All of the exclusive content related to or about Kashmir that is published by Inverse Journal in-house is the sole responsibility of its editor, Amjad Majid, and not the creators, authors and contributors of such content. Much of the content within this journal is available in the public domain already either via publication or through exhibition by major and historically recognized institutions. Nonetheless, the editor takes sole legal responsibility over the publication of any in-house Kashmir-related content on this platform since all such content can be published only through his exclusive editorial decision. Publishing certain content does not mean endorsing the views presented therein. Embedding or publication of third party content (especially from the Creative Commons) does not mean endorsement of this journal by the original authors, publishers or creators of such external or third party content. In addition, all official social media accounts listed on this website and web administrative tasks are handled by the editor. Each editorial introduction to every published piece is also written by the editor. Bibliographic citation and referencing are at the core of this project. As a non-commercial project, Inverse Journal’s upkeep is personally funded by its founder and editor and as such does not accept or take donations or funding by anyone for any purpose. Inverse Journal does not share any web visitor (statistic) data with third parties for commercial purposes even though we use industry standard web analytics solutions to improve visitor experience. We do not carry any ads given the non-commercial nature of this project. Have a wonderful day.
"The suspension of all hierarchical precedence during carnival time was of particular significance. Rank was especially evident during official feasts; everyone was expected to appear in the full regalia of his calling... and to take the place corresponding to his position. It was a consecration of inequality. On the contrary, all were considered equal during carnival. Here, in the town square, a special form of free and familiar contact reigned among people who were usually divided by the barriers of caste, property, profession, and age. The hierarchical background and the extreme corporative and caste divisions of the medieval social order were exceptionally strong. Therefore, such free, familiar contacts were deeply felt and formed an essential element of the carnival spirit. People were, so to speak, reborn for new, purely human relations. These truly human relations were not only a fruit of imagination or abstract thought; they were experienced. The utopian ideal and the realistic merged in this carnival experience, unique of its kind"
– Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World
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 such as fiction, poetry, art, photography and music while also introducing scholarly essays and articles from a variety of fields, with the intention of creating 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.
As a non-commercial and non-profit community-based project, Inverse Journal is greatly influenced by the Open Source movement and the free flow of knowledge and ideas, and as such makes limited use of Creative Commons licenses to share ideas by prominent thinkers, artists and scholars from around the world. With Kashmir as its base, the journal seeks to reach a wider audience abroad to create bridges for interaction through the medium of writing, image production and through reflections on various contemporary art forms and ideas.
We have in mind two readerships in particular: the Kashmiri one in its engagement with art, culture and ideas from other places all around the world, and then of course an international readership from all over the world with people who wish to connect and explore contemporary culture in its diverse manifestations emanating all the way from Kashmir. Many times our two intended audiences (readers) will also be our contributors, as this journal is a community-based publication (catering to multiple communities from Kashmir and beyond). The point of intersection and commonality between our Kashmiri contributors and readers and our international contributors and worldwide readers is the potential exchange of knowledge and ideas that can occur and that we dedicatedly promote and encourage through this platform.
On Contemporaneity and “The Impossibility of the Present”
It is hard to place and locate a sense of contemporaneity and to understand what it means to be contemporaneous, particularly in the context of Kashmir, when diverse converging and compacting forces operate on a Kashmiri society at the epicenter of international geopolitical conflict. Contemporaneity risks an internal dislodging of its own, when being and existing in the present time inherently means being dislocated from a sense of temporality, stuck between a past and an unspecified future. It is within these limits of the contemporaneous that one finds an absence of critical reception to a wide variety of cultural forms (art, literature, music, photography, scholarly writing, etc.) in Kashmir. This is particularly problematic given that over the last decade and a half Kashmir has seen itself open to multiple discourses, trends, and ideas emanating from multiple cultures given the advent of the internet and social media.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that Kashmiri society and its various creative and intellectual communities have always been open and receptive of intellectual ideas and creative forms emanating from other places. The resounding difference is the greater speed at which such ideas are imbibed and permeate into conversations with the internet creating greater proximity between cultures. At the same time, a culture of reception and response to art, scholarship and creative production is somewhat lagging behind given the vast challenges in the education system and the geopolitical situation that places significant limitations on the engagement with certain ideas beyond the immediacy of the tense conflict-driven sociopolitical environment and the constant attention that it requires and demands.
There is, as such, a predominance of discourses and discussions that while absolutely necessary at every turn of event, does not lead to general and more frequent discussions around art, literature, film, music and other contemporary art forms, primarily because the death and devastation that Kashmir witnesses almost on a daily basis suffocates the type of free thinking and exploration of ideas that characterizes societies worldwide. At the same time, this does not mean that such conversations do not occur. In fact, quite the contrary is true, since this journal finds its motivation from the demand for a platform discretely dedicated to such endeavors grounded in the reflection on and study of contemporary culture. It is with this in mind that this project has taken ten months to mature.
On to the Dictionary Definitions and Our Motivation
The word “inverse” as an adjective means “opposite or contrary in position, direction, order, or effect.” As a noun it signifies “something that is the opposite or reverse of something else.” With these two definitions in mind, Inverse Journal is about de-centralization, countercurrents, and inverting fossilized notions, positions, perspectives and hierarchies in an attempt to evoke re-imagination and allow readers as well as writers to see all things Kashmiri from a mirrored lens. In fact, a mirror is a suitable metaphor to explain the purpose of and basis for this publication that is centered on contemporary art, literature, music and other such cultural forms.
A mirror shows an image in direct opposition to the objects and things reflected on it. The image reflected by the mirror is the same as the object it reflects and yet somehow distinct and different. A mirror allows us to examine our reflection, to view ourselves without while remaining within. In light of this reflection about mirroring, Inverse Journal is a space that allows us to contemplate Kashmiri culture from a contemporary perspective from within Kashmir and the diaspora as well. And since we are all about inverting, the publication offers a space to connect with global cultures and discourses, from Kashmir itself, and allow for international connections to take shape in relation to Kashmir. Since the emergence of internet-based communication, Kashmir has seen a globalized contemporaneity, one in which different communities and groups have become connected to the world at large in multiple ways. Such connections cannot simply be reduced to mere consumption of media or passive engagement with books, films, music, scholarship and ideas, but rather reshaped through a space for critical response, active engagement and thorough reflection, which Inverse Journal is dedicated to creating and extending through its platform.
However, Inverse Journal and our ideas on inversion, inverting and the “inverse” are not merely based on mirroring. Our objective is to provide a platform for those voices that do not find a place in traditional and even alternative publication mediums. In the spirit of inverting, Inverse Journal recognizes that cosmopolitanism is bound to the cityscape and in Kashmir and in the larger world beyond, intellectual thought, cultural and literary production, and writing in general are spawned in and from the cities and capitals to their respective peripheries. From a larger global perspective, the marginality of Kashmir as a hidden-away place in the Himalayas needs to be considered in finding novel ways of creating intercultural interaction for the sake of greater visibility and acquaintance of our culture producers.
While this aforementioned observation might not be entirely true for other parts of the world, it is inevitable to realize that in Kashmir, the city is the hub of cultural production, writing and press (at least in what concerns publication in the English language). With that mind, Inverse Journal looks to invert that relationship between center and periphery by bringing in writers, photographers, artists, musicians, thinkers, commentators and other culture producers from all the different regions and areas of Kashmir who otherwise might not get to exhibit their work in traditional mediums, be it because of a lack of experience, adequate guidance or mere access and exposure. At the same time, we expect active engagement from creators, thinkers and culture producers from around the world to generate an influx of ideas from their relative cultures and societies.
The Importance of Open Source and the Creative Commons
One of our main goals is to bring forth new or unfamiliar ideas on art, literature, music, culture, philosophy and several other fields and disciplines to our readers. As a result, we intend to expose our readers (particularly those in Kashmir) to knowledge that they would ordinarily not encounter without in-depth research or a solid foundation and familiarity with certain subjects. In this, we recognize the importance of the Open Source software movement and its core philosophy of freedom to share ideas, creative products and specialized knowledge. In a parallel mode, such fundamental rights to education, access to knowledge and effective dissemination of ideas is the foundation of the Creative Commons licensing, which we employ to retrieve essays, academic papers, commentaries and texts from a wide array of sources.
One of the prime concerns of recent years is the isolation and alienation that ails scholars and academics when they spend an incredible amount of time and work to produce writing and ideas on a variety of topics that remain far away from the grasp of a wider audience. Making use of Creative Commons resources, at Inverse Journal we are able to access such incredible and influential work and disseminate it through the appropriate Creative Commons license using proper attribution and citation. As of May 2018, there were “an estimated 1.4 billion works licensed under the various Creative Commons licenses.” Consequently, we have a lot of material to bring to our readers’ attention; much of it is extensive scholarly research and writing in the domain of culture, particularly related to art, literature, music, film, etc. The Open Source and Creative Commons projects have inspired Inverse Journal’s editorial logic of de-centralizing knowledge for the sake of its easy distribution. As such, our readers will find interesting material retrieved from countless archives worldwide and reproduced here via various Creative Commons licenses.