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Fiction

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Homecoming — by Zahida War

Zahida War presents a piece of fiction that combines poetry and prose to narrate the story of a young Kashmiri woman, Zooni, who returns to her birthplace after living abroad (India) for several years. In the process of her return, Zooni becomes raveled in the militarized reality of Kashmir and its grotesque violence, far from the touristic imaginarium that her host country had built in her mind. Still a young student, Zooni leaves all familiarity behind, along with the illusions formed in her understanding of Kashmir, to engage with a place that is confined to countless devastations, multiple horrors and endless human tragedies. This fictional piece was written in 2016, a painfully symbolic year for Kashmiris, and is accompanied by an afterword by its author.

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Non-Fiction

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Retourner of a Midnight Drummer — by Mir Seeneen

In the middle of multiple lockdowns, Mir Seeneen presents the story of Ramzan Kak and his practice of an age-old tradition during the Holy Month of fasting. How Ramadan was felt, celebrated and endured during these pandemic times in a particular Kashmiri neighborhood is elucidated poignantly by the first person account of its writer, who bears witness to an esteemed awakener, part of a larger tribe struggling to carry forward their cultural practice under the current circumstances.

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Poetry

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Kashmir: The Museum of Little Things — A Poem by Daaniyal Hassan

The history of a peoples besieged by war is one felt close at home by many in Kashmir and beyond. Daaniyal Hassan’s poem connects that history to one known more widely, placing the subject of his six-part poem on an intersectional map between the violence of power and the resistance of the people. Entrapped in such a cartography and its “Museum of Little Things”, a poetic voice finds overlaps within a common experience, where a collective memory retrieves pages lost to dust. Regardless of the many historical references that may elicit some sort of comparison, the poem centers around a distinct poetic figure narrating a particular experience, like a Dante stuck in Inferno, far exiled from the ever-elusive Paradiso (made such with great purpose and design).

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Film

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Out of Sight (2019) — A film by Azad Essa and Horia El Hadad

In what Kashmiri writer Mirza Waheed has interrogated as "the world's first mass blinding," here is the story of 18-year-old Farzan Sheikh, who was blinded by pellets fired by Indian government forces a year after the horrific four month curfew of 2016. During that year, "17,000 adults and children" had "been injured" and "nearly five thousand" had "been arrested", while "an entire population spent the summer under the longest curfew in the history of curfews in Kashmir." However, with so many Kashmiris blinded through the use of pellet fire, the state's policy did not change. In 2017, Farzan became yet another target of such violence while attending a funeral procession. Azad Essa and Horia El Hadad present his story in this short documentary. Relevant links included.

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Music

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Hip Hop Feature: Khoon Rezi — by Tufail Nazir X Aatankki

The latest installment of Kashmiri Hip Hop brings us "Khoon Rezi", a track by young artists Tufail Nazir and Aatankki who integrate fierce and unapologetic lyricism with a subtle yet steady Trap beat. The track is produced by Semmi On The Beat, mixed and mastered by Ahmer. The music video is directed and edited by Aatankki himself, with Zuhaib Bhat on the camera and drone cinematography by Junaid Bhat / Fx Studio. Lyrics and relevant links included.

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Art

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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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Academia

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Looking into Settler Colonialism through India’s Occupation of Kashmir — by Subhajit Pal

Inverse Journal presents Subhajit Pal’s academic paper on a key issue of interest within the present climate of uncertainty. In this paper written in November 2019, the young researcher attempts to study Kashmir within a settler colonial framework, while engaging with an initial comparative study that integrates core theoretical and academic research from other, and more widely studied, settler colonial societies (US, Australia, Israel). The fact that Pal finished writing this paper on November 27th, 2019, in the aftermath of the August 5th revocation of Article 370, adds to the greater interest readers may have towards its treatment of a subject that is currently being discussed in multiple academic circles and sections of the press.

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Acquaintance

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Naya Kashmir is a Century Old — by Maknoon Wani

Maknoon Wani’s article deconstructs the use of "Naya Kashmir" rhetoric by the current dispensation. It starts by briefly explaining the origins of the term and then gives a brief account of what happened after the scrapping of Article 370. Towards the end of this piece in our Acquaintance section, Wani points towards the irony of using this term — which signified a relatively progressive agenda back then — to "whitewash the unprecedented lockdown" that has brought everything to a standstill. Wani finally explains in his analysis how the current administration is "a revamp of the Dogra rule—a monarchical setup that reduces the indigenous Kashmiris to disempowered subjects." Covering events in the media for last month, this piece is backdated to April 23.

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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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Ensure Press Freedom in Kashmir — Noam Chomsky, Ayesha Jalal, Tariq Ali, Hamid Dabashi and Several Prominent Figures Endorse Letter Addressing the UN and Worldwide Organizations with 450+ Signatures by Academics, Journalists, Writers, Researchers

Prominent figures from academia and worldwide press along with several researchers and scholars have endorsed a written a letter and its petition to the UN and several international organizations to demand protection and freedom of press for Kashmiri journalists “charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)” that “can carry jail time of two to ten years” and without bail, for doing their job as journalists reporting from and about Kashmir. The letter covers the last few years of state-sanctioned targeting of Kashmir journalists, particularly since August 5, 2019, when India revoked Articles 370 and 35A while maintaining Kashmir under a media, communications, telephonic and press lockdown that a wide majority of Kashmir observers, scholars and experts have called “a siege.” With only 2G internet and mobile telephony restored recently and the press allowed to operate under constant threat of persecution in Kashmir, a new series of cases have been filed against Kashmiri journalists through the “Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Inverse Journal has embedded this letter directly from its source and provided a series of “relevant links” embedded directly from their respective sources covering this series of events.

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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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