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The Mystic and the Lyric

Four Women Poets from Kashmir

Neerja Mattoo (Translated by)


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For the first time, The Mystic and the Lyric brings together the classic work of four women poets from Kashmir who have shaped its literary imagination: Lalded, Habba Khatun, Arnimal, and Rupa Bhavani. These women inhabit not just the collective memory of Kashmiris and Kashmir but are part of the land’s living oral tradition. Folk singers begin their performances with Lalded’s vaakhs (quatrains). Arnimal’s pain of unrequited love and Khatun’s complaints about her in-laws are ironic wedding vatsans or songs. Bhavani’s sites of meditation are now shrines where her vaakhs are chanted in annual celebrations. Central to the shaping of both the mystic and the lyric traditions of Kashmiri poetry, the work of these poets is unknown outside Kashmir. In this collection, Neerja Mattoo’s elegant translations introduce new readers to the beautiful living oral tradition of Kashmiri lyric poetry and give these revolutionary women the recognition they richly deserve.

Zubaan Books, 9789385932717, 250pp.

Publication Date: November 30, 2019

About the Author

Neerja Mattoo taught English at Government College for Women in Srinagar, India. She is chief editor of the quarterly Kashmiri journal Miraas.