Originally published on his personal blog, Tabish Rafiq Mir shares with us a timely review (that is more of an inspired response) to Farah Bashir’s “Rumours of Spring” (Harper Collins, 2021). In not sticking to conventions, Tabish divides his response into eleven sections, each of which provide new insights to contextualize the importance of Bashir’s text situated within a broader history. Writing such as this reminds of the type of engagement dedicated readers will have with memoirs, reminding us that reading a memoir entails entering the space of voyage within time and place, in the contours of what is recollected and remembered. Such remembrance, as personal as it may be, is for many a collective one, making Farah Bashir’s memoir as relatable as the commentary in response that Tabish Rafiq Mir is inspired to put on paper. From a personal narration, the history of an entire peoples can be retrieved, such that personal and collective experience are revealed to be intertwined, as is customary with the genre. However, in this mode, Bashir’s text stands out as an abstraction that allows for a necessary distance required to reflect and revisit the everyday lived reality of Kashmir over the last decades, while simultaneously remaining immersed in that concrete world through its honest narration that requires no embellishments. The result is an elaborate reminder for readers to never allow for the continued normalization of an imposed state that not only shaped but confined Kashmir’s collective memory in very specific and strategic ways. Whether we carry our memories or whether our memories carry us is perhaps indistinguishable when it comes to Bashir’s book, especially when subjective experience is detailed with such authenticity that it verbalizes that which many others rendered speechless or exiled from expression have gone through. With each word measured, Tabish’s commentary sheds light on this and many other aspects of Farah’s memoir, establishing it as one of the most significant books within its genre to have arrived till date. Inverse Journal has included an independently curated list of links relevant to the book and its author.
Tabish Rafiq Mir
Hand over your agency, Zooni — by Tabish Rafiq Mir
Tabish Rafiq Mir provides a prompt critical response and interpretation to the recent Raw Mango fashion campaign that undermined the current situation in Kashmir while attempting to capitalizing on Kashmiri culture, tradition and history. The piece clearly exposes the orientalist and exoticizing gaze that repeatedly seeks to define Kashmir and Kashmris in unequal relation to India and its public, this time with Kashmiri culture becoming yet again a subject of “high end” consumerism served to a willfully oblivious Indian consumer base. Tabish Rafiq Mir’s article delves into the matter in greater detail and in unapologetic terms to expose a larger malaise that goes unquestioned as well as unnoticed. Tabish’s piece elucidates the insensitive and inconsiderate manner in which Kashmiri subjects are presented and represented beyond Kashmir, usually by non-Kashmiri others. The company has since withdrawn and recalled the release.