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Fiction

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Betel Leaves — A Dalit Satirical Novel by Jai Anbu

Jai Anbu's "Betel Leaves" is a satirical novel about social and religious prejudice against the Dalits’ struggle for identity, dignity and freedom in present day India. A silvery brook meanders way through a village towards paddy fields. Here extremes of beauty and poverty exist side by side. The Dalit villagers scratch a living from the fields. They are easy prey for corrupt politicians who steal their land, even those places reserved for funeral pyres. Guruji, a spiritual master, has come to their village and bought the land.  He builds an ashram from where he plans to enlighten the world. Trouble erupts when the villagers cross the boundaries set by the dominants.

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Non-Fiction

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Unbounded Wounds: Memories of a Family Massacre – by Muhammad Hanief

Six months before he was born, Muhammad Hanief’s maternal grandparents and two maternal uncles were murdered by a group comprising of two Ikhwanis (counter-insurgent renegades) and two BSF (Border Security Force) troopers. The case was finally resolved in the courts in 2009, with the perpetrators sentenced to life in prison. Given the sensitivity and horrific details of the case, written permission was sought for the publication of this account from the family of the writer. All of the particulars provided in this account, including details pertinent to the case, are available in the public domain via a series of news reports of the event and further specified in the FIR filed by the family members of the victims. The author has compiled this account based on several years of conversation with his mother who has narrated it to him so that he may write it down for posterity.

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Poetry

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I write dissent, they read hatred — by Bupinder Singh

Educator and poet Bupinder SIngh presents a timely poem on dissent and resistance and how these are misrepresented such that “If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing” (as Malcolm X once famously said).

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Film

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Music

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Social Distancing as Virtual Proximity — Musicians Worldwide Serenade People from Their Homes in the Times of Coronavirus

As part of a global initiative, musicians worldwide have offered a series of virtual concerts via different social media platforms to encourage people to take social distancing seriously while also spreading awareness about Covid-19 safety measures all around the world. Here are some of those live sessions from around the world that will not be seen by 8 million Kashmiris whose internet speed has been restricted to 2G.

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Photography

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Srinagar in Colors and Shades — by Mir Yasir Mukhtar

In this series of photographs, Mir Yasir Mukhtar diverts his lens to portray everyday life in Kashmir beyond the horrors that are captured by professionals from his field of photojournalism. In habitual scenarios, it is almost impossible to avoid images of war, conflict, tragedy and violence. However, as the images themselves communicate, an alternate Kashmir, and with it an alternate Srinagar, exists to show how Kashmiris try to live on a daily basis while being at the focal point of the oldest unresolved geopolitical conflict of global modernity.

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Books

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Book Introduction: These Chains Will be Broken (Clarity Press, 2020) — by Ramzy Baroud

We are delighted to present the introduction to Ramzy Baroud’s latest book entitled "These Chains Will be Broken: Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons" (Clarity Press, 2020). The book’s foreword is written by Khalida Jarrar, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a prominent figure of Palestinian resistance who has been detained on multiple occasions by Israeli forces. The book is also graced by an afterword from Richard Falk, former UN Special Rapporteur “on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories” and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. The illustrations in "These Chains Will be Broken" have been made by Dalia Alkayyali. Regarding this essential text that brings forth the (till now) strategically contained and hidden away world of Palestinian prisoners, Ramona Wadi writes in her review that “What the news reports eliminate, Ramzy Baroud’s new book […] pushes to the fore. Palestinian prisoners, misrepresented through statistics, news reports, exploitation and glorification, tell slivers of their stories in this collection of first-hand narratives that stand as a testimony for both Palestinian resistance and resilience.” This introduction to the book, presented here by Baroud, is titled “Palestine’s Organic Intellectuals”, and is published online for the first time as a preview to Ramzy’s larger work, courtesy of the publisher, Clarity Press. True to its title, this introduction begins with Antonio Gramsci’s definition of “organic intellectual”, aptly contextualizing the condition and role of Palestinian prisoners in their consistent transgenerational “anti-colonial struggle”, as their stories, narratives and modes of resistance are presented in Baroud’s book for the greater world to acknowledge.

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Academia

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Economic Activity and Labour Mobility Amidst a Rising Pandemic: When Is It Possible and Safe in India? — by Dr. Javaid Iqbal Khan Dhaar Mehak

Economists Dr. Javaid Iqbal and Dhaar Mehak present a timely short paper that articulates relevant questions about striking a balance between strategically resumed "economic activity" in its relation to "labour mobility." In doing so, the two academics provide feasible strategies and approaches that could keep India from receding into an economic collapse.

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Kashmir 2019 Siege

The following special section in Inverse Journal was created specifically to compile a collection of articles, media, interviews and academic writing about the current situation in Kashmir. All of the views, perspectives and accounts presented in this section are directly linked to other media outlets, mostly international and Indian, and displayed in a Pinterest-like manner. In the spirit of proper citation, all such articles and media are embedded and linked directly from their respective sources and are displayed in response to the Indian government (and its ruling party) repealing Articles 370 and 35A from the Indian constitution, thereby forcing Kashmir to become a part of the Union Territories without democratic consent of any sort from the people of Kashmir.

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This section was created after Kashmir was put under military and police lock down, television and media outlets were stopped from broadcasting and publishing, telephone and internet connections were shutdown and a military curfew was imposed on the Kashmiri population. As more voices from Kashmir emerge past this media and internet blockade, this section will remain relatively updated. Meanwhile, we are compelled to focus on the inputs and perspectives provided by notable scholars, intellectuals, journalists, writers and experts from diverse fields of knowledge who specialize in Kashmir, the conflict imposed on its people and its unresolved history.

Inverse Journal was specifically created to promote cross-cultural dialogue through various vectors of engagement with contemporary culture, art, fiction, music, film, photography and scholarship from Kashmir to other parts of the world and vice versa. This independent initiative was envisioned to become a multicultural round table where different writers, artists, scholars, poets, and culture producers of various ages, backgrounds and levels of expertise could find a common forum. One of the primary motives was to establish the appreciation for the arts, humanities, contemporary culture and scholarship as a common ground from which Kashmir could find itself more connected with international communities dedicated to similar interests. Ironically, with the current media blackout, disconnection of internet, telephone and mobile services and a military curfew in place, the contrary has again been enforced by state policy. As such, this journal finds itself unable to ignore the ongoing situation of siege that has disconnected Kashmir and Kashmiris from the rest of the world and instead has had to focus on bringing attention to the current issue at hand.

As an experimental project, Inverse Journal has been lagging behind in carrying out its routine tasks since the Indian election and its preparations, which clearly and loudly indicated that major shifts were about to be enforced upon Kashmir and its peoples. In the spirit of diversity, we had planned on maintaining and growing this journal as an alternative space given that the routine interjections by those in power in everyday civilian life make it impossible for other Kashmiri publications to not cover the situation of conflict (and violence) that Kashmir has been subject to since before the partition of India and Pakistan and the events that have followed. Now those publications, and particularly the independent and alternative ones, have been silenced while only the Kashmiri diaspora and the global community is able to get a word out.

Following citation and bibliographical practices, this section compiles the perspectives and erudite positions of those who are compelled to speak about the millions of Kashmiris under lock-down and siege, particularly in absence of the Kashmiri press and ground-level inputs that are somehow slowly emerging due to the diligent work of journalists and other professionals.

All the views and perspectives presented here, even the ones from editorial introductions for each Pinterest-like post, are based on the articles, interviews, media interjections, and opinion pieces referenced in such posts in an attempt to present a Kashmiri perspective well beyond the amplified state-endorsing media's take on the situation.

To our contributors, we regret the delays in our publication schedule and hope to have your writings featured as soon as its is rationally possible. Do let us know via email if you wish to withdraw your submissions in case you have chosen to publish elsewhere.

Sincerely,

Amjad Majid,Founder/Editor,Inverse Journal,August 5th, 2019

Kashmir 2019 Siege

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Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Over 170 Academics from Around the World Demand India Restore High-Speed Internet, Release Kashmiri Political Prisoners

While the world readjusts to handle the Coronavirus, Kashmir is stuck under 2G internet (which was first rolled out in 1995) and without adequate equipment and facilities. As a result, the following letter has been sent from the Kashmir Scholars Consultative and Action Network (KSCAN) and Concerned Academics & Professionals from around the world to the World Health Organization, UN Special Rapporteurs, and various international health organizations. You can view the official letter here. We have included relevant links embedded directly from the original news sources at the bottom of this letter. For more, check out our Kashmir 2019 Siege section.

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From the Editor

2019 — A Year in Review at Inverse Journal

 Inverse Journal just completed a year of exploration this month after its already troubled launch on February 1, 2019. As such, we are proud to present (in a scrollable timeline) the writings, ideas and work by our many contributors from Kashmir and across the globe who shaped our 2019 in this small but persistent community of readers, writers, artists, poets, filmmakers, scholars, journalists and creatives from multiple fields. 2019 has been the year when—struggling (while still struggling)—the journal took off from South Kashmir and into uncharted territory—risking the attempt to connect diverse peoples from different backgrounds, all sharing in common the features of contemporary culture that make us one: our verses, our stories, our songs, our films, our incisive critical thinking, our contemporary ideas, our research, our scholarship and above all, our voices.

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Call to Submissions for Photographers: Kashmir - Paint the Day as Night

Inverse Journal invites photographers of all backgrounds to participate in a running series entitled “Kashmir: Paint the Day as Night” to present their black and white photography in a photo story format, with a maximum of 15 black and white photographs accompanied by descriptive captions contextualizing each photograph (maximum caption size should be one short paragraph or 100 words). The selected and published photo stories will be featured under the title “Kashmir: Paint the Day as Night [series number] – by [photographer name]” and will include an editorial introduction, with the photographer being credited as contributor on Inverse Journal’s platform.

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Inverse Journal: A Basic Introduction — by Amjad Majid

In an attempt to develop conversations, dialogues, discussions and exchanges of ideas about contemporary culture from Kashmir to the world beyond the Himalayas, Inverse Journal has arrived to establish a space and a platform for a wide array of culture producers and an interested readership. The journal primarily focuses on contemporary art forms, from fiction, poetry, art, photography, music to scholarly essays and articles, but also intends to create global and multicultural intersections through this common space. We are expecting half of our submissions to come from Kashmiri culture producers and the remaining half will depend on a variety of contributions to the journal made from a diverse group of international contributors.

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