Karamat Ali Khan — A Short Story by O. Kashmiri

In the first from a series, O. Kashmiri brings us the short story of a land and its people told through the story of a man and his struggle, as both are inevitably interlinked and bound by grief, despair and hopelessness.

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.

Novel Excerpt: A Silhouette in the Nuke — by Muzaffar Karim

Muzaffar Karim brings us an excerpt from his post-apocalyptic novel set around 2050 when a nuclear attack by India has wiped off Kashmir from the face of the earth, leaving behind a few survivors. Among them, a few people are still fighting back, including Qais, the narrator, who is part of the Resistance. Qais’s only companion, besides Hamdan, is an old charred children’s book miraculously discovered beneath the rubble. The book narrates the story of the magical valley of Ka and the subsequent weakening of that magic due to the conjured up ‘Grandspell’ by surrounding evil neighbors.

The past few months have pitted us against an apocalypse. The city around us is attaining a new meaning. In this excerpt (Chapter 9 of the novel) Qais and Hamdan reactivate the wrecked subway and see Kashmir from a different perspective.

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.

Autobiography of a Book — Six Chapters as Told to Glenn Ingersoll

All the way from Berkeley, California, Glenn Ingersoll brings us six chapters of “Autobiography of a Book,” the story of a book “willing itself into existence.” Every word of “Book” brings you firsthand its progress toward achieving its dream, its dream of being what it claims to be, a real, honest-to-goodness book.
Reader take note, the first chapter includes some content of a possibly sexual nature.

Encounter by the Brook – A Short Story by Javid Ahmad Reshi

Encounter by the Brook – A Short Story by Javid Ahmad Reshi

Regardless of this new gadget-heavy info-technological era set upon us, Kashmiris have always shared numerable traditional children’s games between multiple generations. In this ludic oeuvre, one sinister game emerged out of innocence, somewhere between 1989 and 1990. In those early days, within designated playgrounds in rural villages and within the cityscape, young children, and particularly boys, would play a game of chase and hide-and-seek called “Military-Mujahid” (translated “Military-Militant”). The game reflected the way Kashmiri children would come to internalize war, conflict and struggle while trying to make sense of a militarized reality within the prism of their innocent playfulness and creativity. Beyond the tragedy of such a game even existing in the first place, this story by Javid Ahmad Reshi delivers a narration that exacerbates tragedy into the grip of horror, grief, trauma and heartbreak, as Kashmiri children continue to play such a game to this day.

Survival — A Short Story by Shabir Ahmad Mir

Survival — A Short Story by Shabir Ahmad Mir

Shabir Ahmad Mir brings us a bone-chilling story that is set in a seemingly post-apocalyptic world where water and its purity and sustainability are at the core of narration and plot. Author of the upcoming book “The Plague Upon Us” (Hachette India, April 2020), Mir produces here a story that could easily be classified under the genre of science fiction from Kashmir. Even though the story does not have a concrete setting, if read from a Kashmiri frame of mind, it works as hyperbole fused with a metaphor for present-day Kashmir in its path towards impending doom. Readers from all across the world will be able to draw their own parallels and inferences since the story covers many relevant issues such as resource depletion, sustainability and human conflict, all revolving around the theme of survival.

The Wild Goat — A Short Story by Majid Magray

The Wild Goat — A Short Story by Majid Magray

All the way from Karnah, from the area of Kashmir that borders with Pakistan, Majid Magray brings this true-to-life fictional tale of the hunt for a “wild goat” in the dead of Kashmir’s winter.

The Prisons of Neelum Valley — by Majid Magray

The Prisons of Neelum Valley — by Majid Magray

In this short story, Majid Magray presents the small world of a boy from the Pakistani side of the Line of Control that divides India and Pakistan. The ficitionalized account acquaints the reader with life at the makeshift border between the two nuclear nations, shedding light on the struggles faced by those who live at the margins of far more densely populated areas. The young twelve year old boy, symbolically named Aazad, dreams of crossing the river from the Pakistani administered side to play a match of cricket with the boys of his age living on the Indian administered side. As the narration progresses, the world of those who live in close proximity of heightened cross-border violence comes to fore. In the process, the story reveals the simple aspirations for peace of a people who do not allow conflicting nation states dictate their relationship neither with their place of birth nor with that world that they inhabit.

Notes on a Road Trip — by Wasim Malik

Notes on a Road Trip — by Wasim Malik

In this fictional account that is far too close to reality, Wasim Malik relates the story of four young men from Pulwoam (South Kashmir) who venture out for a road trip on their motorbikes only to be confronted by the Indian Army during a surprise ID check. The narration develops into a greater reflection on life in Kashmir unveiling the world of young Kashmiri men stuck in a zone of conflict.

Inside the Cracks: A History of 'Being' in Kashmir — by Gowhar Yaqoob

Inside the Cracks: A History of 'Being' in Kashmir — by Gowhar Yaqoob

In experimental prose, Gowhar Yaqoob invokes an indiscernible narrative voice reminiscent of the narrative style found in the earliest texts that reflect on the genesis of consciousness and language. The narration progresses from myths of origin and philosophical reflections about ‘being’ and ‘world’ found in originary Shaiva, Buddhist and Islamicate narratives to meditations on the current state of affairs in the context of the Valley. Yaqoob’s text produces a mode of reading into ‘being’ in Kashmir and of Kashmir detached from concrete and defined sociopolitical, ideological and religious contexts. As such, the narration maintains a balance between abstraction and unfamiliarity while employing a voice that can traverse various histories and times when reflecting on what it means to have existed in the Valley through the ages.

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