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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir


Symbol of Unity


A Hundred Kilometre Tunnel of Fear

First of May, nineteen ninety,
we sneak out of home
in the blanket of night,
we drive, huddled together-
the whole family,
idols and icons,
images and framed photographs
of deities and ancestors,
some prized letters, books and clothes
and a clod of mother earth-
cutting through the valley
along a hundred kilometre tunnel of fear.

We drive,
breaths suspended,
lips sealed,
ears cocked,
hands on our breasts,
trying to muffle our hearts
that flutter in unison
with the pistons of the engine;
our telescoped gaze
shutting off the chasing phantoms
and focussed straight ahead
without once looking back
till we cross the Banihal pass,
as the dawn breaks
into light,
into freedom,
into life.

Banihal, Kashmir - 1 May 1990



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