“Dapaan” — Folkloric Kashmiri term that starts a tale

by Rafiq Kathwari

Dapaan, Rama saw Sita bathing nude in Sitaharan, a spring near the Line of Control in Kashmir. It was lust at first sight. Dapaan, the demon king Ravana abducted Sita to Sri Lanka to avenge a previous wrong. Rama flew in anger south to Sri Lanka in his glitzy winged chariot. Dapaan, the chariot was Made in Prehistoric India, using indigenous materials. Dapaan, Hanuman, the son of Vayu, god of the wind, steered the chariot. Dapaan, clouds cloaked the chariot to foil discovery by enemy radar. Dapaan, Rama shot a divine arrow which pierced Ravana in the heart and killed him. Dapaan, Rama flew Sita back to Sitaharan where they lived happily until India partitioned herself, tearing apart 15 million souls, the largest migration of people in modern history.

Dapaan, Hindutva has been weaponized to impose mythology upon history to create Greater India — Akhund Baharat, united and undivided Hindu Rashtra from Afghanistan to Myanmar. Dapaan, Kashmir strikes at the heart of this nirvana because of its Muslim majority.

Dapaan, every Summer the army shields thousands of Hindu pilgrims who spread the legs of a virgin glacier in Kashmir to worship Shiva’s icy lingam thawing in a cave — daring an ecological disaster. Dapaan, Hindutva is a pandemic.

Dapaan, Neanderthals of Nagpur are marching in Kashmir to the drumbeat of Hindutva supremythology: gharwapsi, zaminjihad, lovejihad to herald acche din. Dapaan, fascists clasp opposite concepts to serve their own puffery. Dapaan, Kashmiris will be told to hold the scalpel for their own execution to chill the blood of Neanderthals.

Dapaan, prepare for the moment when history throws up a rainbow over the Zabarvan. Rainbows are ephemeral. Preparedness is everything. When they ask, Azadi ka matlab kya? Shout out loud — Jamhooriya, Jamhooriya. Dapaan, poets will be caged because poetry is the fuel of Azadi.


  • gharwapsi: return home — (to Kashmir of Hindu myths)
  • zaminjihad: The East India Company sold Kashmir to the Rajput Dogras who enslaved Kashmiris for over 100 years. Sheikh Abdullah, with a swirl of his fountain pen, deemed tillers owners of land they till, freed Kashmiris from serfdom, made peasants landowners, zamindars, earned the honorific, ‘Lion of Kashmir.’ This scared India’s suave socialist prime minister, Pandit Nehru, and his inner circle of prominent and privileged Kashmiri pandits. They exiled the Sheikh for nearly 20 years.
  • Zabarvan: Foothills of the Himalayas that ring the Vale of Kashmir
  • lovejihad: Hindutva drive to wage war at love between young Muslims and Hindus
  • acche din: Good days
  • Azadi: Liberty
  • Azadi ka matlab kya: What does liberty mean?
  • Jamhooriya, Jamhooriya: Democracy, Democracy.