The Lost Summer: Special Spring Issue 2020
In the early summer of late lamented 2019, when we sought submissions for an issue, little did we know that almost a full year will pass before the poems will see the light of the day. Much has happened since then, as Kashmir attempts to get to grips with the post-370 era that granted the erstwhile state of Jammu Kashmir a special status in the form of special land rights, and symbolic autonomy in the form of a separate constitution, and a flag. The abrogation of the law has heralded a new paradigm in the realities of Kashmir, where communication, dissent, access and free movement, all remain under severe constraints, as pre-existing instruments of repressions, and subjugation have been sharpened. What is the relevance of these works conceived before this watershed moment? One way of approaching the question is to assert the continuity of history and seek how subjectivities were determined by conditions, which provided the necessary context, and background for their evolution. Many of the poems in this issue concern Kashmir, and provide an opportunity to explore how Kashmir was viewed and imagined by poets with no connection to Kashmir, except that of solidarity. In times as these, when the world, India and Kashmir all face a collective onslaught of oppressive forces, now is time, more than ever, to revive these bonds of solidarity, nurture and strengthen them that even if resistance may prove futile on levels of material effect, yet in the struggles for narratives, effective defences may be raised. In the din of pessimism, and resignation, these poems may illuminate the way ahead still lies in mata-e-loh-o-qalam (Nourishing of Pen and Slate), in the immortal words of Faiz. We will see, and we shall see! Hum dekhenge! With the publication of this issue, we affirm our resilience and renewal, as the harsh siege did not succeed in silencing us. We never parted ways with words, and we hope you won’t either!