What does Aleppo mean now!

When Aleppo fell the last week (or was liberated, from the viewpoint of Assad regime and his supporters), emotions ran high and verbal duels ensued.

Arguments and counter-arguments were presented, examples were cited, evidences were thrown at, and all this by those who weren’t Syrian, or for that matter Arab, but Kashmiris – non-stakeholders, in the conflict studies terms. What was my position on the issue? I sought out a genuine answer. But even when I had a position – whether informed or uninformed – I was a little hesitant to share it publicly. While I would like to believe it had nothing to do with my fear of upsetting certain friends and acquaintances, but I am afraid that would not be completely true. But even then that was not the entire story either.

Though I have had a bad experience of displeasing and eventually losing few friends because of my explicit and vocal position on Kashmir, on Aleppo, or on Syria for that matter, my silence was more to do with my reluctant, though partially successful, attempt to cultivate a sense of disinterestedness in other “problems”. I remember a casual conversation with my teacher at IUST back in 2009 in which he said and I paraphrase that we Kashmiris have a curious tendency to get too emotionally involved in other conflicts – he cited Palestine as an example – and in the process invite too much burden on our minds which should be in clear and consistent focus on our own problem, a huge and historical problem.

I know this may sound strange and may even seem a morally and ethically undesirable, and outrageous, position to seek, but this attempt of disinterestedness is a process I am reluctantly experimenting with, as a way of both retaining sanity in the prevailing quagmire and becoming unencumbered of a burden which I think is not needed when my own – and my people’s – position is already too heavily saddled with an onerous responsibility; there is big and long fight to fight in one’s own backyard.

Whether I support or not any side of the Syrian conflict is immaterial; it won’t make any tangible difference at all; not in the least through social media. Inevitably, Assad and his allies will fight and his opponents will not give up either; Syria, unfortunately, has defied all theories of stalemate, and whatever could have provided a way out.

Moreover, any position taken vis-a-vis any conflict is essentially governed by self-interest; that is a hard fact, if not the human nature. Therefore, positions of involved nation-states and parties in relation to the Syrian conflict are largely determined by this reasoning. Now, what can possibly influence the nation-states to not pursue their self-interests? I haven’t got an answer yet to this troubling question.

All I have to offer is a nebulous expression on the prevailing situation: Aleppo is two things: an event and a metaphor; Aleppo is a metaphor for our times: of everything which is wrong about our times; Aleppo as an event is a cruel chapter in the checkered history of humanity – and perhaps, an empirical reiteration for those who tend to believe that larger violence begets larger victory!

As the event has reached its tragic climax in the second week of December, it has already laid bare the whole gamut of contrived narratives and consequently whipped up and locked in tension emotions far and wide: on the one hand have sectarian biases masquerading as political pragmatism and on the other hand are ideological partialities; and yet, in between all this, outraged voices spar with the curious cases of political correctness. Like the incredible bramble-like war-scape of Syria itself, reactions to it eventually cast light on our own human frailties; as Hobbes wrote: “For such is the nature of man, that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned; Yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves: For they see their own wit at hand, and other men’s at a distance.” (Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes; 1651)


First published in the Greater Kashmir on 23 December 2016: http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/opinion/what-does-aleppo-mean-now/236889.html



Ye dil dil-e-veeran hai to kya

Sholoon ka hangaam bi hai

Umeed-e-roz-e-adl rakhta hai musalsal

Waad-e-sehar ka paigaam bi hai

Be-lagaam parvezi, be-khayaal sarkashi

Harm-e-jazbaat me haseen jam bi hai

Kabhi tareekiyoon me muqafil khayaloon ka bikharna

Payambar to hai, thoda naqaam bi hai

Jo bikharta hai to barq-e-larzaan ki tarah

Ye dil daar-e-jazba-e-benaam bi hai

Lamhoon ke guzar jaane ke baad, Firaz

Sehar-e-halchal ko talaash-e-shaam bi hai

Lau-e-ishq hai dil jalta hai khursheed ki tarah

Deed-e-har suu hai par na-tamaam bi hai


19 Nov 2016; 10:50 pm



For the ease of understanding, i am attaching word meanings below:

Dil-e-veeran: desolate heart
 Sholoon ka hangaam: place/season of flames
 Roz-e-adl: day of justice
 Musalsal: continuous
 Waad-e-sehar: promise of dawn
 Be-lagaam parvezii: unfettered flight
 Bekhayaal sarkashi: unmindful rebellion
 Haram-e-jazbaat: sacred sanctuary of emotions
 Haseen jaam: elegant wine glass (goblet)
 Tereekiyon me muqqfil: locked in the chains of darkness
 Payambar: messenger
 Barq-e-larzaan: shimmering lights
 Daar: abode
 Jazba-e-benaam: nameless emotion
 Sehar-e-halchal: dawn of stir/tumult
 Lau-e-ishq: flame of love
 Khursheed: the sun
 Deed-e-har suu: all seeing eye
 Na-tamaam: incomplete


Pur-asraar Mohabatein


Aye, Jhelum, aye shahid-e-daryeena

Aye mourikh-e-behshit-e-gum-naseeb


Teri nazar se guzri hai har door ki fizayein

To bata ki dor-e-haazir ki kaifiyaat kya hai


Tere kinare tumne dekhi hongay

Jawano ki wo ajeeb si toliyaan

Jo mehez sang-e-himayat ke aslah lekar

Ajnabi mujahidoon ke liye,

Aamad aate hai, purasrar safiino.n ki tarah

Un mujahidoon ke liye

Jo karvaan-e-justaju ke mehmaan bi hai,

Jo andheeron me basar karte hai apna safar-e-mukhtasar

Jinke nishan-e-hayat ahd o piamaan bi hai


Kya tumne bi sune hai un jawanoo

Ke larazte hasratoon ke bol

Harf-e-ah-o-gum ki mehfilein


Kya tumne bi dekhi hai

Un jawano ke sulagte dard ki chingariyan

Unki jurrat-e-aarizoo ki wusatein


Kya tumne bi kabhi mehsoos ki hai

Wafa se labreez unki mohabatein,

Wo mohabtein jo purasraar hai saari mohabatoon me.



10 December 2016