Shireen Moti, an FCO British Chevening Scholar from India studying the LLM in Law Programme at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), was invited by MP Bob Blackman to present her poem on the 'Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits' at the House of Commons, London, 18 January. Her reading was part of an event discussing the issues and the violation of human rights of Kashmiris [PDF 304KB] to mark what has been recognized by the UK Government and the Indian Government as the Kashmiri Pandit Exodus Day, 19 January.
One day, strangers cameShouting slogans of endless shameNo time to wonder, life was preciousPushed out of the door of the house we made
Landed to an unknown spaceCold, shattered, penniless, but life remainedThen rose the morning sun and with that our struggle began
Food, water, and shelter were no longer necessitiesThey were bigger than luxuries and caused immense painBy and by life returned to normalBut life was never the same
Neighbours, friends, relatives, and strangers in painAll were the sameI thought to myself what had remainedAll lost, nothing regained
Years later, we flourishedIn a new city amongst new people, we had a placeYet the feeling of anonymity, loneliness remainedI felt ashamed
Abandoned, unwanted and violently pushed awayAbandoned, unwanted and violently pushed awayEnough to kill the feeling of belongingness and worthBut the human spirit remained
When I think of Kashmir and battas today,I stop my tears from rolling away,Not because I am any less a KashmiriBut because Kashmir is in unending pain
Returning to our homeland seems like a far-fetched dreamReturning with pride, dignity and honour seems even further awayNevertheless, the quest has begun and is growing stronger each dayThere will come a time, when the presence of Kashmiri Pandits is celebrated in the Kashmir valley again.