Describing it as “a postcard to phones in Kashmir which do not ring”, Carnatic vocalist TM Krishna on Wednesday afternoon posted a clip on Twitter of a recitation of Agha Shahid Ali’s poem Postcard from Kashmir.
Under the words of the poem is the sound of a telephone call that fails to get connected, drawing attention to the complete communication blackout in Kashmir this week.
Agha Shahid Ali was an American poet of Kashmiri origin. Postcard from Kashmir was published in his book The Half-Inch Himalayas.
The shutdown of phone lines and internet connections in Jammu and Kashmir were among the security measures the government imposed on Monday when it decided to revoke the state’s special status and to divide the state into two Union Territories: Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Tens of thousands of Army and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in the state fearing a backlash against the decision. A strict curfew persists.
At the end of the clip, Krishna sings the song Allah Tero Naam, Ishwar Tero Naam from the 1961 Bollywood movie Hum Dono. The song conveys the message that Allah in Islam and Ishwar in Hinduism are the different names of one god.
Here is the text of Agha Shahid Ali’s Postcard from Kashmir.
Kashmir shrinks into my mailbox,
my home a neat four by six inches.
I always loved neatness. Now I hold
the half-inch Himalayas in my hand.
This is home. And this the closest
I’ll ever be to home. When I return,
the colors won’t be so brilliant,
the Jhelum’s waters so clean,
so ultramarine. My love
And my memory will be a little
out of focus, in it
a giant negative, black
and white, still undeveloped.