Tag: Kashmir

August 7, 2018 /

The Bakarwal tribe is a Muslim nomadic pastoral tribe in Jammu and Kashmir also found in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is one such tribe which is facing numerous challenges which are posing a threat not only to their livelihood but also puts into question their existence. Following is an interview conducted on a pleasant evening as part of my study on the tribe exploring the lives of Bakarwals, a tribe which came into the limelight after the Kathua rape case.

July 18, 2018 /

On 16th of July, 2018 some of the news portals in Kashmir Valley published a letter from Abdul Manan Wani, member of the resistance group – Hizbul Mujahideen. Mr. Manan was a research scholar from one of the prestigious universities in India and was in news some months back when news channels flashed ‘scholar turned militant’ in the headlines. Within no time the letter was taken down from the virtual space from by the State authorities and the police were quick to start legal action against the web-portals who had published this letter.

June 25, 2018 /

A day before Eid, a Twitter storm with the hashtag #InquireKashmirKillings erupted. Notwithstanding the pall of gloom caused by the killing of respected editor- in-chief of Rising Kashmir, Shujat Bukhari by unknown gunmen on the very day that the report by the UN on the situation in Kashmir vis-a-vis human rights was released, Kashmiris hurled themselves into battle.

June 18, 2018 /

The image she shows me on her laptop shows smears of blood on the floor, discarded clothing and prayer mats at one corner of the corridor. No action. No people. But Sanna Irshad Mattoo, one of Kashmir’s growing bunch of women photo-journalists, conveys the potential of objects and belongings to bear “witness”. The inanimate speaks out of the terrible violence that stains, not just the hospital floor, but, as the hashtgag suggests one that has permeated the soul of Kashmir.

April 23, 2018 /

what does the Indian left-liberal solidarity choose to do differently about a people who, one can argue, are doubly colonized? They choose to express their ‘desire’ for the “beautiful woman” by exporting a girl, who faces multiple hierarchies of oppression besides the double colonization of her community, to their mainland and call her “another Nirbhaya” or “India’s daughter”. They stress that Aasifa’s rape and murder is an ‘issue of humanity’. By deliberately trying to erase the specificity of the case, they are obfuscating their complicity in the crimes the Indian state has committed in Kashmir in their name for all these years.

April 9, 2018 /

In response to Sunday’s events, the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) in Kashmir gave a call for a solidarity march to Shopian on April 3. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who continues to be a part of the JRL along with senior leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, too hoped to march this time. The government had recently announced his release from a seven-year-long house detention after his resignation as the TeH chief. As Geelani slowly walked towards the gate of his party residence, he found it closed. Peeping out through a small window in the door, he asked the armed personnel stationed outside to open the gate. When they refused citing “orders” Geelani quipped: “Darwaaza kholo, tumhari jamhooriyat ka jinaza nikal raha hai…hindustan ki jamhooriyat ka… uska jinaaza nikal raha hai… Open the door, the funeral of your democracy is leaving… Of India’s democracy…here goes its funeral!”

March 3, 2018 /

Around 00:05 on February 19 2018, Indian armed forces shot dead Syed Habibullah after he allegedly “tried to enter the high security Air Force Station” in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district. The police spokesman said that the man, in his fifties, “appeared to be mentally challenged”—he was not wearing any footwear, had no winter clothing, and did not carry any identity card. Those who knew him told media-persons that “he used to roam from once place to another, not because he was mentally challenged but because he was distressed with extreme penury.” He was laid to rest in his native village of Soibug amidst pro-freedom slogans and clashes with the government forces.
 The name Habibullah translates as ‘the beloved of God.’

February 23, 2018 /

On a cold day, some 27 years ago, Juma Sheikh, chowkidar of the twin hamlets of Kunan and Poshpora, Kupwara district in Kashmir, approached tehsildar Sikandar Malik with a letter written in Urdu signed and supported by thumb prints of the villagers. In elaborate and formal language the letter detailed the horrific ordeal of sexual violence and torture that they had suffered on the intervening night of February 23 and 24 at the hands of 4 Rajputana Rifles that had come in for a cordon and search. The victims reportedly ranged from a 60 year old woman to a 14 year old girl and a pregnant woman nearing full term. The men were not spared. Herded outside in the snow to makeshift interrogation centres they were subjected to various forms of torture like having chilli powder rubbed on the genitals or subjected to electric shocks in their private parts.

June 17, 2017 /

A day ahead of the India Pakistan match, when Indian media, publicity hungry cricketers and showbiz stars are all over spitting their Indian nationalist bile, Chalukyan G, a Chennai based graphic designer wrote a fan mail on Facebook to Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi. His fan mail did not just touch upon sporting matters but also laid out in detail the hypocrisy of Indian nationalist rhetoric. To his surprise, Afridi replied and unlike cricketers like Sehawg, he said “Let the best team win,”

June 14, 2017 /

Those who have not been around academic circles, have not heard of General Dyer, not watched The Namesake, nor confused Partha Chatterjee with his namesake, might be wondering what the fuss about Professor Partha Chatterjee is about. Parthada recently referred to the justification of using a human shield by the Indian Army in Kashmir as the General Dyer moment of the independent Indian state’s army.

May 19, 2017 /

Young Kashmiri women know the public space is theirs to keep and rightly so. When they raise their middle finger at the occupation, their heads are held high in knowing that standing up to oppression in all forms of expression does not diminish their dignity. It is clear that these women do not need to be called from the Masjid pulpits, but that they have arrived of their own accord. And they have come to stay.

April 17, 2017 /

Among nationalists in India, who have wet dreams of global “superpower” and watch over and over videos of “Indian weapons” and “most powerful militaries” on the YouTube, seeing images of those arms and men being reduced to a barbaric spectacle against an unarmed people produces a dispiriting dissonance. “Indian man” has fantasized a genocide for long. In its eyes, a genocide has a metonymic association with “national will.” This fantasy is now a metastasized desire to act like the US in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as ISIS in Syria. They want Indian military to kill without any compunction: “kill 1000 of them for our one;” “drop MOABs on them;” and “take Kashmiri women as slaves.”

February 17, 2017 /

For long, Kashmiris have been captivated by the power of photography. But why? Why have so many of the world’s greatest geniuses with the camera produced some of their best work in Kashmir? Is it the unique tragicomedy of spectacular natural beauty and a gruesome conflict that has consumed generations? Why are there so many good photojournalists and photographers in Kashmir and why is their number on the rise?

January 24, 2017 /

On January 21, 2017, early morning an everyday Kashmiri feminist died quietly in her sleep [this “her” is a typo, but I prefer to leave it here; for if anything he always felt it was an honor to be a woman] after few bedridden years, which he absolutely hated. This was also the first ever, I had seen my maternal grandfather Gulam Ahmed Lone, who I call Daddy like everyone else in the family, cower before life a little. Even asking the universe to let him go rather than for wellness. He thought he had lived it all, and ended if not the best but still a little better.

December 27, 2016 /

In 2016 – RAIOT became a Kashmiri word. Maybe it was the accidental cartography of India making Shillong share Instrument of Accession with Srinagar or just accidents of friendships, whatever be the reason – RAIOT had some of the key texts about Kashmiri Azadi uprising of 2016. Just a sample for your holiday reading.

November 25, 2016 /

We, twenty five citizens of India, representing people’s movements, women’s organisations, trade unions, human rights organisations, youth organisations and individuals who are journalists, writers and filmmakers, from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha and Tamil Nadu, visited Kashmir from 11 to 20 November 2016 with the objective of understanding first-hand, from ordinary people and civil society, the situation of the peoples of the Kashmir Valley that has emerged over the past four-and-half months since the killing of three Hizbul Mujahideen militants, Burhan Wani, Sartaj Sheikh and Pervaiz Lashkari by the Indian Army and J&K Police on 8 July 2016.

November 23, 2016 /

I was in my fourth grade in 1990, the year when Kashmir shut for 198 days, then for 207 days in 1991, 148 in 1992 and 139 in 1993, and so on. I grew up in all those tough long years. All my life I have lived here in Kashmir through the thick and thin of the situation. I grew up in curfews, crackdowns, identification parades; through the menace of the omnipresent bunkers and at the mercy of the fingers always ready on the triggers of SLRs. And throughout this time, I was educated to see, experience, understand and realise where the truth of the circumstances lay. All the young outstanding artists, doctors, engineers, lecturers, journalists and other achievers we have today have all grown up through the same troubled ’90s, the decade that saw the severest of curfews, shutdowns and crackdowns.

November 10, 2016 /

If you have been following Kashmir these days, Khurram Parvez’s name must have surely hit your screens. You may have even seen some funky graphics with FREE KHURRAM floating about.screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-11-53-10-pm But who is Khurram Parvez? Why are people in Kashmir getting all worked up about his detention? For those of us not clued into the Kashmir question, answer is, Don’t Know. So when we received STATE versus Khurram Parvez pdf from Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society – we were thrilled. So in a spirit of curiosity we offer the pdf for DOWNLOAD.

October 19, 2016 /

Why does a certain kind of activism or activists get more visibility? What is it an ‘activity’ that makes an ‘activist visible’ or a visible ‘audience’ that makes an activist? And what of activism does a ‘visible audience’ endorse? Often the commodification and marketing create a hierarchy of activism? Activism has a peculiarity that it inserts the particular interventions in a way which implicitly amplify and silence the varied dimensions of the complexities of a conflict like Kashmir issue. This article in no way demeans the work done by them but presents before a reader the nuances and complexities surrounding the politics of visibility.

September 16, 2016 /

“Khurram Parvez, in the front-row of human rights defenders in Jammu and Kashmir, has been arrested late last night from his home just down-street from Gupkar, the street the cream of collaborators, including Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, live and breath in. Khurram had just returned home after immigration authorities had stopped him from travelling to Geneva to attend the United Nations Human Rights session.
At Srinagar, Khurram works with the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). The group is criticised by large sections of Kashmiri society for inserting themselves at a very mild point in the political discourse in Kashmir. People are frustrated that JKCCS’s focus on mere human rights abuse (which people believe, rather mistakenly, rarely includes the right to self-determination) distracts from the main issue of azadi from Indian occupation. “

September 9, 2016 /

India’s Kashmir experts have, like in the past, tried to attribute the “anger on the streets” to various reasons and they believe and want every Indian to believe that only these reasons make a Kashmiri angry. We need not go back into the history to know how Indian public opinion has been shaped by these Kashmir experts as their association or one may say obsession with Kashmir is so deep that they produce enough evidence for us to analyse that. Here we will talk only about the work these Kashmir experts produced this year.

September 6, 2016 /

In the week spanning from 29 August to 5 September, a total of eighty public meetings/rallies were held across all districts of Kashmir among which government forcibly disrupted 36 rallies, using extensive of force against the assembled people; shelling with bullets, tear gas shells and pellets. The government forces, in many instances, vandalized the venue of these pro-freedom rallies, set ablaze the tents and threw away the food items which were cooked by local organizers for the participants of the rallies. The rest of the rallies went on peacefully. This clearly shows that the 44 protest programs/rallies which were organized in the last week remained completely peaceful and no stone pelting was witnessed in these rallies, while as the 36 rallies where Indian forces used violence to vandalize the already set up venues and desist the participants from attending the programs, has resulted in clashes in which around 1215+ people have been injured.

September 2, 2016 /

We are writing to you to express our concern about the situation in Indian-controlled Kashmir where the already subjected population is currently living in a state of siege due to the massive violence unleashed by the Indian forces. We appreciate your decision to create a fact-finding mission and deplore the refusal of the Indian government to allow access to UN human rights monitors. In the absence of such a mission, we feel it incumbent upon civil society groups to provide regular updates on the situation.

September 1, 2016 /

Popular mass movement is “mindless terrorism” and Kashmiris are a flock of “instigated” sheep in “bucolic valley”, devoid of all agency. Keywords like Insaniyat (Humanity), Jamhooriyat (Democracy) and Kashmiriyat etc. are thrown carefully at the supposed ‘inhumanity’ and ‘autarchy’ of the self-determination struggle of Kashmiris.

August 26, 2016 /

Kashmir has historically since Nineteen Forty-Seven been a site of territorial claims between the two nations, India and Pakistan; in such contested claims history in itself has become a site marking these contestations. The history of Forty Seven has been written from a certain vantage point constructing a particular kind of history and memory associated with it. The story of Forty-Seven told and retold over the years with tribal invasion being ‘The Event’ has shaped the history with almost a complete erasure of what happened earlier and what followed next. As a student of history I feel a dire need to free Forty Seven from the baggage of the ‘Tribal Invasion’ story which has more of less sabotaged the history of the state, question the politics of silencing the ‘unfamiliar histories and memories’ associated with it.

August 19, 2016 /

Another young man comes home from work on his scooter
He is an atm teller and Supports his large family
His brothers wedding is next week
He is found with 300 pellets in his body, every organ is ruptured
they had carried him to the side of the road, to pass it off as an accident
But blood leaves its trail

India, this is your democracy.

August 11, 2016 /

In the present day world-order and given the historical perspective, can Independent Kashmir [IK] exist? Moreover, regarding the small area and population of the region, will it be practical? Given the poor educational status, the IK could be a breeding ground for ‘Islamic Jihadist’. And the much talked about issues are: security, land locked region, economic dependency and many more which are often raised. The most obvious question to be followed should be: Is an Independent Kashmir practical and a viable solution? Let’s examine it through various dimensions:

August 6, 2016 /

Numbness doesn’t go away. It’s suffocating to hear the loud proclamations of news anchors on Indian TV channels, describing it as a victory for its ‘jawans’. I want to get rid of this suffocation. I ask a friend to meet me outside. We meet and proceed towards Jamia Masjid. People are slowly assembling at the square. It’s a mass of people. The mass palpitates with anger; a subdued anger of the sort a martyr’s death evokes. Slogans pierce the tense air.

July 31, 2016 /

While the real sangbaaz are busy heroically fighting one of the mightiest armies in the world and their local stooges, some “unknown elements”, allegedly J&K Police Sangbaaz Association in collaboration with IB Stonepelters League, have been busy putting up fake posters in some localities in Srinagar to bring disrepute to the sangbaaz by showing them as misogynistic etc.
We made a few additional posters to demonstrate the name of the game. Check ’em out.

July 29, 2016 /

While walking the streets of Kashmir even on a usual day but especially in the month of Ramazan, you can’t help but juxtapose two stark Indian presences. One is that of the Indian soldiers patrolling or bunker bound – brandishing their guns, poised and ready. Second is the iconic face of the Indian panhandler – dusty, beseeching, and tired. The military a symbol of India’s physical and ruthless prowess while the panhandler, a manifestation of a deep-set, endemic poverty of its viscera. India’s poorest of the poor, the panhandlers manifest a specific kind, almost laudable type of professionalism, which the Indian military has failed at instituting and which should be the wont of any occupying force.

July 28, 2016 /

In his unpublished memoir, Pandit Rughonath Vaishnavi writes that it was clear that Kashmiris had been “relegated to the position of slaves” after India gained its independence. “Kashmiri freedom fighters were lifted during the darkness of the night and kicked into dark cells without knowing the grounds of their imprisonment.” Pt. Vaishnavi was himself jailed seven times for his steadfast commitment to the Kashmiri right of self-determination. Along with some of his supporters he was jailed under the most brutal conditions and ordered several times to cease his political activities.

July 22, 2016 /

People were returning from their regular chores, when the news that the famous Kashmiri local rebel who had turned to militancy at the age of 15, had been killed in an encounter near Kokernag, 15 kms away from district Anantnag. People in long chains came out from their houses, leaving the comfortable life aside, with sloganeering “Burhan tera khoon sa inqilab aayega” just to mourn the death of their hero who had become an icon for many youths across valley.