Confessions of a Night

‘A poem begins with a lump in the throat’
-Robert Frost

the night pays homage
to the beguiling voices
humming elegies
with wounded tongues,
remembering how
the earthen nooks
plagiarized the hesitant souls
from the kindled bodies
last night…

the night gazes
with converse glares
at the sketches of
drawn on the dejected
pathways by the
remains of viscid blood.

the night hums
to the suspended tears
of the swollen eyes,
the song of ‘Sorrow’
that blossoms from
the broken attics,
touching the strings
Of unspoken grief.

the night follows
tiptoes of hollow existence,
concealing the murdered dreams
spinning around
the aches of yore.

the night
entangled in sullen sadness
withers from the
faint whispers
& dark boughs
to mourn over
the corpses of the
weeping Vale.

-Insha Bint Bashir


( I’ve written this poem in the wake of recent loss that Kashmir has gone through. A loss that can never be recovered. A loss of infinite tears, infinite dreams, infinite smiles, infinite life.)


‘I’ may Be…


‘Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance’.
-Carl Sandburg

From the dungeons
of oblivion,
I may sleep on a highway
of gushing shadows,
where trembling
sky lit by the
pale crescent
is subservient to speech.

I may carve a
solicit path
in the silent darkness
with conceited metaphors
bearing the weight
of roused punctuation
to the diminished
Land of
receptive ‘Qandahar’…

I may inhale
the smell of
musical sand,
Unknown to the
musical voice,
rebelling against
defences of sanity.

I may play
a game
With caravans of
flickering stars
embracing the moments
Of unharnessed joys.

I may dance
on the winding staircase,
Of an imperious darkness
of unspoken grief
with atonal melody.

I may grasp
for breath
from shivering shores
With inundating eyes
in the uproars
Of longing.

I may hear someone saying
from the Virgin
sepulchral silence-
‘O, delirious erotica
Thine words infuse
an ultimate mysticism,
thou shall escape this colloquial gratitude’!

-Insha Bint Bashir


‘You are the breath drawn after every line’

-Agha Shahid Ali

Melancholic caresses,
from the dream
where it was night
shaped a shadow
by the illusion of
unknown footsteps…

In the midst,
the wind blew
from the directions
of the scattering shadow
into the
oblique disparaging darkness.

I borrowed the voice from
the tempted seasons
to fetch the ears
of the tender caustic
illusionary memory,

While bargaining
to pounce upon the
tempted sea,
the silken conduits
of love
crawled upon the arms of
fearful reflection.

As dampening its soul
with the scar
of brisk longing,
Eyes with the
unrequited love,
Lips with the
succinct kisses
And ears with a
feigned madness…

“Shall I ever
take you to the
doors of my nighthouse
where there will be
You and Nothing
Me and Nothing
We and Nothing
Everything but Nothing”

The soft voice
fetched it’s ears
with loss
as it was pulled out
by the trader of
from the deep sea
of memory,
while remained
only the cadaver…
And the Soul
lost into the
drifting primitive

-Insha Bint Bashir

‘I was Certain…’


I was certain.
it was certainly
following me.

While oblivious and
choked metaphors,
curfewed nights,
pulled me
in their worlds.

In the annulled vale
of lyrical tyranny,
I tasted scars
of frightened countenances,
mournful sobs,
mothers’ wails.

I Saw-
“Blood oozing from the
choked streets,
from the
window sills,
from this theater of
despotic reflections,
from that furious
reigning innocence,
from the illusion of
from the tears of
from the tinge of
from the painstaking
from the glittering, desolate
‘Tilla’ of Mother’s
tattered Pheran,
from the burdensome
stares of
the angry Jhelum…”

Defying the thousand
dilated winds-
my tearing silence mounted
the hilltop of abundance,
like the reflection of dawn
in the calm Dal lake.
From the erratic waves of
numb hope,
in rushes of
rueful madness,
in forbidden,
forsaken memories,
‘Trembling stars
emptied me’!

Under the merciless sight of
the starkly lit,
scarred moon,
tiptoeing footsteps followed.

In this alley of smeared blood;
I hear a fathers cry
in despair,
I fear beloved old poplars
turning in anguish,
I fear the muzzled shadows…

While I was backed by
My Younus, your Suhail, our Wamiq,
those heroes
of future history books,
and more-
in mired, bloodied whims of
of peaceful frosty tomorrows
in an imagined free home.

I still hear the tiptoeing,

It was certainly
following me.

-Insha Bint Bashir

Remembering ‘Gawkadal’ (21-01-1990)

It has been more than twenty years of the gateway to our road of the massacres. It was on this day, twenty five years ago, when the youngsters couldn’t stand anymore at the crossroads. When people couldn’t bear the humiliation anymore and they came out without any fear. When the shackles of forcible enslavement were twisted and cracked. When the rivers knew they would be flowing with blood. When the graveyards knew they would run out of soil. It was this day that started it all. Jagmohan, the notorious Indian official was appointed as the Governor of Jammu Kashmir on January 19, 1990. He had a history of tormenting trouble in Kashmir during his previous appointment as the governor in 1984. He was known for his Rastriya Sang Sabha leanings. In his first address to the State on the January 20, 1990, he stunned everybody. “I have come as a nurse; I will not take any salary. I will just take 1000 rupees as my personal expenses. I have promised you a clean administration. But if anyone creates a law and order problem, Mere Haath se Aman ka Patta Khisak Jaayega (the cards of peace that I am carrying will slip away from my hands)”.

On January 21, 1990, the whole city was under siege, massive search and crackdown operations were carried out to trace down the rebels. The news of women being molested and hundreds of people being arrested by the ‘Security’ forces sent shockwaves throughout the City of the Sun.

People couldn’t bear this humiliation anymore; they came out breaking the curfew in many areas, protesting against this drastic violation of ethics and morality. The people from nearby areas of Maisuma, assembled together and took out a procession. Young and old, filled with anger came on the streets. Bubbling with the sentiment of freedom, the slogans sent sound waves which broke the cold air.

Irfan, a teenager skipped his tuition classes to be the part of the protests at Maisuma. It was hard to not be a part of the protests. He was spirited with passion of freedom. He was at the forefront of the protests. “Allah Hu Akbar” resonated in the skies.

As the procession started walking, the Indian Troops were assembled at the bridge, to thwart the protests. Some people out of fear vanished in the by-lanes, to become the eyewitnesses to what was going to happen. Around a hundred people, in the procession kept walking. Screaming and shouting slogans of freedom and protest. The resonance of the slogans kept the procession going; they were unaware of what was going to happen. As they were walking on the inclined road of Gaw Kadal, they sighted a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) company armed with guns. CRPF ran after them into the by-lanes, some stood there thinking they won’t shoot due to the presence of the women. As soon as they stepped on the bridge, the sounds of Light Machine Gun (LMG) and AK 47 surrounded them. Bullets were fired. People were falling like the leaves of a Chinar in the autumn. Some people jumped over the bridge to save their lives.

Abdul Rauf a young man of 24-years-old was caught in the melee of fallen people, alive and the dead. He rose up, from the bodies. He was puzzled as to why they were shooting indiscriminately. He walked towards the CRPF trooper carrying a Machine Gun; he caught hold of the gun barrel. The CRPF trooper emptied the whole magazine into his chest. Thirty two bullets. He died. I know he must have smiled. That brave soul died, saving lots of people.

Irfan the teenager, who was at the front of the procession, was shot. He fell on the bridge. Eighteen bullets were shot in his stomach after he was found breathing. Farooq Ahmed, a neighbour of Irfan grabbed the barrel of a trooper to his stomach and took the bullets. Entire carbine was emptied in him. They kept shooting, until everyone at the bridge was dead.

As the sounds of bullets got down, the bridge and the road was full of bodies. It was a scene from a war. The blood was rushing down the road. Blood poured on the river below. It was floating with the blood like the memories of our dead.

CRPF checked on the bodies after the firing was over, those found alive were shot until they were lifeless. The Police brought trucks after hours of the massacre. Dogs were sniffing the bodies of the dead. An eyewitness said, “I saw a dog eating a human arm”.

The impact of the massacre was such that from hundreds, people started crossing over the line in thousands. Boys as young as fifteen and fourteen went across the line.

Fifty two people died and 250 sustained bullet injuries. As usual the official death was put to 21. Police registered the FIR (No.3/90) at Kralkhud Police Station. It was registered against the atrocious ‘Mob’. Nothing was written against the CRPF and Police action. The case stands closed and the culprits untraceable.

Twenty one years have gone since the rivers and skies turned blood red. Today is that day when we lost our brethren. People still walk by the Gaw Kadal (bridge), but who remembers what happened that day. A memorial stone was built by Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). It is hidden from the view by the Auto Rickshaw stand. The water underneath the bridge has turned into dirty filth. We still talk about the sacrifices and pay tributes to the martyrs. M’s, G’s, R’s and so many other groups pass their condolences. And yes accompanied by the usual “We will take their mission to its logical end”. Today even the most popular “government” newspaper skipped it. It’s not just a day; it is a reminder of what we have forgotten, of what we have done to the dreams of the martyrs. We are too busy with taking potshots at each other.

“We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget”.

-Muhammad Faysal


From the farce of,
They rose with
Beating the cascades
Over the expanses of Life…

They rose with
Chiseled hearts,
Sweeping waves of
Adrenaline induced
By terror…

It was nothing
Where we were held
In two hands…
Where ‘Kasheer’ lay
In double bonds.

Their feet
Creaking against the
Frost of ‘Chilaikalan’,
Slogans hurled
By tongues on fire,
And songs of
free hearts like smoke!”

If any
This was the recluse,
Hidden behind the drab walls…

Thou crushed by
Nothing- but bullets
Voices choked by
Nothing-but unheard cries
Bodies smeared in
Nothing-but layered dust
Paving way for
Nothing-but forgotton history…

-Insha Bint Bashir

‘Let us…’


There is nobody about.
Nobody about this evening.
Let us steal a slice of life,
like a drop from the turbulent, cool Lither,
split it in two parts.
One for each?
And learn how this drop breaks stones,
splitting them into halves.
One for each?
Look, the hour-hands of the mourning fountain!!
The second –hand, dancing,
In a trance.
Let us
turn time into dust on the face of a calmer Lither.
Come, thaw in a line of silence. Like a word.
Melt blood’s shining mass in the palm of my hand,
My trembling, trembling hand.

~Insha Bint Bashir