Saturday, May 23, 2020

Choun Rokh Poshwun Gulab. Lyrics. Translation.



Choun Rokh Poshwun Gulab Chuna
you face is rose in bloom, is it not?
Gulshanan manz su intikhaab Chuna
chosen one among gardens, is it not?

Mayen dree chay Dyakas grih mutchraav
i beg you, unwind sad lines of your forehead
yoot chasman andar tche aab chuna
water in your eyes has dried, has it not?

chyen dree zaenith be chus khamosh
I swear on you, I know, yet I am silent
na kya zan me'nish jawaab chuna
not as if the answer, I don't have

Dil ratchun fitratan me aadat chum
to nurture heart, this habit, is my nature
Dil bajaey wanum sawaal chuna
a happy heart, is a question, is it not?

Jaanbaazaz asar novi saazas
Jaanbaz's music casts a potent spell
nati prathkeasi'nis Rabaab chuna
else everyone has a  Rabaab, is it not?

~ Ghulam Nabi Dolwal "Janbaz" Kishtwari, Singer-Lyricist-Poet
Tr. Vinayak Razdan

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An old video of the poet:





Saturday, May 16, 2020

exile and art exhibit | Kochi Biennale, 2019




I witnessed this scene at Kochi Biennale in March, 2019. A girl was looking for her family house in an installation by Veer Munshi titled "Pandit Houses". She called up someone on the phone and asked them if they recognized. She was hoping to see it there. It wasn't. "All of them look similar". I later talked to the girl and found that she had traveled from Chennai. 

The actual installation had a display screen in center, in it a house burns on loop. Someone, visitor, it seems had stolen the display pad. So, you you had was houses. 

"Homes don't get demolished, they live inside us...Grid of 50 Photographs and Video on loop 5x7 inches each Veer Munshi's "Pandit House" is an ongoing photographic archive. It presents the stark documentary evidence, without annotation or comment, of the erasure of the Kashmiri Pandit  minority from the life of the Valley. This is the tragic outcome of a combination of factors: separatist violence and intolerance, the cynical indifference of the State, the breakdown of trust between communities. Presented without manipulation or theatricality, these houses and neighbourhoods, left behind by a community fleeing into exile, stand in our line of site as ruins, monuments, memorials. Munshi's suite of photographs provides testimony to the unforgiving march of history, which takes no prisoners."

That's the on-site description of the installation. The text contextualized the work in reference to Kashmir, when it talks about "erasure of the Kashmiri Pandit minority from the life of the Valley", with "life of valley" being the subject. However, in the video one can see what "Homes don't get demolished, they live inside us" means and what weird thing the installation does to a subject. Even a sighting is a prossible celebrations. Reclaiming of a memory. And all of this, nothing to do with the actual physical thing - House.

 
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Additional exhibits:

Hauntology by Veer Munshi. There was "power cut" at the time, so it came out all the more haunting. Dead turning into precious relics. More precious than life. Little collectables. Exhibits. Whole valley a mine. That's what all the shine in the darkness of grave spoke to me.

text at the exhibit:

Veer Munshi

Hauntology

In his installation Relics from the Lost Paradise, the Kashmir-born artist Veer Munshi seems to literalize the dictum 'History is Alive'. Both the reliquary and the coffin are repositories/ resting places for the dead, with the difference that one is configured to the task of animating/ remembrance, the other with that of putting wayl forgetting. While contact with the contents of the former, is deemed salubrious and hence desirable, the thought of exposure to the contents of a grave would engender abject horror and repulsion. Both these objects are charged, albeit differently, with magical properties. One while the other haunts. Mobilizing the strong charge of abjection and grim consequence, induced by the imagery of a disinterred grave, the artist, in an emulation of the passion of Heath cliff, offers up for examination a war-tom and dismembered body of Kashmir as a corpus delicti, opening a space for meditation on the protracted suite and the larger question why war? The audience is invited to take a walk through the graveyard of history and throw themselves open for possession by the undead past and the dying present in a corrective danse macabre. Often times, all that the dead want is for someone to hear their story before the graph shifts from the paranormal to the normal again.


Murder of Crows by Gargi Raina [previously] Being a generational mainland KP, this was only work that looked at Kashmir from a distance, and in a bit of old school "paradise" lost format. 



   




text at the exhibit:

Gargi Raina

A MURDER OF CROWS (The Crow Funeral)

Gouache, ink, charcoal on paper 5 panels : 6.25 ft x 3.5 ft each 2018

In the English language a more poetic word is used to describe collective nouns, specifically groups of animals. In the book of St. Albans, in 1486 in medieval England these terms are mentioned

a gaggle of geese.
a school of fish, 
a pride of lions, 
A Murder of Crows

Crows are one of the closest to human beings in feeling and expressing grief collectively at the death of one of their own Crows hold funerals and mourn their dead. When a crow dies, other crows fly from afar and gather around and make a lot of noise In response to a distress call from near a dead crow, other crows fly in from afar and gather around and make a lot of noise. They react strongly to seeing one of their own who has died. These crows can share the knowledge of dangerous humans with other crows They have long collective memories and hold a grudge and pass it on to their offspring The sight of a dead crow leaves a lasting impression on living crows. This expression of public collective grief of crows is akin to human collective grief at funerals.

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A Root-less Tree by Santosh Shah ‘Nadan'. Tr. Aman Indra Kaul


A Root-less Tree 

by Santosh Shah ‘Nadan'

Tr. from Kashmiri by Aman Indra Kaul


Where have I left to, where have I come to
In all corners has home’s love sunk to
What do I tell thee, what have I been through

Pick up your pens, elegies should you write
Hiding our identity, left we our homes
Weeping us, abusing they, left we our homes

Exile is extirpating a chinar from its roots
When does a wasteland reap verdure
Sown to its own home, it springs furthermore

Ramayan’s end is now its start
Gone have Rishis from the valley too
Dashrath finally, but had to die
Waiting for final rites, parched, he died

I, from birth, built a home like an ant
Like a thief, I, a raazbaa’e left home too
Having lost its way, where do I head to

In front of home were Sangrishi, in front Rishimoal
When do I run to wash my Saptrishi’s feet
Why division of humans when we all were one

Ganeshbal, Tulmul, Shankaracharya, Silgam
Amarnath, on its head, sitting like a chief
Lokutpur, you know, was my all-time abode

Nund Rishi, Sadarmaej, Mangladevi sthaan
Uintpore astaan, with what feet do I go there
Who will take taher on chodish to Zaala

How do I start towards Nilnaag Omoh
And a far-off place where ‘Amir’ lives
How do I reach Mukdoom Sahib and to Sharika

Where’s my father’s home and my in-laws’
Where are neighbours and childhood buddies
Who’s gonna go to Vomaaye on gang’e atham

Where be our Koshur and its culture
Where do I breathe under Chinar’s shade
Where do I relax with kangri and chai from Samavaar

Don’t change colours, don’t you Kashmiri Pandits
Tread truth’s way and don’t you fall fake
Think what waste has exile turned us into

How do I forget the rishi’s abode—
the home of sufis and saints
Kashmir, I tell you,
the ‘Nadan’ of Chandigam is devoted to you.


Notes on Translation:

Translated from Kashmiri. In its original form and language, this poem is very lyrical at most junctures. While translating, with whatever little I could, I tried to keep the flow as much as possible however pressing harder on rhyme would have lead to loss of meaning.

I had Rushdie in mind while translating. I wanted the Koshur in it to remain. Maybe, for posterity, like ‘atham’ to be remembered not as ‘ashtami’. So I left some of it unturned.

Because I was born in Delhi post exile, I don’t have the total grasp on the language and its dynamics. It is very much possible for me to misunderstand a word, a line or a stanza. Hence and otherwise too, I’m all in for constructive criticism.

— Aman Indra Kaul


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Original by Santosh Shah ‘Nadan', written in 1993

Mool Ros Kul

Kyati Draay yor kot roznay aaye
Hyeni Hyeni saneymez me gharich maaey
Kyah wanai andri kyah me gudromut   
Hyeni Hyeni saneymez me gharich maaey

Tul kalam maanav lekh vyn khataey 
Ghar'e dramutey aesey nesif raatey
vyed vyed zyed karaan draay hamsaayey
Hyeni Hyeni saneymez me gharich maaey

Ghar nyerun chaey mool'e kadin booyn'ya
Dodryomut kyati pravi sabzaar
Teli febi yeli dil dimhon bey panin jaaye
Hyeni Hyeni Saneymez me gharich maaey

Phirith log ramayan, reshyev ti hyot tcholnuy
Dashrathas phirith marnuy pyov
Tresh haety naad booz trev lari jaaye 
Hyeni Hyeni Saneymez me gharich maaey

Zanmah derith sobrum daeray
gom kochey pheray kotu vate bo
raj raeni ghari draay zan tchor baiye
Hyeni Hyeni Saneymez me gharich maaey

buthi chum Sangresh bey chum Reshimol
satreshi gomut me hol pad chalhae
kyazi kuni zaat bagrin aay
Hyeni Hyeni Saneymez me gharich maaey

Ganeshbal Tulmul Shankrachaya Silgami
Amarnath bihit chum paane Padshah
Mukam loketpor cham bihinijaye
Hyeni Hyeni Saneymez me gharich maaey

Nundresh Sadarmej Mangladev Sathaan
Uintporas astaan kith vaate bo
kus neye tahar tchot Tchodash Zaayale
Hyeni Hyeni Saneymez me gharich maaey

Nilnag Womu kith kar prasthaan
Dooru Shahbaad Amir Rozaan
Kith Gatche Mokhdam Sehibun ti Sharikaaye
Hyeni Hyeni Saneymez me gharich maaey

Kyate Malyun Myon Kyate Vaeriv Myon
Kyate chum Hamsaay ti chatboj myon
Kusu gatche Gangashtame Womaaye
Hyeni Hyeni Saneymez me gharich maaey

Kyate bane Koshur ti Koshur Samtchar
Kyate chav yati bihit boni Sahjaar
Kyate bani Kangir ti samavaar chaay
Hyeni Hyeni Saneymez me gharich maaey

Kashmir Pandito ma kar dalbadli
Saandto satich vath ma ban nakli
souchtav ghar nirith gai zaaye
Hyeni Hyeni Saneymez me gharich maaey

Kyate trav Reshiwaer aalamas yiwaan vaer
Sufiyan ti Santan hinz aati paer
Nadan Tchandhigaam chay seevay
Hyeni Hyeni Saneymez me gharich maaey

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