Yet again, irrational, regressive, fanatical fundamentalists have smothered free voices in the name of religion and propriety. (Link to related news)
Yet again, in our great country, women are being dictated their “limits”, created in the name of God by men who want nothing more than to justify their misogyny.
Yet again, a religious diktat has been issued, not against rapists and tormentors of men, women and children, or thieves and murderers and plunderers of common wealth – but against three girls who wanted to sing.
Yet again, a man who holds the power to influence thoughts decided to give up all responsibility, and turned back the clock to the Dark Ages.
God gave the gift of music to us. And no one has the right to take that gift away. Mufti Bashiruddin is not God. In fact. he is as far away from being God as the girls are from going to hell for singing.
Disillusioned as I am, I wonder – When will the time come when a girl can make music, and not choke on her own songs? 

Shots echoed in the Valley
Harsh, staccato notes
Hung in the air
Long after they left the gun
For they did not leave
the scared hearts, fluttering
Of the birds of the Valley

For a while there was silence
An uneasy peace
A welcome release
From numbing pain
And deafening fear
And the birds
began to hope again.

Time went by
The world moved on
The sky was open for flight again
Slowly, but surely
the silence became serene
And the birds in the Valley
Thought they could sing their songs

But they had not accounted
For the black crows
With their raucous cawing
Loudly preaching
Wanted or unwanted
An assumed authority
On morals and propriety

A band of young she-birds began to chirp
Hesitatingly at first, a trill here and there
When the other birds gathered
To listen to their crystal voices
The songbirds’ music
Released new notes
Into the mountain air

The notes had barely risen
When the pack of crows descended
on them, croaking and clawing
Accusing and intimidating
Passing judgement without cause
Branding them heretics
And calling for punishment

“How dare you raise your voice
How did you think of music, girl?
It sways the minds of the birds

“No voices shall be heard
But those that issue from our throats
No beats shall be created
Unless it’s the claps we call for
No tunes shall ever be sung
That we don’t make you dance to.”
The head of the pack demanded.

Other crows joined in the lynching
“Yes, yes, how dare you, woman?”
They shrieked self-righteously
A few big birds tried to open their beaks
But soon they withdrew and flew
Back to the golden cage
The crows did provide with their strength.

The songbirds crouched together in fear
As predatory warnings
Threatened to rob them of body
But not before ripping their soul
One by one the songbirds
Withdrew into the gloom
Pragaash* no more.

And the days turned silent again
The nights darker than before
Fear tightens its icy grip
On the birds of the Valley once more
No chirping or clucking or cooing
Only harsh squawking and shrieking
Of the black crows that rule the Valley.

WRITTEN BY – Meenakshi Ganesh (

* Note: Pragaash, meaning “Darkness to Light”, was the name of the Kashmiri all-girl rock band.


One comment on “THE VALLEY LIES SILENT AGAIN – By Meenakshi Ganesh

  1. Beechmount says:

    Mufti Bashiruddin
    When idiots like him can grow up without their illiterate fathers pounding the words of the Koran into their heads from the day they can understand words–when they are allowed to read other works of fiction, then perhaps they might become enlightened, rather than ending up as mentally incapacitated , narrow-minded, radical individuals.

    One might add that the girls no doubt repented their “sins”, since not doing so may have gotten them killed. I tell you, as much as we live in the 21st century, we find that far too many people exist with their head burried in the same sand they did hundreds of years ago.


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