Written by Alex Michael Binoy
I was walking back to the hostel in Pune University after dinner one evening. On the way, I saw a lamp next to a wall. It was emitting a faint green light. It reminded me of my childhood. In our town, we got electricity three days a week, from 5 pm to 10pm. On other days, we used to light kerosene lamps at night. That memory of my childhood made me want to write these poems,” says Huzaifa Pandit, who has published a book of poems called Green is the Colour of Memory and recited from it in Pune recently.
Born and raised in Kashmir, Pandit has many poems that recall his time at Pune University in 2012. One of these, Getting Lost in Pune, is about his experiences of staying in a strange land and not knowing the language. A consistent strain of his writing are about the Valley. “Green means ‘permanent’. When we say green, we are saying ‘ever’. My idea is that these memories — of killings that I have seen and funerals I have attended — should not die with me. I don’t want those memories to fade away,” he says.
Speaking about how poems and literature can be an effective tool of protest, Pandit adds, “If poetry were not a useful means of resistance, why would people in power be afraid of poets? Why would they arrest a poet? Why would they try to curb literature?” says Pandit, who has had poems and papers published in several journals.