In this third instalment of the Karamat Ali Khan series, O. Kashmiri brings us the fictional account of how the Mountain Side, along with the entire Valley, was sold without the consent of Karamat’s people, and without a means to contest such a ludicrous sale. With all faith exasperated, a miracle within the natural order of things restores what was taken—from the land of the people to the hope seeded deep within its soil. Read on to find out how the snow becomes the medium of that miracle to remedy such a forced mass dispossession.
Nageen Rather returns to Inverse with a new short story where a “paradox of quantum superposition” like Schrödinger’s cat, both dead and alive, involves the case of a cow lost and found. In both states of loss and re-encounter, the theft of the cow and its supposed return are a burden for the house it belongs to. The nuances of Kashmiri culture, its hospitality and its ways prove to be cumbersome while in the background an indefinite curfew rages on to make things worse in an unfortunate pairing of propriety and misery.
In this second story from the “Karamat Ali Khan” series, the anonymous O. Kashmiri returns with a dark tale involving Karamat and his four sons who reside on the Mountainside in a fictitious valley where trees are cut, earth is flattened, and roads are paved so soldiers can march with greater ease.
On this symbolic day, we present Maqbool Bhat’s 1969 speech translated from Urdu by Wajahat Ahmad.
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 By way of translation, Muzaffar Karim retrieves a piece of writing that serves as a relic or a historical document to register the desperation, angst and nihilism that has festered for decades as Kashmir has remained besieged and exiled from any semblance of peace.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.
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.
“The intent for writing this piece arose from a desire to note a historic event for the people from the Northeast,” writes Enatoli Sema in her commentary on “Axone,” a film she considers a “critical piece of art.” In response to the film and what it inspired in the writer, Sema first reflects on her heritage, culture and its intrinsic value and secondly, on the “unacceptability of discrimination.”
Immerse yourself in the energetic, innovative and potentially illegal world of mash-up media with RiP: A Remix Manifesto. Let web activist Brett Gaylor and musician Greg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, serve as your digital tour guides on a probing investigation into how culture builds upon culture in the information age.
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.
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.
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.
Book Launch — Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (Harvard University Press, 2020) — by Nicole R. Fleetwood (via MoMA PS1)
Here is the video and discussion for the book launch of “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” (Harvard University Press, 2020) by Nicole R. Fleetwood, hosted by MoMA PS1. All media directly embedded from the original source. We have included relevant links to familiarize viewers and readers with the book and its author’s work.
The Celluloid Years — An Excerpt from KASHMIR: Looking Back in Time - Politics, Culture, History (Atlantic, 2021) by Khalid Bashir Ahmad
Inverse Journal presents an exclusive excerpt from Khalid Bashir Ahmad’s latest book “Kashmir: Looking Back in Time — Politics, Culture, History” (Atlantic, 2021). In this sixth chapter of the book (courtesy of Atlantic Publishers), Bashir Ahmad provides a detailed account of how film culture entered into Kashmir with the emergence of cinemas in multiple locations of the Valley. In covering the concrete history of cinemas and film-watching culture in Kashmir, the author successfully provides insight into a larger history from a political, cultural and sociological lens as he walks readers through “The Celluloid Years” of Kashmiri history. Inverse Journal has included a section with independently selected relevant links to familiarize readers with the author’s writings.
“What will happen now, Abbu?” — An Excerpt from “Life in the Clock Tower Valley” (Speaking Tiger Books, 2021) by Shakoor Rather
“Life in the Clock Tower Valley”, the debut novel by Kashmiri journalist Shakoor Rather, travels between “Kashmir’s pristine past, its grievous present and always uncertain future, giving us an insider’s view into everyday life and emotions in the conflict-ridden valley.” Inverse Journal presents an exclusive excerpt from the novel, published here with permission from Speaking Tiger Books. Also included is an independently curated list of links pertinent to the novel and its author.
“Chai, Khatai and a Militant” — An Excerpt from Sandeep Raina's A Bit of Everything (Context/Westland, 2020)
Inverse Journal presents an exclusive excerpt from Sandeep Raina’s recently released novel, A Bit of Everything (2020) courtesy of the publisher (Context/Westland). This excerpt is accompanied by an independently curated visual bibliography relevant to the novel and its author.
This chapter examines how Allen Lane, his editors, and Penguin’s commissioned freelancers created the Penguin Russian Classics series. Before appointing E.V. Rieu as the Penguin Classics series editor, Lane had already liaised with two emigre Russians, Samuel S. Kotelianskii and Sergei Konovalov, about the prospects of publishing Russian literature in translation. Rieu’s Medallion Titles were dominated by translations from Greek and French literature (twenty-nine and twenty-eight translations respectively), followed by Latin and Russian literature, each with sixteen translations. However, insights into the art of translation would probably have seemed irrelevant to both readers and editors during the early Penguin Classics years, when more interest was generated simply by the (re)discovery of the Russian literary canon at affordable prices. As the archived correspondence for Penguin’s Russian Classics shows, the Penguin Classics editors also had to manage inquisitive, often concerned, academics from all over the world. This chapter from “Translating Great Russian Literature: The Penguin Russian Classics” (Routledge, 2021) by Cathy McAteer is published here via Creative Commons License.
The Values of Independent Hip-Hop in the Post-Golden Era: Hip-Hop’s Rebels (2019, Palgrave Macmillan) — by Christopher Vito
Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, this book uncovers the historical trajectory of U.S. independent hip-hop in the post-golden era, seeking to understand its complex relationship to mainstream hip-hop culture and U.S. culture more generally. Christopher Vito analyzes the lyrics of indie hip-hop albums from 2000-2013 to uncover the dominant ideologies of independent artists regarding race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and social change. These analyses inform interviews with members of the indie hip-hop community to explore the meanings that they associate with the culture today, how technological and media changes impact the boundaries between independent and major, and whether and how this shapes their engagement with oppositional consciousness. Ultimately, this book aims to understand the complex and contradictory cultural politics of independent hip-hop in the contemporary age.
“Nothing moved except the mirage”: Analysing Fear and Freedom in Adania Shibli’s Minor Detail — by Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee
Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee presents an academic paper that is also a book review for Palestinian author Adania Shibli’s 2020 novel, “Minor Detail” (New Directions). A finalist for the National Book Award, “Minor Detail” is one of the most relevant works of contemporary Palestinian literature that connects 1949 and the Nakba with present day Palestine—as its protagonist digs into the past to uncover horrific truths. Mukherjee’s response and writing on the novel and its many themes is essential to understanding the greater depth to be found in decades of Israeli occupation over Palestinian land and life. The academic not only includes relevant criticism within this piece but also integrates theoretical formulations and observations by various scholars and thinkers that are pertinent to her own readings, such that through her ‘book-review-as-academic-paper’ one gets access to entire bodies and fields of knowledge, from postcolonial theory to resistance literature. Just as “Minor Detail” tells the story of a people and their larger history by means of a protagonist, Dr. Mukherjee’s paper offers multiple vectors of understanding in order to facilitate incisive critical engagement with this recent work of Palestinian literature.
Medical oxygen should not be a luxury – we’re trying to develop a cheaper way to produce it — by David Fairen-Jimenez (University of Cambridge)
David Fairen-Jimenez is a Reader at the University of Cambridge and Director at Immaterial. Here he explains the process of developing medical oxygen and the challenges faced during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This article is published in our Acquaintance section via Creative Commons from The Conversation (April 30, 2021).
A deeply embedded sense of existential threat has surrounded Kashmiris from multiple directions, materializing in varying challenges and struggles throughout their history. This letter by Murad Saleem, published in Inverse Journal’s Acquaintance (opinions/perspectives) section, addresses and problematizes such an existential threat, taking into account the struggles that Kashmiris face and the different strategies of resistance that can coalesce to carry a dispossessed people forward. As its messenger, the author of the letter has gathered words of wisdom spanning several centuries and generations, effectively delivering wisdom of his own to his fellow Kashmiris back home.
In this opinion piece Shahnaz Bashir evaluates the potential consequences and repercussions of the 53-page “New Media Policy” set to regulate the Kashmiri press in the aftermath of August 5, 2019. Inverse Journal has included a visual bibliography of additional links on the subject from recognized news and media sources.