Consent

The Gawkadal Bridge stands witness to Paradise lost
The cold silver of Jhelum drapes the bodies of her brave children;
Where is consent of the governed in this land?
Where is political participation in the world’s largest democracy?

Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast (1)

A lost generation sings:

I can withstand injustice — 
Understand it to seek Truth,
But I abhor the depravity of violence

I can withstand pain as long as it makes sense;
It is senseless suffering that I fear

I can withstand the djinns of anger, 
As long as there is growth

I fear an impotent rage

1. A Persian couplet uttered in reference to the staggering beauty of Kashmir by the iconic Sufi poet Amir Khusrau. It means:

If there is paradise on earth,
It is this, it is this, it is this.

To the victims of Gawkadal massacre (20/1/1990), in memoriam
(Photograph by Vivek Menezes)

by Megha Arora

         by Fallujah.