiri. Incidentally, I have also witnessed it being used as a slang referring to the female bosom, such that saying She has good yakhlaq secretly meant She is well-endowed.
[15] Mom or Maam, which is amusing since ‘maam’ means maternal uncle in Kashmiri.
[16] Beni Ttaatthi means ‘dear sister’ in Kashmiri.
[17] Dad is used here as a pun. ‘Dad’ or ‘daid’ means ‘one-and-a-half’ in Urdu.

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