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Theme: Conflict Share This Page
Shahtoos
by Sahar Rizvi
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Shahtoos1.jpg
  I watch the distribution of
glucose biscuits and tea,
which I pass.
As the shawl merchants arrived,
wheeling fat nomadic suitcases behind
that ' having took the scenic route,
dodged artillery fire '
rolled all the way from
Kathua's bumpy highlands.

Quietly, amongst the village,
hungry apprentices expeditiously weave
two yards of fine Chiru fur,
in time to catch the winter chill.

'These poor shawl makers live by what you give us',
with greatest sincerity,
flat palm over his heart,
he begs without mercy.

The shawl is drawn through a ring,
stolen from the skeletal finger of a princely corpse,
along with its Jamawar shroud.
Which we are seated before.

The weavers are now weeping
and burying the bodies of their martyred sons,
who bled a river of dye for silk string,
loomed into the most opulent Shatoos.

Rich women exhibit their opulence
in these adornments.
But shawls tell other tales,
of Kashmir and its despair.

'And for you sister,
which one do you prefer?',
he says intruding.
'I do not indulge', I respond laconically.
But if I did,
I'd drape my body with the slaughter
of all; Chiru, weaver and son.
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October 14, 2007
More By: Sahar Rizvi
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