Agha Shahid Ali Lamenting the Loss of a Cosmopolitan Society in Kashmir in His The Country Without A Post Office and Rooms Are Never Finished
Keywords:Cosmopolitanism, Kashmir, Loss, Others, Love.
This article focuses on the Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali as a poet, imbued with the awareness of a cosmopolitan citizen, with specific reference to his two collections of poems The Country Without a Post Office and Rooms Are Never Finished. These two volumes delineate Kashmir, his beloved motherland, which has been “the cause of hostility between India and Pakistan since their creation in 1947” and in the 1990s it “erupted into a full-scale uprising for self determination”. The disheartened poet laments the loss of a cosmopolitan society that Kashmir used to be in his time, when the different cultural and political others lived together in peace. But the spirit of tolerance and respect for the otherness of the others is now under seize by the unprecedented show of violence. That dream valley of the poet is in split among the Hindus, the Muslims, the supporters of India, of Pakistan, of Kashmiri Separatist Nationalism, in the name of religion and nationalism. In this context one is reminded of the words of R.N. Tagore that large nations do what they wish, but small nations accept what they must. The poet has a clear idea of the sufferings of the Kashmiri people and of the political scenario of the Kashmir issue, standing as the apple of discord between the brand new Indo-Pak nuclear powers. Still, he does strongly condemn each and every act of these self-proclaimed “jihadis” and patriots, both from Kashmir and outside, who have forgotten the most important implication of the term, i.e., fighting against the darker side of one’s own self.
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