Oh my blessed ‘Adra’
A wee child you are and a son all the more
Fortune has bestowed upon you ‘mardiyat
But alas nature has denied you men’s boasts

How cruel are the gods from above and beyond!?

They say, your lad has no tongue!
What do fools know of words antiquity’s old

They say he does not speak!

“Not even a kind word for a damsel in distress”
“He’s is a whimper of soulless caress”

And yet your smile endears you to your little friends
And your presence warms the embrace of cold blizzards

Nature may have denied you a ‘voice’ my son
But she has given you an unfettered soul
That we yearn to see you in play enthralled

“Perhaps his autistic they retort”

Alas we feign words for prejudices old, wicked and cruel
They reduce you to a mere label
But they mean well – such is our love for modern ‘identities’
This, our kinder world!

But you are not a label
And neither must you bend their ear for their solace
No good comes from society’s human mills
Whatever their vogues and fading fashions
Nothing but false hope lies in the imitation of ‘imitators’

Be yourself in the image of your own mind
For nature herself resides in your ways
And your smile will be enough
As your vast soul shall envelope us all
In this great realm of ‘human feats’ and ‘wondrous exploits’

And as you grow old, weak and lonelier
Now conscious of your ‘peculiar’ ways
Unaccustomed to the ever changing fads of your countrymen
Know, you were once the joy of your mother’s permanent gaze
Having redeemed your father of his errant ways


[‘Adra‘ – clan name/branch of the ‘Chauhan’ tribe; used endearingly as a title of endearment’; mardiyat‘ – the state of being male; maleness, masculinity] 

Decades ago, in our community, when a baby boy was born, they would rejoice with sweets. And when a baby girl was born – no sweets, less smiles and more consolations. And I used to think them ‘cruel’ – our forebears, such were their ways – but God bless them for their many virtues, for they had more virtues than vices lest we forget. And then my boy was born, and he was autistic. And I now laugh as people shy away, “oh he’s autistic, no matter” – reduced to a mere label. How fortunate am I that I have seen the stupidity of my peers in my own mirror. We trap our children in their bodies for we have lived all our lives in mental cages. And we never once ask, perhaps we are the one’s that invent the illnesses! It is us, the able bodied, the smart, the wise, the presumptuous that cause all the cruelty.

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Editor 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 info@portmir.org.uk.


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