And here lived, beneath the receding waters of Mangla, my people, once upon a time.
As her waters recede, and the green grass shimmers in the full glory of the sun,
we are taken back to the memories of our forebears, only just buried in our minds.
If you pay attention, amidst the eerie silence of her hills, you can hear children play,
enthralled by the smiles of elders, whose sons and daughters ploughed the fields.
And if you close your eyes, you might just see them breaking bread as nightfall falls,
in homage to the labours of pious sustenance, they share memories of a past long gone.
And then they go to sleep, another night, another dawn, to repeat yesterday’s morrow.

Oh Mangla, what have you done to those vibrant villages and bustling market towns?
Panjab has her electricity; her Plains have their fertility, Officialdom has its royalties.
But we, the orphans of Mangla, scions of the soil, have dispersed, our hearts broken;
from the hills and mountains of our ancestral homeland, the breeze continues to flow.
As we wake up in the land of plenty, in the land of the free, we feel the easterly winds,
Mangla calls her dispersed children, she whispers in the Pahari tongue, hearts beat again.
From the loins of a forgotten people, of an age long passed, a seed now grows again.
From the old mill towns of England, to the offices of the South, the journey home begins

17 June 2018

A poem dedicated to the peoples of Jammu & Kashmir; to our elders and forebears, whose ancestral graveyards lie buried deep under the waters of Mangla.  

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Blogger at Portmir Foundation; liberal by values, opposed to tribalism in all its guises; love languages and cultures – want to study as many as I can; proficient in some; opposed to social and political injustice wherever it rears its ugly head even from within my own British-Pahari community (a little unsure about the juxtaposition. The term ‘Pahari’ can mean different things to different people – stay posted. Grandparents from the Himalayan mountains of Jammu, presently split between India and Pakistan – get the impression no one cares about the people stuck between the LOC – currently researching the ‘Pahari-cultural-heritage’ outside political and territorial paradigms and the narratives of the political ‘mainstream’. Ultimately, hoping to create a space for members of the British-Pahari community to discover their own wonderful heritage. I believe – ‘life’ is a wok in progress so nothing is fixed even our thoughts! If you’re from the region, feel free to contact me – always prepared to widen my intellectual horizons and stand corrected – don’t insult me though. Be grown up and tell me why you think I’m wrong. If you make sense, I’ll change my views.

My opinions are not necessarily those of the Portmir Foundation; the Foundation does not do censorship; if you disagree with any us, and you’re from our background, write your own opinion piece and we’ll publish it. You can contact us at


  1. touching, and sad, how many of us from jammu kashmir know about the sacrifices made by our grandparents, and great grandparents, who left this area just to survive? tyrannies, famines, wars, this was the life for so many people, so many of them, before us, left for the Panjab, and the North Indian Plains, during the famines of 1870 from Chibhal region and settled there. there were lots of feminine and lots of migrations. then our region became part of Pakistan in 1947, Pakisan built a dam without consulting the people uprooting 300 hundred villages, flooding the lands, so many people didnt even get compensation, others got crappy lands in Multan and other places, u all know the history. we still waiting for the free electricity that was promised. ask ur parents if u dont know what im talking about. this is not about politics, im just saying, how the people got treated, thats all. poor people get treated like this everywhere, so they have to make a life for themselves elsewhere. dont ever forget the sacrifices of your parents and grandparents.

    • Excerpts from Human Rights Watch (Established in 1978, Human Rights Watch is known for its accurate fact-finding, impartial reporting, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy, often in partnership with local human rights groups)

      “A continuing source of political tension between Kashmiris and Pakistan is over the Mangla Dam project, which affects the waters of the Jhelum and Poonch rivers before they flow into Punjab in Pakistan. Particularly affected is the relatively well-off Mirpuri community in Azad Kashmir (see above), which has increasingly felt a sense of discrimination and economic exploitation by Pakistan because of the project. In a 1991 article, Roger Ballard of the U.K.’s Manchester University explained why:

      To Pakistan Mangla is a vital asset which brings many benefits… Mangla is thus critical to the success of the Pakistani economy as a whole. Yet despite the great benefits which Mangla has brought to everyone in Pakistan proper, those unfortunate enough to live immediately upstream of the dam have had… to bear the brunt of its environmental costs.

      The debate around the Mangla Dam, though beyond the scope of this report, is notable because of the central role it has played in shaping the Mirpuri disconnect from Pakistan. Pakistan argues that the construction of the Mangla Dam is a consequence of the 1961 Indus Basin treaty between India and Pakistan with the World Bank acting as guarantor. The Azad Kashmiris, particularly the Mirpuris, argue that water is a Kashmiri natural resource commandeered by the Pakistani state to the disadvantage of Kashmiris. This is a key issue fueling calls for Kashmiri independence. The acrimony over the dam continues in Mirpur as the dam is currently being raised.

      Chaudhary Arif, the convener of the Mangla Dam Action Committee, a protest group formed to demand better compensation for those affected by the Mangla Dam, told Human Rights Watch,

      “Water is our natural resource. Arabs have oil, the Baloch have minerals. Kashmir has water. All of Pakistan uses our water. In the process, there remain acute water shortages in Mirpur from where we can see the dam feeding the palatial homes of Islamabad. Meanwhile, water-borne disease is on the rise in Mirpur and other parts of Kashmir due to scarce water here. We have been uprooted from our homes, not paid adequate compensation and denied royalty while Pakistan and India steal our natural wealth. This is the worst kind of exploitation and colonization”

      Excerpts from (With Friends Like These, (who needs enemies) by The Human Rights Watch, as quoted by Faysal at the Kashmirian Blog;

  2. Dam at Mangla feeding palatial lawns islamabad !! Must be through underground secret pipelines or canals in the sky.

    • Oh the sarcasm of some people, a Pakistani perhaps from Islamabad, you probably live in an apartment, perhaps not a Mansion with palatial lawns – they do exist, lot’s of Mirpuris own them ironically. Yes, Mangla’s waters irrigate the Panjab’s Plains and provides electricity to Islamabad and many other places. Find it in your heart, if it still works, to not become the butt of Pakistani jokes about everything that is wrong with Pakistan.

      Tens of thousands of people lost their homes for this Dam; what did they get in return?


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