(WEB RELEASE) Jashn-e-Azadi : How We Celebrate Freedom

Jashn-e-Azadi <How we celebrate freedom>, was one of the first documentaries to engage with the uprising for freedom in Kashmir. Released in 2007, the film has had a chequered screening career. Available for sometime in low resolution versions on Vimeo and Youtube and torrents, we thought it was appropriate that a properly encoded streaming version was available for viewing and we asked Sanjay Kak for the permission. He not only permitted us to encode and upload but also wrote a short note about the film. Film is 2 hours 18 minutes long and has always been screened in two parts with a short intermission. Raiot’s upload follows this form. So watch part 1 and take a break (not too long) and then watch part 2 and try to view it in 480p resolution. To download the video go to http://en.savefrom.net/. Also if you want to download the film, do download it in 480p resolution. For some of the history of reception of this film do visit https://kashmirfilm.wordpress.com/. Raiot Collective

When Jashn-e-Azadi first began circulating in 2007, we were fully conscious of the chill silence within which it would speak up in India (and perhaps the world). What took us by surprise was the unexpected openness with which it was actually received, and the speed with which it was circulated. Viewers did not embrace it as some ultimate truth about Kashmir’s recent history, and we would not have wished for that either. But they saw it as a reading that contested the accepted (and carefully constructed) consensus of events in Kashmir.
There was flak too, mostly from a handful of groups seeking to create a legitimacy for their own limited agendas, trying to muddy the waters where a real  conversation about Kashmir seemed about to happen. There was also a more silent disapproval, this one from an unexpected quarter: the Left/Liberal/Progressive space, those whose commitment to their own ideologies allowed them to transcend what was happening in front of them. The cycle of protests that convulsed Kashmir in 2008 and 2009 and 2010, the years immediately after Jashn-e-Azadi appeared, seemed to confirm many of the unstated ideas of the film. Almost ten years later Kashmir is once more torn apart by protests, and we can ask ourselves the old questions again. But most of all it is a moment to start speaking Kashmir again. Start speaking Kashmir now.


138 mins / Digital Video
Kashmiri/Urdu/English (English subtitles)

written and directed by sanjay kak
photography ranjan palit
edited by tarun bhartiya
sound design madhu apsara

It’s 15th August, India’s Independence day, and the Indian flag ritually goes up at Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar, Kashmir. The normally bustling square is eerily empty– a handful of soldiers on parade, some more guarding them, and except for the attendant media crews, no Kashmiris.

For more than a decade, such sullen acts of protest have marked 15th August in Kashmir, and this is the point from where Jashn-e-Azadi begins to explore the many meanings of Freedom–of Azadi–in Kashmir.

In India, the real contours of the conflict in Kashmir are invariably buried under the facile depiction of an innocent population, trapped between the Terrorist’s Gun and the Army’s Boot. But after 18 years of a bloody armed struggle, after 60,000 civilians dead (and almost 7,000 enforced disappearances), what really is contained in the sentiment for Azadi–for freedom?

Amidst the everyday violence and ever-present fear in Kashmir, there are no easy answers to such questions. Where truth has been an early victim, all language–speech, poetry, even cinema–becomes inadequate to describe what we know and feel here.
So we reshape our curiousity, and point ourselves at what we can see, what we are allowed to see. The film then combines several forms and modes of expression to evoke the past as well as unravel the present:

We are witness to an ageing father in the Martyr’s Graveyard; we are with a group of men as they survey the dead in the mountain villages of Bandipora; we sit quietly in the Out Patients Ward of the Govt Psychiatric Hospital in Srinagar.

But we look elsewhere too, in the satirical farce of Bhand folk performers as they play in a village square; in the tense undercurrents of an Army Sadhbhavna (Goodwill) camp in north Kashmir; and in the images conjured up by the work of contemporary Kashmiri poets.

Shot and edited between August 2004-2007 Jashn-e-Azadi engages us with the idea of Azadi in Kashmir.

In 2007, as India celebrated it’s 60th anniversary of Independence, this is also a conversation about Freedom in India.


Some of the early reviews of the film

March 15, 2007 

Mukul Kesavan | Telegraph |

Celebrating freedom: Jashn-e-Azadi and what Kashmiris think about the occupation

Azera Rehman | IANS

Stories of grief and graveyards from Kashmir

Muhammad Junaid | Blue Kashmir

Jashn-e-azadi – a review

March 18, 2007

Jeebesh Bagchi | Sarai Reader-list

Reflections on Sanjay Kak’s Jashn-e-Azadi

Amit Bhan | Pioneer

Of graveyards and half truths

March 22, 2007

Vidhi Upadhyay | PTI

Celebrating freedom in a war zone

March 31, 2007

Paramita Ghosh | Tehelka

Whose Azadi?

April 1, 2007

Showkat A Motta | Greater Kashmir

Domination does not mean victory

Jeremy Seabrook | Statesman 

Where bodybags speak

Arshid Ahmed | Kashmir Uzma

Kashmir mein ‘Jashn-e-Azadi ‘

Syed Basharat | Kashmir Times, Jammu

Sanjay Kak portrays true picture of Kashmir

April 4, 2007

David Lepeska | Kashmir Observer

Film screening morphs into freedom celebration

Amitava Kumar | Amitava Kumar’s Blog

How we celebrate freedom

April 5, 2007

Inam ul Rahman | Greater Kashmir

Jashn-e-Azadi: We the slaves

April 12, 2007

Ishfaq-ul Hassan | Dainik Bhaskar

Azadi ki nai awaz

Ishfaq-ul Hassan | DNA

Meet this Kashmiri pandit, who speaks of azadi in the Valley

Peerzada Arshad Hamid | Kashmirnews.rediffland blog |


April 13, 2007

Farah Aziz | Intercontinental Cry

Jashn-e-Azadi : A review

April 15, 2007

David Lepeska | Kashmir Observer

Documentary leaves Kashmir in the dark

May 1, 2007

Manglesh Dabral | Samyantar monthly

Swarg mein Aag aur Aansu translated as

In Paradise: Fire and Tears  

May 11, 2007

Riyaz-ul Haq | Prabhat Khabar, Patna

Kashmir ke liye Jashn-e-Azadi

May 13, 2007

Tariq Bhat | The Week

Misery in pixels 

Ashutosh | Nav Bihar, Patna |

Tasvir bayan karta Jashn-e-Azadi

A Correspondent | Prabhat Khabar, Patna |

Jashn-e-Azadi mein Kashmiriyon ka dard

May 28, 2007

Patricia Mukhim | The Telegraph, Guwahati

When freedom is lost

June 1, 2007

Roland Playle | Kashmir Affairs

Why We Are All Martyrs

June 1, 2007

Jitendra Kumar & Himanshu Upadhyaya | Combat Law bi-monthly

Imaginary Homeland, Imagined Community

June 2, 2007

Rouf Mustafa | Greater Kashmir

A propaganda mill which lives on lies  

June 16, 2007

Rouf Mustafa | Greater Kashmir

Capturing Truth

July, 2007

Asma Yasrib | Yembarzal Issue 2


July 16, 2007

Deccan Herald, Bangalore | Metrolife

Filming terror territory

July 20, 2007

Ayesha Matthan | The Hindu, Bangalore | Friday Review

Fragmented notions

July 28, 2007

Ayesha Matthan | The Hindu, Bangalore | Metroplus

Can we celebrate freedom?  

August 18, 2007

Shohini Ghosh | Tehelka

Freedom’s Marred Festival

August 24, 2007

Dionne Bunsha | Tehelka

Freedom at stake

October 5, 2007

Ananya Vajpeyi | Outlook online

Azadi: Theirs and Ours



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Sanjay Kak Written by:

Sanjay Kak is an independent documentary film-maker, whose recent films include Jashn-e-Azadi (How we celebrate freedom) and Red Ant Dream. He is also the editor of the critically acclaimed anthologies Until My Freedom Has Come - The New Intifada in Kashmir, and the photobook Witness - Kashmir 1986-2016, 9 photographers.

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