To Agha Shahid Ali

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“The poet of exile” is receded into oblivion.
One who never parted with Kashmir, we parted from him.
His poems only speak of Kashmir and Kashmir.
From Zero Bridge to the Gupkar Road, Rajbagh was in his veins.

The Saffron of Pampore mesmerized him and the water of the Jhelum was pious for him.
The man of mixed races never forgot Kashmir.
In an alien world, being a refugee, his heart beat for his motherland.
Alleys and streets of Kashmir pierced his heart to ooze out dark red blood.

From Haakh to Roganjosh, he found solace in the local varieties of everything.
Combining the grief of Muharram with the endless miseries of the Kashmiris,
Shahid wrote the Zainab’s sighs like the heart-piercing sighs of the Kashmiri mothers and sisters.
Our thread of brotherhood was cut into pieces by bloodsuckers.

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The bloodsuckers drank our young blood to laugh in mirth.
Shahid, the ambassador of Kashmir’s pain, could not reconcile with it and began to write the blood-dripping poetry.
His fingers were hurt when he wrote about unprecedented massacres in his homeland.
The same Azaan reminded him of those throats that were slit in the nameless graveyards.

Shahid is reminded by me as we are exiled from our homes long ago.
In Shahid’s poetry, everyone is a refugee.
Faiz and Ishmael are just allusions.
“Rooms are never finished” is apt for Kashmir.
Making abodes daily, we begin to construct them anew.

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Shahid didn’t die in autumn in Kashmir to sleep in peace.
Though his grave lies in the exiled land, Shahid lives in every heart of Kashmir that are graves in themselves.

Dear Shahid, we will meet at Srinagar and talk endlessly.
The Jhelum will look clean and the smell of roasted hearts will be replaced by the hot Nunchai.
Begum Akhtar will be listened to by us
And Faiz will return from Beirut.

Syed Mustafa Ahmad
Syed Mustafa Ahmad
Syed Mustafa Ahmad is from Hajibagh, Budgam. His hobbies include reading and writing.

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