Mazāmeen in Urdu and Persian means ‘essays’. It is a plural of ‘mazmun’ (essay)–and sometimes signifies just the ‘topic’ of an essay. Mazāmeen, then, are my essays on Kashmir.

This blog was hosted on a different site under the longer title Mazāmeen-e-Ghai’b (taken from a verse of famous Urdu/Persian poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib) or ‘Essays from Beyond’, which I started in 2006 when I was a student in New Delhi, India. Because of its content on Kashmir, I often felt the need to protect my identity. I had to remove the blog several times. In 2009, I came to the US for doctoral studies, and for a while abandoned this blog to create a different one, where I posted nascent new writings on (and in) Kashmir that were blossoming in the wake of 2008-10 mass protests and intensified state repression. That blog, Kashmir Solidarity Network, was part of an online Facebook community of more than 3500 fellow Kashmiri activists and supporters demanding the end to the military occupation of Kashmir.

I wrote more in Mazāmeen in 2010 and, then, abandoned it again. I have recently returned to and revived this blog to explore in writing the challenges that confront Kashmiris and other occupied nations who are struggling for freedom–for Azadi(s). As a refurbished blog, I removed several pieces that I wrote early on, which, because of their lack of immediate context, now appear less valuable,–and which were not always directly connected to Kashmir.

As for me, I grew up in Kashmir, in a tiny city which I call Islamabad when Indian soldiers insist that we call it Anantnag, and Anantnag when I remember Anantnag has little to do with the newly invented association with apparently Indian god, Ananta, and more to do with its many natural springs–Anant-Nag or ‘Countless Springs’, and as Anant-Naga codes a deep history of its original people who may have worshipped nags, the serpents, and which reminds me of the words I wrote a long time ago:

We, the water-born

Rage smoulders in our bellies
Fists clench
Our hands become stones, in which
their copper poison bullets
turn to dust
On our iron heads,
their reason and batons, shatter to pieces.

The dead are witness
All the dead from millennia past
Those shamed in their degraded existence
Now proudly buried in their nameless graves
They watch
Their legacy carried on our corrugated backs.

We, the sons and daughters of
The water-born
The meat-eating demons, snake worshippers
The speakers of gobbledygook
The lowest of the low
Reclaim–once again–this land of our ancestor




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