Our Village by Prof. Rehman Rahi
Soun Gaam (Our Village) by Rehman Rahi
A hard-hitting sarcastic sonnet, ‘Soun Gaam’ depicts the way of life of Kashmir in the entirety of its contradictions. It was written by the prominent Kashmiri artist Rehman Rahi in 1995.
Our village is better off as a village; call it not a city
It receives sap from deen-dharma; make it not thirsty
Even a dove from round here invokes God, hark!
And Qur’an is recited by our every swift and lark
Jhelum’s water itself is pure, why shouldn’t it clean us?
Why lose minds over Vetsar Naag’s growing murkiness?
Only upon seeing a tigress does learn to run a doe
Partook it of God’s sustenance, if eats worms a hoopoe
Today also I tie votive rags at Tsrar, why not come over
Today also here from heavens descends a golden shower
Appear the billboards where, let’s look and, as instructed, love
Ooze hands poison whose, why ponder pointlessly over above
Our own children they are, counsel them and they’ll turn gold
Our own nation this is, fill the crossroads and make them roar bold
Should we be leaving Rahim Uncle standing with a gun?
Meanwhile, let our brother Makhan bask in the Delhi sun
That you didn’t let on to your wife a secret, it is your goodness
That you broke your promise to me, I take it was in duress
Verily, your mind have been scalded by envious neighbours
The ones I earned my profits from, though, were foreigners
I practiced parsimony and started increasing the nation’s prosperity
You picked pockets and acquire will new weapons the army
Qur’an I’ve heard as well, but I’ve got to place on market my daughter
Throw a recitation party too I will, if successful is my charas venture
This village of ours is free, shrewd people here inhabit
I have never lent a loan to anyone, go and endure it
I did not cast my vote, the elders of my locality were eyeing me
The haggard hag’s opinion got broadcast, didn’t it hearten thee?
This farmer friend diverts the village canal for his urgent use
This travelling trader sells woollen shawls as authentic shahtoos
Eating and drinking too only us, living and dying too we only
Playing and prancing too only us, laughing and weeping too we only
It is here I saw in a garden Shakti in embrace of Shiva held
It is here in tightly draped rooms that blue films are beheld
Tourists will be camping there, if this saw goes to the jungle
And if your eyes are irritated, it is I who is burning diesel
In the bedroom itself, on a worldwide tour the TV takes me
You cool yourself at the river bank, fetches you the news BBC
Bombs may burst in the Gulf, why should we increase the bus fare?
Let Germans launch missiles, we’ll take a boat to Nishat from here
This is the land of rishis, from every corner are expected offerings
Bedlam is unleashed when a dervish releases from his chilum smoke rings
Elderly men here and they with every breath lofty ideals uphold
Young men here and they set a price for conscience with every word
Mind alert, the cat is poised to a meal of the rat make
Pure of words, they say on oath the tongs are a snake
If we believe them, they will dub us fools from a place outlandish
If we expose them, they will our love affairs in newspapers publish
The multitude masses that never had any use for identity
The political parties that never spoke any language consistently
We nurture faith, to whatever rises like a sun we offer our prayer
As you only have a fire in the belly, you only be our leader
Our mountains are as old as time, our temperament is the oldest
Our tradition is of the rishis, our trika philosophy too is the greatest
This is a gathering place, lo! The whole village here has come
Shout a few slogans, will you, why recite a meaningless poem?
Sitting here you are in Kashmir, but you are talking American
An ancient pheran you wear on you, don’t claim to be modern!