Fiction

End of the Day — A Short Story by Shabir Ahmad Mir

End of the Day — A Short Story by Shabir Ahmad Mir

Shabir Ahmad Mir presents a short story that unfolds in an undisclosed setting, with characters that lack proper names. The absence of specificity in this piece of short fiction allows for an emphasis on multiple metaphors, with a set focus on its action and its descriptions. Within its plot and narration, a “soldier-king” embarks on a gruesome and tortuous journey with “the Body” in what can perhaps be considered one of the darkest pieces of short fiction to find its way into the corpus of contemporary Kashmiri literature in the English language. As such, extreme reader discretion is advised given the portrayals of graphic violence with which this text confronts its reader. In reference to his novel “Yalo” (Picador, 2009), the Lebanese author Elias Khoury once said, “Writing is a mechanism of resistance, a mechanism against torture.” Perhaps such words may find considerable validity in Mir’s short story as the weight of an act—or series of acts—lingers perpetually, while the disposable becomes irremovable and unerasable, like a permanent burn mark on the one who carries out the act or series of acts. Whether the plot to Mir’s story is circular in structure and whether the story contains a circular ending is debatable and equally probable.

Karamat Ali Khan and The Book of Memories — A Short Story by O. Kashmiri

Karamat Ali Khan and The Book of Memories — A Short Story by O. Kashmiri

In this fourth installment of the Karamat Ali Khan series of short stories, O. Kashmiri returns with a compelling fictional account of how Karamat gathered the news of killings, rapes, arrests, and disappearances in a collection of notebooks stored in his house in the Mountain Side. In an attempt to keep such horrific events from disappearing from public record and against forgetting, the old man risks his life well beyond his means and at the service of collective memory.

Just Another Bus Ride — A Short Story by Aashna Jamal

Just Another Bus Ride — A Short Story by Aashna Jamal

“Just Another Bus Ride” is a story of a twelve year old girl in Srinagar who is very hungry at the close of school and worries about the bus ride home. Her thoughts are about how to best find a snack as she gets onto the bus. The bus finds itself in the middle of a tear gas shelling. The bus driver manoeuvres them out of it, with the children bewildered by the incident. The story tries to show how this child and her friends end up normalising the incident, and go on about their other childish preoccupations. This story was originally published by Muse India.

The Possessed — A Short Story by Rayit Hashmat Qazi

The Possessed — A Short Story by Rayit Hashmat Qazi

In this short story by Rayit Hashmat Qazi, a theatrical demonstration of military might plays out over the Kashmiri sky while down below strange events transpire in a family home where an allegedly demonic possession reveals the fractured and fragile state of things.

Mother Tongue — A Short Story by Muzaffar Karim

Mother Tongue — A Short Story by Muzaffar Karim

Muzaffar Karim presents a short story driven by language, the Kashmiri language, and with a protagonist about to embark on a journey. While waiting, Sultan Saeb voyages through his thoughts into the terrain of memory and into an inner world full of song, verse, and literature—all the while structuring a speech in his head to be delivered at the point of his destination, a Kashmiri language conference. Karim’s story is set in an airport, a transitory space ideal for ruminating and reminiscing, especially for a scholar of the Kashmiri language stuck waiting for a flight that has been “delayed due to bad weather.” The multiplicity found in this subtle piece of fiction complements the many complexities of a Kashmiri language that propels its plot, thematic undertones and narrative style.

Non-Fiction

Rodolfo Walsh's 1977 Open Letter to the Military Junta in Argentina — Introduced and Translated by Arturo Desimone

Rodolfo Walsh's 1977 Open Letter to the Military Junta in Argentina — Introduced and Translated by Arturo Desimone

Written on March 24, 1977 in Buenos Aires, this letter “used to be distributed as a pamphlet in Argentina in the first decade of this century. Today it can be useful to readers to reflect on the new despotisms.” This letter and the attached piece were originally published by Arturo Desimone on December 6, 2016, under the title of “Reading the Argentinian resistance writer Rodolfo Walsh in the Times of Trump” and is republished here from Open Democracy via CC BY-NC 4.0

Jaun Elia: The Garbage Dump of History — Translated and Introduced by Muzaffar Karim

Jaun Elia: The Garbage Dump of History — Translated and Introduced by Muzaffar Karim

Academic and writer Muzaffar Karim translates and introduces Jaun Elia’s “The Garbage Dump of History,” a piece originally titled “Jannat Jahanam” in Urdu that appeared in Suspense Digest (July 2000). Karim’s introduction and subsequent translation situate international readers beyond Elia’s widely known poetic and academic work, bringing us closer to Elia’s thoughts on Kashmir before, during and after partition. In the process, Karim’s translation reveals a deep sense of empathy, expressed as irredeemable angst that the poet, scholar and philosopher felt for Kashmir and its people, and particularly its disenfranchised Muslim majority. By way of translation, Muzaffar Karim retrieves a piece of writing that serves as a relic or a historical document to register the desperation, angst and nihilism that has festered for decades as Kashmir has remained besieged and exiled from any semblance of peace. That that desperation and angst is expressed by Elia via this translation by Karim makes it even more symbolic of the hostile and unchanging times.

Home Archaeology — by Rela Mazali

Home Archaeology — by Rela Mazali

A Jewish activist woman from Israel conducts an “archaeological dig” into her immediate physical surroundings and the sites of her successive homes. It recounts her slow unlearning of Zionist erasures both of the dispossession of Palestinians previously living at these sites and of the discrimination against and relegation into poverty of Mizrachi Jews (Jews of color) sent to live at them.

A gradual awakening to an unblinkered understanding of the context – historical, social, economic of where she lives, this fragment opens a window onto the reality that is (again) erupting in horrific violence in Palestine Israel today, in the spring of 2021.

The text is the 5th section of the novella-length essaytale, “Home Archaeology”, originally published in full in Hebrew in the collection “Home Archaeology: Essay Tales” and re-rendered into English by the author. This piece will appear in print at a later time in a three-part series to be published by the author.

Reporting News and Psychology — by Amir Sultan

Reporting News and Psychology — by Amir Sultan

As a researcher in Psychology, Amir Sultan writes about relevant concepts and terms developed in his field through academic research done on two particular cases of cold-blooded murder. The piece offers interesting observations about studies in Psychology that relate to the world of news reporting. Some of the events discussed and referenced via hyperlink to their direct sources are of a violent nature. Reader and viewer discretion is advised for those sensitive to such events covered widely in the news.

POETRY

Radio Kashmira — A Six-Part Poem by Kapil Kachru

Radio Kashmira — A Six-Part Poem by Kapil Kachru

In his six-part poem, Kapil Kachru versifies the experience of someone returning to a motherland from a great distance marked by the passage of greater time. Part by part, the poem progresses through the gaze of a tourist whose vantage point shifts to that of someone seeking a home worn out by an untimely departure. As ‘travel literature’, Kachru’s verses oscillate between the blurry lines of indefinite displacement and momentary familiarity, made clearer by a voyage that spirals into the terrain of concealed memory.

Making Sense of the Word: Kashmir — Four Poems by Danyal Hassan

Making Sense of the Word: Kashmir — Four Poems by Danyal Hassan

Danyal Hassan presents four poems that—in trying to make sense of the word ‘Kashmir’—develop a manifesto-in-verse against the nauseating exotica and orientalist framing that Kashmir is subjected to while a history of war, subjugation, and dispossession remains conveniently ignored—and at the expense of such exoticization and orientalization.

Mother leans against history — Two Poems by Zeeshan Ali

Mother leans against history — Two Poems by Zeeshan Ali

Zeeshan Ali presents two poems that process a history of war, one from the perspective of a “mother’s longing for freedom” and another, a two-part prose poem that expands from multiple voices, some discernible, and others not as much. The perspectives and the voices that emerge from both poems can be seen as diametrically opposite to one another, while maintaining a common setting that emphasizes the tension and contrast to be found within these verses by the young poet.

Monologue on the Sea — A Poem by Olayioye Paul Bamidele

Monologue on the Sea — A Poem by Olayioye Paul Bamidele

Olayioye Paul Bamidele presents a poem “about the need for black people to unite irrespective of tribe, culture or tradition.” According to its poet, the poem’s inspiration comes from “the story of slaves being mistreated by their traders, as narrated to me by my father.” The young writer and Mass Communications student adds, “These slaves were mistreated at home and betrayed abroad. Later these people became the freedom fighters of Africa and the founders of the Négritude movements across the globe.”

FILM

Decolonizing Space: What The White Lotus and The Chair Get Wrong about Student Politics — by Shayoni Mitra

In this piece, Shayoni Mitra, who teaches at Barnard College, Columbia University, provides a direly needed critique on two highly-watched and trending shows, The White Lotus (Netflix) and The Chair (HBO). While discussing what succeeds and stands out in both series, Dr. Mitra problematizes common fissures...

Nazi Hunters — The Complete Season 1 — Eight Episodes (Cineflix, 2011)

In a series of “real-life detective stories,” the eight episodes of “Nazi Hunters” relies on archival material and expert perspectives to present the capture of Nazi fugitives responsible for the genocide of millions of people (most of whom were Jews). The series brings to the screen the missions of...

Malcolm X: Make It Plain (1994) — by PBS

On Malcolm X's birthday, an elaborate documentary that explores his political life, his activism and the legacy of resistance he left behind for people around the world. The film gathers testimonials and accounts from his friends, family, and the journalists who knew him, along with archival footage...

My Neighbourhood (2012) — A Documentary Film by Julia Bacha and Rebekah Wingert-Jabi

First released in 2012, "My Neighborhood" is a documentary film that follows the life of Mohammed El Kurd, "a Palestinian boy growing up in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the heart of East Jerusalem. When Mohammed turns 11, his family is forced to give up part of their home to Israeli settlers,...

Roof Knocking (2017) — A Short Film Directed by Sina Salimi

In war-stricken Palestine, a woman prepares a meal for her family to break the fast in the month of Ramadan. A phone call by an Israeli soldier alerts her of the bombing of her building in 10 minutes. Coming to accept her family's fate is the only way she has to make a stand for her life, with grim consequences....

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Music

Books and Songs That Carried Us Through 2021 — by Inverse Contributors

Books and Songs That Carried Us Through 2021 — by Inverse Contributors

As we come to the end of this difficult year and enter the new one, Inverse Journal has asked its contributors to participate in a collective piece where they share—with our readers and their fellow contributors—the one book and/or the one song that stayed with them throughout the year or during a considerable part of it. Below are entries from some of our contributors who responded to the online survey and shared their picks for this 2021 as it passes by. In a human world where catastrophe and devastation also wreak their havoc on meaning-making and signification, one imagines that books and songs are imbued with a restorative and restructuring power—with both operating within and outside of human time. It with this thought in mind that Inverse Journal presents a limited selection of such books and songs curated and picked by some of the same contributors who make this space possible.

From Aalav to Almeeshaan — An Exclusive and Extended Interview with Zeeshaan Nabi

From Aalav to Almeeshaan — An Exclusive and Extended Interview with Zeeshaan Nabi

In this extensive interview, Zeeshaan Nabi—vocalist and multi-instrumentalist for the band Ramooz—discusses his latest solo release (Almeeshaan), his work as an independent musician and the virtues and struggles of working as an artist in the emerging contemporary Kashmiri music scene. Nabi further elaborates on his creative process, the subject-matter that shapes his music, and his varying roles as a solo artist, founding band member, studio producer, teacher, and musician driven by the need to constantly experiment and innovate in his evolving artistic practice. Accompanied by a variety of photographs, videos and media, this interview, a first of its kind, is the result of 22 questions emailed to the artist. It represents the dedicated standard at which Inverse Journal wishes to engage with the work of artists, creatives, and academics from multiple fields and backgrounds.

On Gaekhir Republik and the Contemporary Kashmiri Music Scene — by Amjad Majid

On Gaekhir Republik and the Contemporary Kashmiri Music Scene — by Amjad Majid

Amjad Majid presents three live performances by Kashmiri music collective Gaekhir Republik that rescue the soul from the constructed time imposed on a subject confined to an equally constructed space, far removed from the Kashmir whose memory we struggle to keep palpitant. In the process, Majid addresses larger questions regarding contemporary Kashmiri music, locating Gaekhir Republik’s performances and musical style within developing notions of such music that this young generation of musicians is shaping along with their peers in the nascent contemporary Kashmiri music scene.

Art

Dialogue in Comics: Medium-­Specific Features and Basic Narrative Functions — by Kai Mikkonen

Dialogue in Comics: Medium-­Specific Features and Basic Narrative Functions — by Kai Mikkonen

From The Narratology of Comic Art (Routledge, 2017) by Kai Mikkonen. Abstract by author: Conversation is a basic element in the medium of comics, where much of the narrative appeal is derived from the interplay between dialogue and action. The speech balloon, a favoured visual symbol for voice and utterance in the medium since the mid-twentieth century, has become a symbol for comics. In Italian, famously, the word fumetto—the word for a speech or thought balloon—also refers to the art form itself, whether in the form of a comic strip or a comic book. In fact, dialogue is such a central feature in the medium that it may sometimes be difficult to think of it as a distinct element. A character who speaks his thoughts aloud when apparently nobody is listening is a much-used convention, and many comics, for instance, ‘talking heads’ or humoristic comic strips that deliver a verbal gag, focus on speaking. Perhaps paradoxically, dialogue scenes may be more distinguishable when their use is more restricted, for instance, in comics when action is predominant and only occasionally interrupted by a scene of talk or when first-person verbal narration is predominant, as in autobiographical comics that occasionally lapse into dialogue. Republished via CC BY-NC-ND.

Between the Personal and the Political — Two Art Projects by Akshay Sethi

Between the Personal and the Political — Two Art Projects by Akshay Sethi

In Akshay Sethi’s artistic oeuvre, the artwork can become a site of excavation, revelation and disambiguation, bringing forth visuals of that which otherwise remains undermined, ignored, unnoticed and relegated to a process of continued invisibilization—one that exists at the core of the everyday and the quotidian. Here the Delhi-based emerging artist presents a collection of his own works divided into two projects, with proper introductions and a few summarized commentaries about each set of works as part of Inverse Journal’s initiative to have artists of all generations write for themselves and present their work in their own words.

In these works, Sethi explores the fine line between the personal and the political, one that exists in a material form but that goes unperceived were it not for the creative impetus of the artist to frame a re-envisioning of the personal within the political—and vice versa—situated metaphorically in the object of art. Through the artistic medium, the young artist’s practice invites multiple inquiries into what otherwise would simply pass along as “day-to-day happenings” or a series of events confined to news reports and headlines that trend and subside into a collective oblivion or a collective memory—framed and curated by mainstream and mass media—once their trending impact has reached a specific shelf life. It is here that Sethi’s work interjects to excavate for a greater human profundity within the personal and the political to transcend event, subject, group, collective as mere ‘happening on the street’, breaking away from the quotidian limits set upon everyday life by a variety of circumstances and conditions. The result is a poetics that can best be observed in the works themselves as the young artist works to develop and refine his art practice.

To delve deeper into a greater human understanding, Sethi often engages with literature, poetry, news media, contemporary culture and tradition by shaping his works as points of convergence between these while imbuing such works with a spirit of critique where resistance and criticality can take shape in multiple ways. The young artist’s engagement with various forms of literature is essential to the meaning-making that fiction writing offers, in a world where many times sense and sensibility seem lacking or absent.

Tricking a Text Into Speaking Your Language — Sixteen Blackout Poems by Asma Firdous

Tricking a Text Into Speaking Your Language — Sixteen Blackout Poems by Asma Firdous

Kashmiri blackout artist Asma Firdous presents sixteen blackout poems and works of word art that she has produced over a specific time. The piece comes with an extensive introduction by Amjad Majid (titled “Blackout Poetry in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: An Editor’s Introduction”) to familiarize viewers and readers with this artform and a statement by the poet and artist herself followed by the sixteen blackout poems.

Drawing Voices From a Well of Silence — Two Illustrative Works by Khytul Abyad

Drawing Voices From a Well of Silence — Two Illustrative Works by Khytul Abyad

Emerging Kashmiri artist Khytul Abyad brings us two of her illustrative works that can be viewed as standalone pieces or part of a greater patchwork that tells the story of her birthplace. Khytul has operated exclusively in the realm of Kashmiri contemporary art since her recent days as a student, working as a visual artist exploring different mediums and styles to develop a visual vocabulary of her own. Here she presents two pieces that venture into the realm of storytelling via illustration in line with the graphic novel. At the present, the graphic novel has yet to move beyond Sajad’s quintessential “Munnu” that set the stage, with other younger artists exploring the genre and medium through their own visual language and stylistic approaches to visual storytelling. Other visual storytellers who produce comics, political cartoons and illustrations have long maintained their signature styles and visual language without ever having the need or the desire to go into this long-form medium.

Such creative choices notwithstanding within that limited genre, another graphic novel, Naseer Ahmed’s “Kashmir Pending” with illustrations by India Today’s illustrator Suarabh Singh has followed as a work by multiple creators, Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri, reflecting the many directions that the Kashmir-themed or Kashmir-set graphic novel can take. However, as far as a graphic novel by one author and that too a young woman artist is concerned, Khytul’s artistic explorations presented here show promise in broadening the genre of the Kashmiri graphic novel even further, with an amplified diversification of sorts brought about in just over half a decade. With such considerations in mind, here are two storyboarded tales of fiction that permeate into a reality that is all too familiar to many Kashmiris. Such stories are located within the forgotten corridors of Kashmir’s everyday life, remaining unexpressed, silenced and made invisible up until young artists like Khytul engage their artistic sensibilities and artcraft to excavate the memory, experiences, and the lives of others, otherwise relegated to oblivion and brought to the fore by artistry such as Khytul Abyad’s.

This piece includes a note from the artist and relevant links from press  (courtesy of Inverse’s bibliographic approach) to familiarize viewers/readers about this young artist’s work.

Massacres and Home: An Art Installation by Ahmed Muzamil

Photography

Photo Essay: A 1950s Vintage Landmark Struggling to Stay Afloat in Srinagar’s Dalgate — by Mir Yasir Mukhtar

Mir Yasir Mukhtar returns with an important photo essay detailing the struggle of a historic barbershop—the New Rose Beauty Salon—to stay afloat in Srinagar’s Tange-adda heritage market located in Dalgate. Established in 1953, the salon is run by two brothers, who inherited it from their father and have...

In Memoriam: One Day in the Life of Syed Ali Shah Geelani — A Photo Series by Sagar Kaul

Taken in the winter at the beginning of 2015, Sagar Kaul presents 47 photographs documenting the day-to-day life of a man older than the partition. In doing so, Kaul brings to fore a side of Syed Ali Shah Geelani that had not been presented through image before. These visuals serve as an indelible marker...

The Patronising Gaze of the Camera: The Problems with Constructing Visual Identity of Kashmiri Women Around Their Tears — by Sadaf Wani

Previously translated into Bangla and published in , a Bangla magazine on gender, Sadaf Wani’s piece explores the problems with creating and reproducing visual portrayals of Kashmiri women around their tears and moments of emotional vulnerability. Focusing on the practices of using photographs of grieving...

A Buddhist Monastery of Kashmir Buried in the Past — by Manan Shah

Manan Shah revisits a heritage site that holds the answers to a significant number of questions about the presence and development of Buddhism in Kashmir’s lengthy history. As a student of archaeology and ancient history, Shah offers a core introduction to a site of great importance that was excavated...

From the Streets of Kashmir to the Heart of Palestine — A Photograph by Zainab

Earlier this week, a photograph was circulated on social media platforms (like Twitter and Facebook) showing a Kashmiri man marching with a Palestinian flag through the streets of Srinagar. Those who posted the photo did not give its author her proper credit nor indicate the source of such a powerful...

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Books

Understanding Kant’s Duty-Based Ethics — by Faizan Akbar

Understanding Kant’s Duty-Based Ethics — by Faizan Akbar

Faizan Akbar presents a paper that also operates as an extensive book review of Immanuel Kant’s “Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals” (1785). After providing an apt introduction of the German philosopher, along with a summary of his other works, Akbar proceeds to effectively synthesize the main ideas and focal points found in Kant’s 60-page work. Secondly, Faizan also completes the task of reviewing such a seminal work of philosophical importance and contextualizes its greater relevance within the broader Western philosophical tradition.

A Movement in Kashmir’s Historiography: Reviewing Khalid Bashir’s Kashmir: Looking Back in Time — Dr. Javid Ahmad Ahanger

A Movement in Kashmir’s Historiography: Reviewing Khalid Bashir’s Kashmir: Looking Back in Time — Dr. Javid Ahmad Ahanger

Dr. Javid Ahmad Ahanger reviews Khalid Bashir Ahmad’s “Kashmir: Looking Back in Time (Politics, Culture, History)” (Atlantic, 2021) situating the author’s work within a larger tradition of historiography. In the process, Dr. Ahanger evaluates Bashir’s book for the value it adds to Kashmiri scholarship during contemporary times while visiting some of the core topics and ideas that the text unveils or that had not been considered previously with the type of historical analysis it brings to fore.

Books and Songs That Carried Us Through 2021 — by Inverse Contributors

Books and Songs That Carried Us Through 2021 — by Inverse Contributors

As we come to the end of this difficult year and enter the new one, Inverse Journal has asked its contributors to participate in a collective piece where they share—with our readers and their fellow contributors—the one book and/or the one song that stayed with them throughout the year or during a considerable part of it. Below are entries from some of our contributors who responded to the online survey and shared their picks for this 2021 as it passes by. In a human world where catastrophe and devastation also wreak their havoc on meaning-making and signification, one imagines that books and songs are imbued with a restorative and restructuring power—with both operating within and outside of human time. It with this thought in mind that Inverse Journal presents a limited selection of such books and songs curated and picked by some of the same contributors who make this space possible.

BOOK EXCERPT: Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation & Women's Activism in Kashmir (Zubaan, 2020) — by Ather Zia

BOOK EXCERPT: Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation & Women's Activism in Kashmir (Zubaan, 2020) — by Ather Zia

Inverse Journal presents an excerpt from the first chapter (“The Politics of Mourning”) of Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation & Women’s Activism in Kashmir (Zubaan, 2020) by Ather Zia. These selections are part of a book produced from the combination of rigorous academic research and a decade of robust fieldwork coupled with the capacity to present ethnography through a poetic language that the text internally innovates upon.

Along with a poem at end of the book’s introduction, Inverse Journal has included an independently curated visual bibliography with links and media relevant to the book and its author.

Academia

Understanding Kant’s Duty-Based Ethics — by Faizan Akbar

Understanding Kant’s Duty-Based Ethics — by Faizan Akbar

Faizan Akbar presents a paper that also operates as an extensive book review of Immanuel Kant’s “Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals” (1785). After providing an apt introduction of the German philosopher, along with a summary of his other works, Akbar proceeds to effectively synthesize the main ideas and focal points found in Kant’s 60-page work. Secondly, Faizan also completes the task of reviewing such a seminal work of philosophical importance and contextualizes its greater relevance within the broader Western philosophical tradition.

Literariness and Media Art: Theoretical Framing — by Claudia Benthien, Jordis Lau, Maraike M. Marxsen

Literariness and Media Art: Theoretical Framing — by Claudia Benthien, Jordis Lau, Maraike M. Marxsen

Abstract: Literariness suggests a certain quality within texts that “makes of a given work a work of literature”. The various literary devices that establish correspondences within literature are also prominent within language-based media art. Formalism was guided by the question of which attributes define literary or poetic language. Linguists as well as literary theorists have claimed that the idea of literariness as a poetic ‘deviation’ from standard language is relevant to both written and spoken texts —which is important when examining audiovisual artworks and their oral performances of literary aesthetics. Self-referentiality is also central to the theory of performativity. The ambiguity of poetic signs is grounded in the often indecisive tendency towards figural or literal signification. Irina Rajewsky fosters an understanding of intermediality “as a category for the concrete analysis of texts or other kinds of media products”. For the purpose of investigations into ‘medial configurations,’ she proposes three subcategories: ‘medial transposition,’ ‘media combination,’ and ‘intermedial references.’ Republished from The Literariness of Media Art (Routledge, 2018) by Claudia Benthien, Jordis Lau, Maraike M. Marxsen. Via CC BY-NC-ND.

The Patronising Gaze of the Camera: The Problems with Constructing Visual Identity of Kashmiri Women Around Their Tears — by Sadaf Wani

The Patronising Gaze of the Camera: The Problems with Constructing Visual Identity of Kashmiri Women Around Their Tears — by Sadaf Wani

Previously translated into Bangla and published in Bama Patrika, a Bangla magazine on gender, Sadaf Wani’s piece explores the problems with creating and reproducing visual portrayals of Kashmiri women around their tears and moments of emotional vulnerability. Focusing on the practices of using photographs of grieving Kashmiri women to accessorize articles and events based around Kashmir, the piece discusses the insidiousness of such acts and how centering the visual identity of Kashmiri women only around certain kinds of visual portrayals contributes to the erasure of complex struggles and contributions of Kashmiri women.

This piece includes screenshots (provided by its author) from various sources, displayed here under “fair use” for illustrative purposes, with direct a citation for each source.

Decolonizing Space: What The White Lotus and The Chair Get Wrong about Student Politics — by Shayoni Mitra

Decolonizing Space: What The White Lotus and The Chair Get Wrong about Student Politics — by Shayoni Mitra

In this piece, Shayoni Mitra, who teaches at Barnard College, Columbia University, provides a direly needed critique on two highly-watched and trending shows, The White Lotus (Netflix) and The Chair (HBO). While discussing what succeeds and stands out in both series, Dr. Mitra problematizes common fissures that reveal what is deeply absent from the plotlines, characterizations, and thematic undercurrents that respectively shape both of these popular series.

Decolonization: A Starter Kit + Notes on Fake Decolonization — by Bhakti Shringarpure

Decolonization: A Starter Kit + Notes on Fake Decolonization — by Bhakti Shringarpure

Dr. Bhakti Shringarpure of University of Connecticut is the editor-in-chief of Warscapes Magazine and specializes in literary and cultural studies, decolonization, gender studies and the Cold War. In this video Dr. Shringarpure gives an overview on decolonization and how it has suddenly became a buzzword in a conversation with Dr. Amrita Ghosh. The video is embedded directly from The Space Ink YouTube channel. Additionally, we have included Dr. Shringarpure’s article “Notes on Fake Decolonization” that asks important questions about what counts as ‘authentic’ decolonization “as the term takes over our social media and influencer bubbles?” The article also provides insight on “how we can sharpen our activism.” Republished from Africa is a Country via exclusive permission by its author. Also included is an independently curated visual bibliography by Inverse Journal with some of the important work produced by Dr. Shringapure over the years.

Acquaintance

TORTURERS R US — An Essay by Christopher Hirschmann Brandt

TORTURERS R US — An Essay by Christopher Hirschmann Brandt

Christopher Hirschmann Brandt presents an extensive reflection-as-indictment on the practice of torture by nation states, and in particular the United States of America, which he calls home. Unlike many political leaders who use the first-person plural “we” to refer to their countries and their peoples in a patriotic tone, Hirschmann Brandt employs the collective “we” inversely to interrogate the repeated uses of torture to bring to light the urgent need for accountability. In doing so, the author provides a broader cultural and historical context required to understand the uses of torture by the United States along a far longer timeline with cited examples covering entire eras and centuries.

Social Media and Commodifying Empathy in the Covid-era — by Dr. Amrita Ghosh

Social Media and Commodifying Empathy in the Covid-era — by Dr. Amrita Ghosh

This article traces various social media expressions during the ongoing pandemic and asks the overarching question: how should one understand, express and practice compassion and empathy in this new context of global – yet differential and graded – uncertainty, loss and suffering? It focuses on the unfamiliar shift of entire populations across the globe from physical, tangible spaces to a virtual, online presence and the consequent issue of what norms, rules and ethics govern this online area of expression and action during a pandemic. Caught between an either-or narrative between a display of privileged quarantine living, a sense of empathy for the marginalized or a downright lack of it, the article observes that social media responses to the pandemic produce a ‘competitive performative compassion.’ It argues that such compassion becomes fetishist and results in the very thing that the expressed compassion was meant to counter, that is, continued unequal suffering. This article was first published in Lund University, SASNET journal Chakra: A Nordic Journal of South Asian Studies, Special Issue: Articulations of a Pandemic (2020 ISSN 1652-0203) and is published here via permission by the author.

Kashmir Meet After Two Years of Ruin: A Reckoning or a New Tack? — by Muzamil Jaleel

Kashmir Meet After Two Years of Ruin: A Reckoning or a New Tack? — by Muzamil Jaleel

In this timely piece (featured in our opinions and perspectives section), Muzamil Jaleel poses and evaluates two essential questions: Is New Delhi’s outreach to pro-India parties a tactical step to normalise the devastating changes introduced in J&K since August 5, 2019? Has the Sangh Parivar’s Kashmir project run up against a roadblock or has it been compelled by international players to change course?

Locating a Kashmiri Aesthetic Online — An Interview with Kashmiri Aesthetics

Locating a Kashmiri Aesthetic Online — An Interview with Kashmiri Aesthetics

Kashmiri Aesthetics is an Instagram channel run by young Savi Bukhari, who created the space to explore visual, literary, and textual aspects of Kashmiri culture and history and to present these to people on social media, especially young Kashmiris. In the following interview, Inverse Journal discusses the motives behind such a creative undertaking and the larger questions that emerge as one begins to engage with Kashmiri Aesthetics on a popular social media platform.

Seven Times Parveena Ahangar Spoke About Being a Mother Looking for Her Son

Seven Times Parveena Ahangar Spoke About Being a Mother Looking for Her Son

On August 18th of 1990, at 2 a.m., Parveena Ahangar’s 17-year-old son Javaid Ahmed was taken by a specialized counter-insurgency group (the National Security Guards of the Indian Army) during a night raid at her neighborhood in Batamaloo, Srinagar. Since then, she has not stopped seeking justice and answers from the state as to the whereabouts of her son and of so many Kashmiris subjected to enforced disappearance (approximately 8000 to 10,000 according to multiple sources). As the days and months passed since that 18th of August, Parveena, who had only been to school only till the 5th grade, learned how to speak languages other than her native Kashmiri in the hope of getting answers from the state. She learned Urdu and Hindi to the extent of becoming conversant in English terms and vocabularies used in government documents in state offices, in legal papers found in courts, in reports from police stations, and in records from prisons. In the process, she faced soldiers, state officials, advocates, judges, police officers, members of the press, and anyone who could give her any information about her son—all the while learning to speak the languages of those who had abducted her teenage son. The terms “went from pillar to post” and “corner to corner” have routinely been used in articles from the Kashmiri press in a multitude of ways, and in time have become synonymous to the efforts and dedication that Parveena put into seeking her son’s return and that of so many others whose families have been left in despair. Here are seven times when Parveena, as a mother and as the Founder and Chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, spoke of the struggles of such Kashmiri families whose plight is deeply tied to her own.