DESPARDES — Why did the English rock band Led Zeppelin sing Kashmir –its the most globe-crushingly colossal moment? The lyrics were written in 1973 immediately after Led Zeppelin’s 1973 US tour. The song was first sung in 1975.
And, what does the song Kashmir mean? “The whole inspiration came from the fact that the road went on and on and on…it basically looked like you were driving down a channel, this dilapidated road, and there was seemingly no end to it”.
Although named after Kashmir, none of the group members had visited the disputed area. Instead, lyricist Plant was inspired during a drive through a desolate desert area of southern Morocco (West Africa). That’s 7,583 km west of Kashmir (South Asia) by crow’s flight.
As Led Zeppelin’s vocalist, Robert Plant, recalled years later: “It was an amazing piece of music to write to, and an incredible challenge for me,”. “The whole deal of the song is… not grandiose, but powerful: it required some kind of epithet or abstract lyrical setting about the whole idea of life being an adventure…”
Kashmir over several decades has become one of the world’s heaviest militarized area, a nuclear flashpoint, and under lockdown for 10 months –since August 2019. An analyst calls the disputed Himalayan valley ground zero of a new world order — climate change notwithstanding –some 560+ glaciers are said to be melting in the region.
Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face
Stars fill my dream
I’m a traveler of both time and space
To be where I have been
Sit with elders of the gentle race
This world has seldom seen
They talk of days for which they sit and wait
All will be revealed
Talk in song in tongues of lilting grace
Sounds caress my ear
There are not a word I heard could I relate
Story was quite clear
Oh yeah I been flyin’
Love oh ain’t no denyin’, no
Oh, ooh yea, I been flyin’
Mama, mama, ain’t no denyin’, no denyin’
All I see turns to brown
As the sun burns the ground
And my eyes fill with sand
As I scan this wasted land
Try to find, try to find what I feel
Oh, pilot of the storm who leaves no trace
Like thoughts inside a dream
Heed the path that led me to that place, yellow desert stream
My Shangri-La beneath the summer moon, I will return again
Sure as the dust that floats high in June, when movin’ through Kashmir
Oh, father of the four winds, fill my sails, across the sea of years
With no provision but an open face, along the straits of fear
When I’m on, when I’m on my way, yeah
When I see, when I see the way, you stay-yeah
Tryin’ to find, tryin’ to find where I been yeah, yeah
Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, when I’m down
Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, well I’m down
Ooh, let me take you there
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan (legendary cricketer-turned-politician) says India is planning a false flag (again) in Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, and an unfinished agenda of the British-led partitioning of the sub-continent post World War II.
With input from Irshad Salim