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A Letter from Srinagar

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Translated by ABBAS ALI

Houseboat, Srinagar

August 24,1945

Sometimes hands weaken, heart hurts, and feet shake.

You move so swiftly, O life! I fear you will leave my lap.

Honorable Friend,

I had actively engaged in innumerable conflicts in the mart of life for various genders of purposes.

However, of late, I have been struggling for a new treasure—I mean to say I am searching for my lost health. Doctors had advised me to go and search (for the lost treasure, i.e., health) in the meadows of the valley of Kashmir. Therefore, I reached Gulmarg during the last days of the previous month and resided there for three weeks. I had thought I would find some clue here; however, despite my struggle, I could not find any clue about my lost treasure (health).

She has gone far away from the city of gloom.

You may recall that Fayzi the poet used to unpack his luxuries here:

Thousands of caravans of love arrive here for a night’s stay,

They enjoy the luxurious pleasures of Kashmir’s valley.

However, I was burdened with my share of unhappiness and sickness. I am going back with the same burden I brought with me. Life itself is a burden from head to toe. As far as this burden is on the shoulders of a person, it must be carried, whether one carries it happily or unhappily.

We are counted among the living because we do not rest.

I have arrived from Gulmarg and am residing on a houseboat. Yesterday, while I was about to leave Gulmarg, the post arrived, and Mr. Ajmal Khan handed me your poetic letter. I cannot express how my aching heart and surprised eyes perused it or how my ears heard it!!! The affair between us has reached the level that Galib described as:

My connection to you is that of a dependent.

Despite your criticism of me, I am grateful.

You have not only sent your message rapped in three heartfelt verses, but you’ve also opened the door to kindnesses and favors.

A small act of kindness on your part means a lot.

This little favour cannot be considered insignificant.

These lines may be considered the prologue for the forthcoming write-ups. The story that I had to tell after my release from prison is yet to get acquainted with the tip of the pen.



Abul Kalam

Gubaar-i-Khatir Letter No.2

[email protected]

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