English transliteration of original:
TCHER T'E B'E
Salaamah loe’le saan goed’e mye’aen bu’eziv
wane’in cham warg’e kath poz dhyaan’e ru’eziv
dahe’il jo’oerah wek’eir guzre’ay pathkun
setha mushkil chu sapdaan az ti shah hyeo’n
agar zeav rooth, baavath roe’zi anzaan
pagah kus zaani teli az kyah chu gudraan?
zulum zo’elaan’e wa’ensan rooe’id pyetraa
tyeongul yas pyeov, dazandag sui’y chu zanaan
wech’em tcher akh deyaan gaeri dae’en tharri pyeath
prichum yeli tas tcheri, “chaiy kyazi nath nath?”
t’e doupnam “kyah wanai, wann’e tas khodayas
yi’yas hai aar, teli a’ndd waati nyeayas
thawakh tcheti kan, wanai wue’ch kyah me’a cha’shmav
dapakh yinn’e kaensi wopran, kor ye pann’nyeav”
phiry’ean ae’tch aasmanas kun wonun kyah
me’a thov ti daag’eweith beyi boezi kanh’tchah
“khoda sae’ba laejis tcher ga’er gaatthan
warafta’eri andar wae’raan shaatthan
samaiy halka’er gov yae’ti shar-o-gaaman
raqs mo’etuk sapud yeli subh-o-shaaman
bue’ddyean, mo’esum shur’ein, maaj’ein t’e maale’an
qaraare’iy ro’oev, shurki’nyean tchaiy aale’an
pothe’r maaj’ein kotch’ean manz maarnai aaiy
yusui bethi aakh, daaras khaarnai aaiy
mazaaras manz katyean maharaaz’e kae’msund?
thippis ander kate’an shahbaaz kae’msund?
wech’em barppa sape’z garr’e garr’e qayamath
walith ae’es naal nazran taam shahmath
gae’raiy traewith tchajis, wa’nge’ij baneay’yas
be kaesh’er chas, beye’an seet ma ralea’yas
warri wuh marr’e wopar jaayan guza’erim
wa’n aayas garr’e, pan’ein praeth jaayi tcha’erim
gomut kus kot chu logmut, kyah khabar cham!
wu’ejaaran manz katyean kus waar’e aas’eam?
ddaenjaiy chunn’e kanh, pareshaan haal saeri
gomut pho’einphaak, aabadas wu’ejaeri
gulistaanas gulan zan ddo’eth pyeomut
ku’emyuer, kostoor, bul bul kol chu go’emut
chu ka’em loot’ith nye’umut sabzaar myeonui?
qadaawar yaarri wan, shehjaar myeonui?
koh-an dastaar ropp’e sund haayi wolmut
pohul zaen’ith ti kh’yeol hyeath watt’i chu dolmut
su so’entuk yaawunui hardan nyeangulmut
tchajjal bo’enyean shuhal hyeath choor cho’elmut
d’eyaan bul-bul che gul tha’ez ka’er no’emrith
tulir be-haal katti ann’i wye’oor so’embrith?
golab-an hy’uind aasun rooshith gomut chum
gulaalas daag jigras tyeal’ewun chum
wuchum kyah pye’om chashmav, go’oem afsoos
yi kaem-se’inz’i nazri ma’endiny’ean sirriyi zan l’oos?
su kul katti o’oes yath pyeath oo’el myonui?
karaan shukraan’e shab-rooz ae’es chonui?
gutt’eil ka’eim sarvve makhmal hyeuv tchatith nyeuv?
wuhaan tyeongul, shuhul myeon ka’eim watith nyeuv?
yi kamm laesh dith wan-nan myean’ean tche ga’emeit?
gomut afsoos mand’in’ean khoftt’e pye’ameit
yi kam katti aaiy makh hyeath tchaa’y baagas?
yi ka’em chum daam dye’utmut Neil’e naag-as? 
yi rotchmut o’oes saaneav wa’ens’e waadan
su sorui raav’erith ty’ealun chu yaadan
buzargan, aa’erifan, mastaan’e, saadan
chalaan Vyeth ae’s na paapan t’e paadan? 
so’e az bemaar laagar khastt’e ga’eme’tch
pakaan thakh dith, so’etith wa’es wa’es tcha pyeame’tch
busar lall’ewaan jigras posh’e maale’un
gam’eit tchis aat’eshi za’elith su’e taale’un
b’e a’eses na gye’awaan kamm loe’lle-hue’ir bro’enth?
y’e ka’em sha’ethran ditchem pye’and, band korun tcho’enth?
cha’e basaan faa’k’e-farri az jal te bul-bul
bachan yei’m aanp’eraawaan ae’eis shahtul
anjooran, braeyi t’e boe’ny’ean nyaal golmut
harud so’entas gomut, meezaan dolmut
ralye’omut wyeah chu waavas, rye’h tche'a aabas
tche'a tchenima’etche taar’e Sonn’e Batt’e nis Rabaabas  
samaan katt’i jaan’ewar az subh-u-shaaman?
shina’eyah az game’tch shahran t’e gaaman
s’u gamut ra’awerith ga’emi shahar kha’eit
shah’eir kahras ander doshwaiy ga’emeit ma’eit
khoda sa’eba ye kyah Resh Waa’eri goemut? 
phulai barjast’e ae’ses ddo’eth pye’omut!
jaddan he’inz ae’es yo’es arzath t’e wasmath
so’e pharka’eweith wa’elith tcham naal shahmath
diwaan aalav tchasai aame’tch b’e fa’eryae’ed
yimav jo’edugarav ka’ermeit tchaham jae’ed
yiwaan ae’esim mye’a pae’tch yo’et so’ent’e laaraan
sattut, bul-bul, ka’etij ae’es oo’el yearaan
karaan ae’s aae’s samith yatt’i sha’eid-yaanah
samanbal ooe’es mil’etcharuk thikaanah
pholaan gaet’elis andar ou’es noor-e-pragaash
de’yaan butraat az, dam-phe’it tchu aakaash
yi raawur az, ti paghas laebn’i nye’arun
gulistaanea’en sa’eakil shaatthan tchu phe’arun
su’e katti churgish, gye’awun jaanawaran hyuind
samanbal ro’oev yaaran dilbaran hyuind
gatchaan faryaad wa’edunah bas tchu go’eshan
zarud bue’th soe’nt’e gomut nyee’ir po’eshan
y’e ka’eim yath babbr’i baagas dro’oeth woyum?
y’e ka’eim harnas wan’nas manz teer loyum?
y’e ka’eim soe’ntai harud kornam bahaaras?
y’e ka’eim moglan Dilawar kho’oer daaras? 
watan daaran y’i ka’eim ka’er laar hai-hai?
me’a Nooras tchaar wo’etum naar hai-hai 
b’e dimm’ena naall’e, kar’ena jaamm’e az chaak?
me’a Gous-ul-aazam-um astaan’e gov khaak 
y’i kam pue’tchnaan pa’ach tche’im tchaayi ruzith?
gatche’im na az su’e ye’im asraar buzith!
y’e kamm sa’en tchoor pha’er moll’e’lis khazaanas?
tye’ongul halmas barith tche’im po’eshe paanas
atthaiy ma kae’nsi roe’tmut ka’ensi wannihyea
mizaazas da’elmetis tthaeh’raav ann’ihyeas
poshaakah sar-sabz ousum mye’a baalan
timai nyeath’ena’in nyesanga az che naalan
awaaiy aawaar’e jangeil jaan’ewar ga’iy
pareshaan ba’estiyan wa’etith tawai pa’iy
mateame’it ba’el che ma yeim se’h t’e haapath
tthikaanai rood ma kunni tihindi baapath
khasaan ajna’eib janggi doh-raat baalan
wanan kas kyazi yei’m bechaar’e naalan?
khoda sa’eba tche ousuth chaar’e kormut
wanan ousuth mo’elul taajah tche jo’ermut
mye’a koea’tah, daan’e ka’echtaamath ch’e haajath
mye’a taamath aayi gre’ah-tchaarich ye shahmath
be chas kre’ashaan, aadam mo’et chu go’emut
wechaan chas aab’e male’un trea’she pye’omut
sambaalav ka’rr yi wa’eraeni wuja’eri
tamashai atth ti roo’edyeim wechni sa’eri
ya’etti Lalle maa’eji Nund-e-resh choov amry’eat 
yaetich kasrat pakaan kun’irech allam hy’eath
cha baasaaan Arnimaal Naiku-as cha faerya’aed 
so’e Habb’e kho’etoon bawaan Yusuf-as daae’d 
karaan sub-o-shaam chas faeryaad-za’eri
watan so’erui mye’a chum ratt’e sa’eir tchopa’eri
gatav chum naal wolmut, gaash rootthum
khabar khoochith katye’an kaanttur te’i bye’utthum
be chas na aae’il naashas pye’ath pareshaan
zameen dam-phue’it gamech rooshith chu asmaan
agar bann’ihae y’e aadam-zaad insaan
jahaanas zoezi ha teli amn-o-aaman
chu afsoos tchoor phaerm’eit maal’inis che’im
be kadd’e hakh ae’ech digav seety’ean, wechak te’im
so’e churgish beyyi t’I karhav subh-o-shaaman!
hochan thaerineiy t’i wech’ehav beyyi so’e baaman!
soeroodah-saaz beyyi wazz’ihae kannan manz
grazun go’ech wigni wanwun path wanan manz
karakh na dar-guzar sae’ri khata sa’ein!
tae’ji katti ass’i kare’in zanh band’gi cha’ein
tcha’eke’irmeit woo’eil waawan kus ko’etan loeg?
ajjab na’eb-grya’ein sapud, katti boz’enuiy toeg!
be tcher kyah aad’eman hinz karr’e shikayat
wuchum yi t’i wonum tchann’e kanh hikayat
watan dokh’elad korum, afsoos pro’evum
mye’a paanas nish t’i pann’enui paan rovum
Zareef-an yelli prue’chu’em tcha’ekh kyazzi daem-phu’eitt?
be ko’etah thaavv’eha tas-nish t’i kha’eitt kha’eitt
yi gu’edryeomut chu ta’emchi ka’er mye’a baawath
diyiv ro’ekhsath wae’n phal pha’el tchaand’e taamath.”
© Zareef Ahmad Zareef
THE SPARROW AND I
First please accept my salaam that lovingly I give
A subtle fable I have to narrate, be fully attentive
A couple of distressful decades have passed away
Still so very difficult it is to breathe easy today
If the tongue is held, the report will remain unknown
Who’ll then know tomorrow of trials today undergone?
For lifetimes we have been tyranny and fetters bearing
Only whom an ember hits knows the pain of burning
I saw on a pomegranate perch a sparrow sitting sadly
I asked that sparrow why it was trembling terribly
She said, “What to tell you, only to God I’ll reveal
For if He takes pity, only He can end this ordeal
But if you too lend ear, what I saw you’ll be shown
Not some stranger, no, it was done by folks our own.”
Speaking, the sparrow turned her eyes to Heaven
I noted it all down so that others too could listen
“O God, fell on alien shores such a frail sparrow
In frightened flight hit upon sandbars of sorrow
Time became rabid here in every village and town
When the dance of death occurred at dusk and dawn
The old and innocent young, mothers and fathers
Lost all peace, pressed into crevices and corners
Sons in the laps of their mothers were butchered
Whoever they ran into on gallows were smothered
Where in the graveyard is bridegroom whose?
Where in the cage is king of falcons whose?
I saw in each house Judgment Day was on
Bound by shackles, even eyesight was torn
I fled my home, sought shelter with strangers
I Kashmiri am, I could not mix up with others
In strange lands I did spend some twenty a year
Now returned home, I seek my folks everywhere
Who has went where and got held, I cannot tell
Who in these desolate ruins will be doing well?
Everyone is unsettled, all by worry troubled
Ruin has befallen, abode into wasteland turned
As if flowers in the garden have been hit by hail
All became dumb: bulbul, thrush, nightingale
Who has looted away that lush verdure of mine?
That lofty pine, shadowy forest shelter of mine?
Silver caps of mountains are with cobwebs covered
The shepherd knowingly went astray with his herd
That youth of Spring has been by Autumn gulped
The shade of plane tree canopies a thief has swiped
The bulbul is woeful, downcast the neck of the flower
The bee is dreary, now where will it gather nectar?
Laughter of rose petals grew petulant towards me
My! A spreading stain on the bosom of my red poppy
What all I had to see with my eyes, I felt deep regret
From whose sight has the sun at midday set?
Where was that tree on which my nest used to lay?
We used to thank you, O God, every night and day
The velvety cypress was hacked by which woodcutter?
Who stole my shade where the embers now smoulder?
Who have torched my forest and slunk away?
Deplorable it is that folks slumbered at midday
Who from where with an axe did the garden enter?
Who has guzzled my surging Nila Naag’s  water?
What our predecessors did for lifetimes nurture
Having lost all that, now memories must fester
Wizened sages, saints, mystics, knowing masters
Did not their feet and sins cleanse Vyeth’s  waters?
Today a sick and sticky thin trickle she has become
She flows faintly, so frail and feeble she has become
Nursing a boil in bosom is the flowery homestead
A blaze has brought heartburn to its stately head
Didn’t I once warble many a mellifluous melody?
My mouth plugged and muzzled was by which enemy?
The lark and bulbul seem to forage around hungry
The birds that used to feed their chicks mulberry
Figs, jujubes and planes have ceased existence
Spring turned to autumn as nature lost its balance
The water is on fire and the wind is laced with poison
The strings of Sona Batt’s  rubab  are badly broken
Where at dusk and dawn is the birds’ congregation?
Villages and towns are now sites of utter destruction
Losing an idyllic life, villagers took to the city
Both have been maddened by urban severity
O God, to the Rishi Vaer  why such bad luck?
In full bloom it had been when the hailstorm struck
That which was the earning and fortune of our forebears
Blown it all, now this bird a serpent-necklace wears
I am calling you, O God, I come as a supplicant
These magicians are responsible for my enchantment
In spring this land used to be visited by myriad guests
Hoopoe, bulbul, swift: all would weave their nests
We indulged in revelry here when we used to gather
This gathering ground was a place of being together
Inside dark bowers used to dawn light so incandescent
The land is now wretched, suffocated the firmament
Future generations have to search for today’s lost treasure
The garden-dwellers through desert sands have to wander
Gone is the pleasant oratory and singing of birds
Friends have lost the gathering ground of beloveds
One’s ears can only hear pleading and wailing
Meadow flowers now bear pallid faces in spring
Who with a sickle wiped away my garden of basil?
Who at my gazelle shot arrows in the jungle?
Who in spring got my garden in autumnal throes?
Which Mughal hanged my dilawar  heroes?
Who chased the natives from their land, alas!
To Noora’s Tsrar  reached the fire hand, alas!
Must I not wail today, must I not my raiment slash?
My Ghaus-ul-Azam’s shrine  has been burnt to ash
Who slinking in the shadows trust are tearing?
Would He not leave today without secrets hearing?
Whose thieves purloined this precious treasure?
In my flower-like body I hold a raging ember
Nobody has ever held anybody’s hand and advised
And the disposition of the ill-tempered subsided
My hills once wore a gorgeous green garment
Fleeced and denuded, today they all lament
That is why homeless wild beasts now wander
Troubled thus, into human settlements they enter
Not for nothing assailing are many a lion and bear
Now that there is no shelter left for them anywhere
Climb the hills do unfamiliar gunmen night and day
Whom will they ask why, the poor beasts, pray?
You, O God, had bountiful resources provided
You had the forests with a costly crown mounted
As for me, a few food grains for me are enough
Even for me, the stars are unlucky, the going tough
My throat is parched, the humans have gone crazy
I am seeing that even the abode of water is thirsty
When will we this destruction and devastation tackle?
Everyone keeps on watching this like some spectacle
Where Lalla fed Nunda a drink of immortality 
This land’s diversity bears the standard of unity
Seems like Arinimaal to Naiku does complain 
She is Habba Khatoon showing Yusuf her pain 
Day and night I am submerged in pitiful mourning
My land from all quarters is in blood drowning
The darkness has engulfed me, the light is sulking
Know not where out of fear my dear mate is hiding
So depressed by the destruction of my nest am I
The earth has become exhausted, sullen is the sky
If only this son of man became humane truly
The world would then peace and harmony see
But alas! Plunderers did into my homeland sneak
If I find them, I’d peck their eyes with my beak
Oh that again we sing day night mellifluous melodies!
Oh that again we see new sprouts from dried out trees!
Would that choral chants resound in the ear again!
Would that the fairy songs in backwoods roar again!
Won’t You towards our transgressions be lenient?
We never did learn to be towards You obedient
By whirling winds scattered, who was where thrown
The sky strangely shuddered, to listen we didn’t learn
How can I, a mere sparrow, complain of men?
I narrated only what I saw and this is no fiction
My land I made despondent and regret did I gain
I from myself lost my own self, all in vain
When Zareef asked me why you are grief-ridden
How much could I have from him kept hidden?
Only that which has happened I did to you convey
Bid me goodbye, to look for grains now I go away.”
© Translation, Sualeh Keen
 Nila Naag = Alternative name for the famous Verinag spring, the traditional source of River Jhelum. Originally, named after a Naga king or snake-deity mentioned in the ancient myth Nilamata Purana named Nila, whose habitation was close to the spring near the Verinag village. Since in local parlance, nag means ‘snake’ as well as ‘spring’, as per folk etymology, ‘Nila Nag’ also means ‘Blue Spring’. There is also a small lake sharing this name situated in a valley between two spurs descending from the Pir Panchal range.
 Vyeth = The local name for River Jhelum; classically, also known as Vitasta.
 Sona Batt = A renowned Kashmiri rubab-nawaz or rubab-player from Kreer Pattan village in Baramulla district, who regaled the audience of Radio Kashmir with his matchless performances.
 Rubab = A lute-like traditional Kashmiri musical instrument originally from Afghanistan. It derives its name from the Arab rebab which means "played with a bow" but the Central Asian instrument is plucked, and is distinctly different in construction.
 Rishi Vaer = ‘Garden of Rishis’, a name given to the Kashmir valley since ancient times due to the multitude of saints living there.
 Dilawar = Bravehearts, the name given to Kashmiris who criticized the usurping and taking away of local treasure — comprising of precious metals and stones and priceless pieces of art — by the Mughal emperor Akbar. Thereafter, in Kashmiri language, the word mogul became synonymous with ‘one who is cruel’ and the pejorative terms poga mogul or shikas mogul refer to ‘one who destroys’ or ‘one who impoverishes’ respectively.
 Tsrar-i-Shareef or Chrar-e-Shareef = The tomb of 14th century Kashmiri Sufi saint Hazrat Sheikh Noor-u-din Noorani (Nunda Rishi), which got razed in a fierce encounter between Indian troops and the Mujahideen led by Major Mast Gul, a Pakistani militant, in 1995.
 Ghaus-ul-Azam = Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani (1077–1166 CE), an Islamic religious figure, teacher, preacher and writer. Muslims of the Indian subcontinent call him "Ghaus-ul-Azam", and in Kashmir, he is also known as “Dastageer Sahib.” The 200-year-old shrine of Dastageer Sahib at Khanyar in old Srinagar city was an epitome of Kashmir architecture embellished with ornate Khatamband ceilings and elaborate carvings with grand chandeliers adorning the main prayer hall. The shrine was gutted in a mysterious fire in June 2012.
 Amrit = Ambrosia, or the drink of immortality. A popular legend has it that when the 14th century Sufi saint Shiekh Noor-ud-Din (Nunda Rishi) was born, he refused the milk of his mother. Lalleshwari (Lalla Ded), a great Shaivite mystic poetess, arrived suddenly and addressed the saint-in-making thus: “Ashamed you were not to be born, yet ashamed you are to suckle from a breast!” Nanda Rishi had instantly suckled from Lalla Ded’s breast, which, of course, had no milk. This was considered as a symbolic transmission of mystical powers and Nunda Rishi is considered a direct ‘inheritor’ of Lalla Ded’s syncretic tradition.
 Arinimaal was an 18th century Kashmiri poetess and ‘Naiku’ was her husband. It is said that Arinimaal was married in her childhood to Munshi Bhawani Dass Kachroo, a respected person in the Afghan court. His Persian poems, entitled “Bahar-i-Tavil” is considered a significant contribution to Persian language and he wrote under the nom de plume 'Naiku'. Arinimaal’s married life was blissful, until her husband ‘Naiku’, under bad influence, deserted her. Arinimaal became dejected and took to writing sad poetry, expressing her loved for her estranged husband. It is said that eventually, in old age, ‘Naiku’ realised that he had been unkind to his wife and decided to be with her again. When he reached her village, however, he saw that her dead body was being carried away for cremation.
 Habba Khatun was a 16th century Muslim poetess from Kashmir. Her story is that of a peasant girl named ‘Zooni’ who came to marry Yusuf Shah Chak, who later became ruler of Kashmir, after which she was called Habba Khatun. However, their happiness did not last long. The Mughal emperor Akbar came into prominence in Delhi, and he called Yusuf Shah there. In 1579, Yusuf Shah was compelled to go to Delhi, where Akbar had him arrested and kept in prison in Bihar. Poor Habba Khatun was separated from Yusuf Shah. The songs of Habba Khatun are full of the sorrow of separation. After her came Arinimaal, who also sang mournful lyrics.