South and Central Asian Editorial Consultancy (SCAEC)

we build bridges through words

The Song of the Dead

Eisha Sarkar

International Writing Program 2016, The University of Iowa, USA

The Song of the Dead

The faces, the places

The many races

Speeches, lectures

Many campuses

Across the oceans

I travelled so far

A student, a learner

Of customs, habits

My two degrees

An exemplary record

I could have landed

A job in a law firm

Then came a call

From my ‘home’

A tug at my heart

I returned to Kabul

A city in ruins

I gathered the pieces:

The detritus of war

I watched the young:

Eyes full of hope

Then came the desire

To rebuild a nation

My tool in hand:

A good education

And so I taught

Classes and classes

Building a nation

From its pieces

Then one day

I heard the ‘crackers

A celebration of sorts,

I smiled and thought

I walked to the window

And saw those men

“This ain’t the crackers,”

I told my students

They worried, they texted

The door pushed open

The students screamed

Entered a gunman

I tried to speak

He pulled the trigger

I fell down, ’twas all over

Twelve dead, they counted

An attack on education

In a disturbed nation

Don’t mourn our deaths

I tell you, students

Pick up your pens

Open your minds

Build a strong nation.

On August 24, 2016, terrorists attacked the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) in Kabul. Desperate students used social media to ask for help. My friends lost a couple of very well-educated friends in those attacks. I created this piece based on the profiles of some of the people who were killed that night. The country needs to reconcile this tragedy and move ahead towards a stronger future.



The Rope of Hope
Hold one end and throw the other
Pull through the silver lining.

by Adesh, Yvonne & Eisha
Made in the HaikuJAM app

The Lady And Her Red Lips

She pouted, the cameras clicked
all focus on red lips
nobody noticed the bruises!

‘The lady and her red lips’
by Eisha, PJ & Saurabh
Made in the HaikuJAM app

Training program for young journalists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Journalists ages 16 to 29 from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan can participate in this training.

The International Debate Educational Association in Central Asia (IDEA CA) is accepting applications for its program “Young people as a basis for a democratic future,” which will be held Sept. 25 to Oct. 8 near the lake of Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan. Deadline for applications in Sept. 7.

Training topics include citizen journalism, reportage photography, advocacy and more. The language of the program is Russian.

More information here

The Little Girl

Eisha Sarkar

International Writing Program 2016, The University of Iowa, USA

A little girl of ten
With pretty brown eyes
In a field of flowers
That smell so nice!

Sounds of laughter
Fill the spring air
The little girl of ten
Has wind in her hair.

At the edge of the farm
In a small mud-hut
The little girl of ten
Sits with her mother.

A brand new dress
All red and shiny
The little girl all made-up
Oh, she looks so pretty!

Then her mother
Takes her to a chamber
A strange old man
Sits beside her.

She watches her father
Ready to bless her
The strange old man
Holds her hand.

On a bed of flowers
In a house not her own
The little girl of ten
Sits all alone.

Then comes the stranger
As old as her father
The little girl of ten
Cries for her mother.

Her vacant eyes
Her hidden bruises
A little girl of ten,
And her lost innocence.

Child marriage is unfortunately common in large parts of the developing world from Africa to Latin America, from the Middle East, South and Central Asia to Oceania. Girls in their pre-teens are often betrothed to men decades older to them. What follows the wedding is an end to their education, the loss of childhood and a life of abuse.


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