The Mujahid and the Mukhbir

By Tapasya Pandita


The mujahid[1] is in me

I am the mukhbir[2]

I am the gagged Lidder[3]

The sunset of Anantnag[4]

The sunset of Islamabad

The spectre of Shankracharya[5]

The azaan[6] that soothes the hill tops

That bend over sacks and sand and glass bottles

I fly with the bulbul[7]

That has the mark of blood

The crown of the coward

Sits on me


(Lidder flowing through Lidderwat)

I am the orgasm of Ghalib[8] and Lalla[9]

In the mouths of the stone pelters

At the mouths of the ghettos

Where the scorpion measures my grave

The gunpowder is my ash

I crawl under rocks

I explode as I emerge

I linger around coloured buses

Hesitant on dark roads of death

I keep my hands where they show

I am the mujahid

Without a Kalashnikov

I am the mukhbir

Who did not know

In desolate buildings

Wired fences

Serrated sights of love

In the Dal[10], under the feet of cricketers

Pakistani or Indian

Like the changing colour of Tulmul[11]

Their hearts grow

I sleep frozen in ice

Waiting for summer

to swallow more

the mujahid is in me

I am the mukhbir


About the Poem:

Kashmir has , for the sake of a political status quo,, been seen as only two different people – the azaadi seeking Kashmiri Muslim who’s always supposed to be a gun carrying ruthless mujahid, or a pro-Indian State Kashmiri Pandit who lost everything at the time of exodus. These dichotomies  have prevented the acceptance of so many other identities- political, sociocultural, religious. The attempt is to consider these two polar opposites and knot them together with the same thread of suffering, violence and deeper humanity that stays untouched by communalism.



[1] Mujahid-One who struggles for the sake of Islam

[2] Mukhbir-Informer or Whistleblower

[3] Lidder-River in Kashmir

[4] Anantnag- Town In Kashmir

[5] Shankracharya-Hindu philosopher who unified main currents of Hinduism

[6] Azaan-Islamic Holy prayer

[7] Bulbul-Songbird found in Indian Subcontinent

[8] Ghalib-Prominent Urdu Poet in 19th Century

[9] Lalla-Famous 14th Century Kashmiri Poetess

[10]Dal- Lake in Srinagar

[11] Tulmul-Place of Worship for Hindus in Kashmir

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