Stories about Kashmiris

The media is relentless in its pursuit of exclusives, and Kashmir is always a good harvest

(Disclaimer: Graphic images below) Me: “So why don’t you start studying again?” Baba: “No, I can’t…” Me: “But why?” Baba: “It’s of no use; I have eight FIRs against me madam. The first one was registered when I was on my way to school. They picked me up, slapped me, let me off after three days. The second FIR was for illegal possession of weapons and the third…” Baba went on explaining the list of police cases against him as the car criss-crossed Srinagar with blaring music. Me: “Even then, you should at least complete your studies? Things will change…” Baba: “Even if I am able to resume my second year in ...

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Half Widow: Not Pakistan, not India, but the world through Kashmir’s eyes

Throughout history, cinema has functioned as a voice against oppression. Be it films such as Mississippi Burning or Fruitvale Station that highlight racism in the US’ past and present, or films such as Schindler’s List and Life is Beautiful which focus on the Holocaust and the oppression of Jews during World War II. The Battle of Algiers is yet another movie which focuses on the oppression of the Algerian people by the French, and their subsequent struggle for independence. Photo: Facebook Cinema has always played an important role in connecting the viewer with these moving stories. Kashmiri filmmaker Danish Renzu aims to do something similar with his latest film, Half ...

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An open letter to Indians

Dear Indians, As someone whose recent family history is very much a consequence of partition, I am no stranger to the divisiveness of Pak-India politics. Despite a shared history and culture, we stand today as two nuclear armed nations that have fought three wars against each other. Hatred for the other is fostered in both countries – neither India nor Pakistan is innocent as far as propagating hyper-nationalist aggression is concerned, but this time around, it feels slightly different. This time around, your government, sections of your media, and sections of your civil society (in concert with the government) are behaving in an exceptionally immature and dangerous manner. They ...

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The one chant that India has been unable to gag; “Hum kya chahtey… azaadi”

Kashmir is back to square one; the killing spree has begun once again and there seems to be no way out. After killing approximately 120 peaceful protesters in 2010, of which half were teenagers, this year, the Indian forces have not only begun a killing spree, but a blinding spree as well. With the help of lethal pellet guns, introduced to Kashmir through British expeditioners who used them for hunting, they forces have ended up blinding numerous individuals.   If you are not already aware, the intensity of a pellet gun is monstrous – one shot sends nearly 600 high velocity lead ball bearings. At ...

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Dear Facebook, stop censoring Kashmir

As a Pakistani writer of Kashmiri descent, it may not be entirely possible for me to speak without prejudice; but what’s one humble blogger’s bias against an iron curtain drawn over Kashmir by powers barely within my comprehension? If you’re outside Pakistan, and not politically motivated to draw your attention towards the gruesome events unfolding in Indian-administered Kashmir, it’s likely that you’re unaware of the gravity of this matter. And you’re not entirely to blame for your ignorance. You could be a hearing-impaired, computer-illiterate villager in Irkutsk, Russia, and you haven’t managed to keep yourself from finding out about a deadly rampage ...

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Prejudice towards languages and ethnicities other than Punjabi has to end

Textbooks play an important role in building the world view of students. In a country like Pakistan where the reading culture is non-existent, these books serve as primary sources of information for a huge chunk of society. Khursheed Kamal Aziz also known as K K Aziz began his book ‘The Murder of History in Pakistan’ with the following words, “In every country, the textbook is the primary implement of education at the school and pre-university stages of instruction. In Pakistan, it is the only instrument of imparting education on all levels, because the teacher and the lecturer don’t teach or ...

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If Geeta was a Muslim, would the Indian government have done the same?

After the Indian High Commissioner, Dr TCA Raghvan and his wife met the hearing and speech-impaired ‘Hindu’ girl in Karachi, reportedly stuck in Pakistan for 13 long years, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj vowed on Twitter,  “We will bring Geeta back to India.” “Our High Commissioner believes that Geeta is an Indian,” Swaraj added, while thanking all the wonderful individuals in Pakistan who looked after the wretched girl like their own daughter and sister. Our High Commissioner believes that Geeta is an Indian. — Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) August 4, 2015 Geeta – whose heartrending story bears an uncanny resemblance to that of a character named ‘Munni’ in ...

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Blind the Kashmiri protesters: A new tactic employed by India

This is the story of a teenager. His face is disfigured. One eye is lost forever. I have not spoken to him in person since he is lying in a bed in New Delhi, while I sit and write this in Islamabad. But if you see his face the way I saw it when his story broke, you will not be able to forget it. And you will begin following his story updates more vehemently. He should not have lost his eye. Who loses an eye for carrying a placard, shouting slogans, and partaking in a peaceful protest for a political cause? I often ...

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#KashmiriLivesMatter, India

Recent heavy showers led to a flood in River Jhelum because of which Indian-occupied Kashmir has come under the line of fire again, with torrents wreaking havoc throughout the valley. Last year, Kashmir witnessed a similar tragedy – 300 lives were lost, $16 billion worth of infrastructure was destroyed and six million Kashmiris were affected on the whole. It is too early to decide if these floods are worse than their predecessors, but if the people stuck in these areas are not evacuated in time, things might get out of control. During the floods that took place last year, many Kashmiris were of ...

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Is ‘Haider’ really a threat to Pakistan’s ideology?

This is not a review of the film ‘Haider’, but an evaluation of the strong political reactions it has generated. This review is unsuitable for adults easily aggrieved by unfavourable judgement of their political views. Vishal Bhardwaj has established himself as an artist who likes to prod controversial subjects, just to see what happens. While the film itself boasts an impressive rendition of Shakespeare’s magnus opus, set to the beat of dazzling musical numbers, and jaw-dropping footage of the embattled valley, what truly stands out is its boldness. India: 2/5 stars While Haider managed to successfully squeeze its way through tight grasp of the Central Board ...

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