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Kashmiri Poetry of Four Centuries

June 2017

The translations of Kashmiri poetry presented here grew out of a project at Sangam House, a writers residency program in the Indian countryside about forty-five minutes west of Bangalore. Every year, Sangam House invites writers and translators working in languages across India—and, indeed, the world—to live and work among their peers in a safe, supportive, and nurturing space. As an outgrowth of our core residency program, Sangam House began organizing workshops to facilitate exchanges between writers and translators from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In the winter of 2014, we began work on a special project called Simurgh. Supported by the Aditi Foundation for the Arts, and named after the mythical bird born from the combined energies of those who sought it, the project was designed to seed a new generation of translators from Indian languages—who could come together as a community, enriching not just their own work, but bringing the treasury of Indian writing to a wider audience.

By Sonam Kachru, Neerja Mattoo & Arshia Sattar
The texts we were working with were profoundly unstable.
The jewels of my eyes I’ll lay at your feet
By Arinimal
Hyacinth! Lift your head your head from within the mud
Translated from Kashmiri by Neerja Mattoo
Born of earth, I fell into contemplation
By Roop Bhawani
You kindled hope in me. Now fill my cups.
Translated from Kashmiri by Neerja Mattoo
I Will Die Young
By Rasul Mīr
Are they more beautiful than me?
Translated from Kashmiri by Sonam Kachru
I Will Not Sing
By Dīna Nāth Nādim
When the thunder of guns tears out the tongue from the nightingale
Translated from Kashmiri by Sonam Kachru