Stories about kashmir

Kashmir: The perfect combination of Vital Signs and EP, all rolled into one

Despite being an avid music lover, I’ve stopped following contemporary Pakistani music for quite a while now. It would not be incorrect to claim that things took a wrong turn ever since Rohail Hyatt left Coke Studio. However, the recently concluded Pepsi Battle of the Bands has changed that. And it really is down to one band alone – the eventual winners, Kashmir. I was mildly surprised when they won the competition even though I was rooting for them myself. Badnaam, the runner up, had been impeccable throughout the competition, managed to stay out of the danger zone every time and ...

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Gowhar, the nun-e-phol of Kashmir, and the ruthless killing machine that is the Indian CRPF

He was amongst the younger children. I remember him as a frail boy with prominent cheekbones. When he would smile, the dent in his cheeks would turn into a dimple. Whenever we would play cricket in the field and needed to toss, he would toss the bat up in the air with excitement and say, “Akh, ze, tra!” (One, two, three!) Being one of the younger children in the neighbourhood meant that Gowhar often got to play du taraf (both sides). For us, the older boys, children such as Gowhar were called nun-e-phol (a chunk of salt). It is an intriguing word in Kashmiri children’s vocabulary. ...

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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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A Kashmiri’s letter to all Indians: An attack on Amarnath Yatris is an attack on Kashmir

Dear Indian citizen, I am writing this with much pain and grief. I’m left with no words of condemnation for this dastardly brutal act that was carried out to kill innocent Yatris devoted to their faith. My purpose of writing to you is not to condemn the act alone, but to let you know that we, the people of Kashmir, are equally pained and our heads hang in shame due to the act of a few. This act is against our ethos and composite culture of religious harmony. Terrorism has no religion, and unfortunately, we have been the worst sufferers of it –witnessing brutality, mental pain and ...

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That long summer night when Burhan Wani died

I can hear gun barrel thuds. Everyone around me is in shock. Ours is the house packed with mourners. My grandmother passed away two days ago. Twilight is nearing. We are supposed to serve evening meals to our relatives before they head home. But these fireworks and anti-India slogans in my neighbourhood are making their outward movement uncertain, very uncertain. A disturbing word doing rounds is about the fallen Titan. Commander Burhan Muzzafar Wani has met a tragic end in Kokernag. I can hear a growing street commotion. Its defiant intensity is growing. Perhaps, a signature stone-smoke confrontation is about to start. “How ...

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It is not the cows that they want to protect, it’s the Muslims they want to kill

It is a sin being a Muslim in India today, but a blessing if you’re a cow. Otherwise, how else can you justify the uninterrupted killings and lynching of Muslim men in the name of cows ever since Narendra Modi assumed power in May 2014? The latest victim is a man called Alimuddin, aka Asgar Ali, in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. He was allegedly transporting some meat and the cow protection group (an euphemism for radical and extremist Hindu militant groups) intercepted the vehicle and beat him to death without verifying the content of the vehicle. Their hatred towards Muslims is so extreme that it’s the name that invites revulsion. ...

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Who is a Pakistani? A Muslim? A desperate migrant? Different from an Indian? A caged woman?

Over the past two years, I have travelled to 15 countries, either by myself or with friends. Before this nomadic lifestyle of mine, I had lived my entire life within a bubble in Pakistan, and honestly, the question of what it meant to be a Pakistani never occurred to me. But as I travelled and met more people whose cultures and values were as foreign to me as mine were to them, my innate assumptions about the notion of the Pakistani identity were challenged. Numerous people helped me reflect on the overarching perceptions of my country. I was a medium through which they could know more about a ...

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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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Given the Pakistan-India rivalry, how pragmatic is it for IOK to be part of CPEC?

The dominant view from Indian-held Kashmir is that the disputed region could greatly benefit from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Provided both Islamabad and New Delhi declare all parts of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir (Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, Jammu, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B)) as a ‘single free economic zone’. Cutting across the ideological lines, leading stakeholders from India-held Kashmir argue that, “Kashmir can in fact become a gateway for India to be part of the CPEC, provided there is a settlement of the dispute first.” Without a whisker of doubt, the multi-billion dollar CPEC will definitely impact the socio-political and economic landscape of a certain part of the erstwhile ...

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Why the world isn’t talking about Kashmir

Today, the trend lines for Jammu and Kashmir are quite troubling, to say the least. Nearly a year after Indian security forces killed Burhan Wani, a young Kashmiri militant with a large following, anger hasn’t abated. Tension has risen in recent days after a video surfaced on social media that appeared to depict Indian security forces using heavy-handed tactics against a civilian. On April 24th, assailants gunned down a local politician in Kashmir, Abdul Gani Dar. Students have regularly clashed with security forces. When Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh this week, according to ...

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