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Issue 03 | Yaarbal - Letters From Kashmir

Yaarbal: Letters From Kashmir
Cover Photograph:

The Weight of An Earring: An Elegy of Adornment - Syed Khateeba, Kashmir, 2023


A  Poem: From the Editor

Sabahat Ali Wani

A Kashmiri woman writes to her Afghan friend

—a promise that must be kept.

Summe sneaks in with a letter

—while the Singar box pledges to protect our secrets.


Reza pens a goodbye

—to a love that has disappeared.

As Gaed Sar haunts us every day

—Imam’s son roams freely!


In a foreign land, we wanted to live and laugh

—but all we did was wait—wait for the phone to connect.

Huddle up! Amina is here with her Yaarbal Kaakin

—in the hope of reviving Kralnaad.


Beware! Rantas is speaking today

—hide the Sufi men of the valley.

Today and every day, Asiya is spoken for

—thrashed, claimed and thrown in a dark room.

All of our bodies carry an unwanted touch

—a price we pay for stepping out.

Did you find Gowsiya’s blood-soaked yellow beanie?

—the river must give it back!

Did you check under the mattress?

—a sister’s letter awaits to be read.


On the brim of a nun-chai pyale

—male privilege sits and mocks our fight.

Waer is, now, a battlefield

—hand on our hips, we stand tall and angry.


Seven Kashmiri women went to Gurez

—few songs were sung,

some shawls were shared,

the past collapsed on the future,

and a warm present remained.


Maaje Zevwe's Issue 03 is the product of the magazine's project, Yaarbal: Letters of Kashmir.


Maypole Fund Grant (Yaarbal: Letters of Kashmir, 2023)

Semi-Finalist (Moonshot Borderless Award, 2022)

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