Own Me, Srinagar

3.5/5 - (8 votes)

Author: Basant Rath
Pages: 76
Year of Publication: 2013
Price: Rs 150
978-93-5045-053-6 (9789350450536)

About the Author
Basant Rath was born in 1972 in a village in coastal Odisha. He studied Sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, before joining the Indian Police Service in 2000. He considers Mandi, Poonch (a border district in Jammu and Kashmir) his second home. At present, he is working on a novel.


A Lonely Line of Control

A lonely line of control
in a left-over land.

Her terror nights
infiltrating her freedom days.

One sunny morning
standing naked near the Jhelum
she looked at her reflection in the waters
and saw history winking an eye at her.

A caesarian baby
born six grenade decades ago
among absentee landlords
she lived in the same valley.

Whatever they fancied
they placed on her curves
a mine, a sniper, a fence
or a splinter of their own hatred.

Whatever they fell for
they stole from her house
a church, a chinar, a prayer
or a season of their own snowfall.

And all these years
of bunker and bullet-proof jackets
she felt
she was in control of her destiny.

A lonely line of control
in a left-over land.

Note: The chinar, Platanus orientalis or oriental plane, is one of the most familiar trees in Kashmir, almost symbolic of the Valley.

A review of the book can be read here.

38 poems

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