Three poems on Kashmir by an Indian tourist

Shrenik Mutha

India’s Occupations (tr. from भारतीय कब्ज़ा)

maps lie by drawing boundaries
maps lie by messing up names

maps lie by closing places
so that the color would not leak out
so that the people will be shut in
and stifled like in a prison
to finally enter the grave-
inner people will die inside.

maps lie

but bhai,
the ones that are printed in india do not
they say the truth
by marking a part as ‘pakistan occupied Kashmir’-
the part on which pakistan rules

perhaps, maybe, they forget
they forget to print that there is an
‘indian occupied Kashmir’ too.

Potential sister

A seat away from me, sat a couple while flying
from Delhi to Srinagar
their conversations are a flow in Kashmiri;
she was dressed in pink and
my mother said, she looks beautiful.
Beauty was the first connection she made with a Kashmiri
i wish it wasn’t,
i wish she had seen her as a sister
who is a potential half widow
just for she is a Kashmiri Muslim.

Historically cheated

Everyone loves to
take pictures of themselves with family-
the excitement of flying the first time
almost palpable when the flight takes off-
from in the aeroplane with
the backdrop of sun kissed snow white snow clad mountains while landing


I can’t help but wonder
if only they know how many
army men live there
who cannot be seen while flying high?
Go down, see if they sicken you
in your gut.
Army men are here
to ensure Kashmiri blood drips every moment

Only yesterday
a friend told me,
there are fresh strikes in NIT Srinagar now


I can’t help but wonder
on this little family trip, what should my camera click-
smiling family faces? perfect families?

India is invading Kashmir,
making it the most militarized place
and we have the sickening morale
to come as a tourist. I too am party to it.

What shall i click?

keep a secret memory card on which i can click
and record army presence
as a testament to the future, to ensure we dont forget
what India did with Kashmir
the coming generations would remember
what a plebiscite entails.

The right to self-determination
‘legally’ speaking for India is history
or, so they say.

Shrenik Mutha, born and brought up in Pune, studied sociology as a graduate student. He started working with KKPKP, a trade union of waste pickers in Pune as a volunteer after which he worked with the MKSS in rural Rajasthan. He came back to Pune and resumed work with KKPKP. Now, he studies law in ILS, Pune.



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