Just Another Bus Ride — A Short Story by Aashna Jamal

"Just Another Bus Ride" is a story of a twelve year old girl in Srinagar who is very hungry at the close of school and worries about the bus ride home. Her thoughts are about how to best find a snack as she gets onto the bus. The bus finds itself in the middle of a tear gas shelling. The bus driver manoeuvres them out of it, with the children bewildered by the incident. The story tries to show how this child and her friends end up normalising the incident, and go on about their other childish preoccupations.....

The All-Knowing Made Us Know Pain — Four Poems in Four Acts by Sadam Hussain

Set upon a dark stage that Kashmir has invariably become, Sadam Hussain presents four poems that read like four acts of a macabre tragedy—except there is no curtain call and the curtains are never drawn, there where hell has no end and paradise no beginning.....

Qafilah's Safarnama — A Song Review by Kashmir Music Live

Kashmir Music Live (KML) returns to Inverse Journal with a long due review of one of the most lyrically dynamic and musically diverse songs from the corpus of Kashmiri Hip Hop. Here is KML’s review of the song “Safarnama” by emerging Kashmiri Hip Hop artist Qafilah.....

A Movement in Kashmir’s Historiography: Reviewing Khalid Bashir’s Kashmir: Looking Back in Time — Dr. Javid Ahmad Ahanger

Dr. Javid Ahmad Ahanger reviews Khalid Bashir Ahmad’s “Kashmir: Looking Back in Time (Politics, Culture, History)” (Atlantic, 2021) situating the author’s work within a larger tradition of historiography. In the process, Dr. Ahanger evaluates Bashir’s book for the value it adds to Kashmiri scholarship during contemporary times while visiting some of the core topics and ideas that the text unveils....

Karamat Ali Khan and The Book of Memories — A Short Story by O. Kashmiri

In this fourth installment of the Karamat Ali Khan series of short stories, O. Kashmiri returns with a compelling fictional account of how Karamat gathered the news of killings, rapes, arrests, and disappearances in a collection of notebooks stored in his house in the Mountain Side. In an attempt to keep such horrific events from disappearing from public record and against forgetting, the old man risks his life well beyond his means and at the service of collective memory.....

The Dust Never Settles Down — A Poem by Saba Zahoor

On World Mental Health Day, Saba Zahoor presents a series of verses that venture into the center of struggles and experiences that remain difficult to communicate yet persist in the lives of millions throughout our human world.....

Her foot is its own kind of tree — Four Poems by Robert Hirschfield

When Robert Hirschfield was 37 years old, his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Over the years he became her caregiver and eventually began a poetry project to honor her memory. Now at 82 years of age, the poet and journalist, world traveler and resident of New York, presents four such poems from an entire series that bear witness—through poetic remembrance—to his mother’s struggle. The four poems—that are part of a series currently in its sixth year—are featured here with New....

Arnab Chakraborty presents two poems fueled by two of the greatest themes in literature—death as dissolution and love as captivity—both of which are addressed in an original manner. The first poem—in its dialogical approach of referencing a great literary character—follows the allusive tradition of other such poems, like Agha Shahid Ali’s “The Wolf's Postscript to 'Little Red Riding Hood'”, Carol Ann Duffy’s “Medusa” or Nazim Hikmet’s “Don Quijote” to name a few. The second poem detaches the reader....

Photo Essay: A 1950s Vintage Landmark Struggling to Stay Afloat in Srinagar’s Dalgate — by Mir Yasir Mukhtar

Mir Yasir Mukhtar returns with an important photo essay detailing the struggle of a historic barbershop—the New Rose Beauty Salon—to stay afloat in Srinagar’s Tange-adda heritage market located in Dalgate. Established in 1953, the salon is run by two brothers, who inherited it from their father and have since strived to keep it functioning after four decades of operation—having already survived August 5 while barely making it across the still ongoing pandemic. ....

Decolonizing Space: What The White Lotus and The Chair Get Wrong about Student Politics — by Shayoni Mitra

In this piece, Shayoni Mitra, who teaches at Barnard College, Columbia University, provides a direly needed critique on two highly-watched and trending shows, The White Lotus (Netflix) and The Chair (HBO). While discussing what succeeds and stands out in both series, Dr. Mitra problematizes common fissures that reveal what is deeply absent from the plotlines, characterizations, and thematic undercurrents that respectively shape both of these popular series.....

BOOK EXCERPT: Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation & Women's Activism in Kashmir (Zubaan, 2020) — by Ather Zia

Inverse Journal presents an excerpt from the first chapter ("The Politics of Mourning") of Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation & Women's Activism in Kashmir (Zubaan, 2020) by Ather Zia. These selections are part of a book produced from the combination of rigorous academic research and a decade of robust fieldwork coupled with the capacity to present ethnography through....

In Memoriam: One Day in the Life of Syed Ali Shah Geelani — A Photo Series by Sagar Kaul

Taken in the winter at the beginning of 2015, Sagar Kaul presents 47 photographs documenting the day-to-day life of a man older than the partition. In doing so, Kaul brings to fore a side of Syed Ali Shah Geelani that had not been presented through image before. These visuals serve as an indelible marker of the memory that his loved ones and close associates and friends preserve forevermore. These photographs are published herein “in memoriam” to provide solace to those many in Kashmir and elsewhere....

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Just Another Bus Ride — A Short Story by Aashna Jamal

Just Another Bus Ride — A Short Story by Aashna Jamal

“Just Another Bus Ride” is a story of a twelve year old girl in Srinagar who is very hungry at the close of school and worries about the bus ride home. Her thoughts are about how to best find a snack as she gets onto the bus. The bus finds itself in the middle of a tear gas shelling. The bus driver manoeuvres them out of it, with the children bewildered by the incident. The story tries to show how this child and her friends end up normalising the incident, and go on about their other childish preoccupations. This story was originally published by Muse India.

Karamat Ali Khan and The Book of Memories — A Short Story by O. Kashmiri

Karamat Ali Khan and The Book of Memories — A Short Story by O. Kashmiri

In this fourth installment of the Karamat Ali Khan series of short stories, O. Kashmiri returns with a compelling fictional account of how Karamat gathered the news of killings, rapes, arrests, and disappearances in a collection of notebooks stored in his house in the Mountain Side. In an attempt to keep such horrific events from disappearing from public record and against forgetting, the old man risks his life well beyond his means and at the service of collective memory.

Mother Tongue — A Short Story by Muzaffar Karim

Mother Tongue — A Short Story by Muzaffar Karim

Muzaffar Karim presents a short story driven by language, the Kashmiri language, and with a protagonist about to embark on a journey. While waiting, Sultan Saeb voyages through his thoughts into the terrain of memory and into an inner world full of song, verse, and literature—all the while structuring a speech in his head to be delivered at the point of his destination, a Kashmiri language conference. Karim’s story is set in an airport, a transitory space ideal for ruminating and reminiscing, especially for a scholar of the Kashmiri language stuck waiting for a flight that has been “delayed due to bad weather.” The multiplicity found in this subtle piece of fiction complements the many complexities of a Kashmiri language that propels its plot, thematic undertones and narrative style.

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Home Archaeology — by Rela Mazali

Home Archaeology — by Rela Mazali

A Jewish activist woman from Israel conducts an “archaeological dig” into her immediate physical surroundings and the sites of her successive homes. It recounts her slow unlearning of Zionist erasures both of the dispossession of Palestinians previously living at these sites and of the discrimination against and relegation into poverty of Mizrachi Jews (Jews of color) sent to live at them.

A gradual awakening to an unblinkered understanding of the context – historical, social, economic of where she lives, this fragment opens a window onto the reality that is (again) erupting in horrific violence in Palestine Israel today, in the spring of 2021.

The text is the 5th section of the novella-length essaytale, “Home Archaeology”, originally published in full in Hebrew in the collection “Home Archaeology: Essay Tales” and re-rendered into English by the author. This piece will appear in print at a later time in a three-part series to be published by the author.

Jaun Elia: The Garbage Dump of History — Translated and Introduced by Muzaffar Karim

Jaun Elia: The Garbage Dump of History — Translated and Introduced by Muzaffar Karim

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.

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The Dust Never Settles Down — A Poem by Saba Zahoor

The Dust Never Settles Down — A Poem by Saba Zahoor

On World Mental Health Day, Saba Zahoor presents a series of verses that venture into the center of struggles and experiences that remain difficult to communicate yet persist in the lives of millions throughout our human world.

Her foot is its own kind of tree — Four Poems by Robert Hirschfield

Her foot is its own kind of tree — Four Poems by Robert Hirschfield

When Robert Hirschfield was 37 years old, his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Over the years he became her caregiver and eventually began a poetry project to honor her memory. Now at 82 years of age, the poet and journalist, world traveler and resident of New York, presents four such poems from an entire series that bear witness—through poetic remembrance—to his mother’s struggle. The four poems—that are part of a series currently in its sixth year—are featured here with New York-based contemporary artist Judith Lodge’s work.

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Decolonizing Space: What The White Lotus and The Chair Get Wrong about Student Politics — by Shayoni Mitra

Decolonizing Space: What The White Lotus and The Chair Get Wrong about Student Politics — by Shayoni Mitra

In this piece, Shayoni Mitra, who teaches at Barnard College, Columbia University, provides a direly needed critique on two highly-watched and trending shows, The White Lotus (Netflix) and The Chair (HBO). While discussing what succeeds and stands out in both series, Dr. Mitra problematizes common fissures that reveal what is deeply absent from the plotlines, characterizations, and thematic undercurrents that respectively shape both of these popular series.

Nazi Hunters — The Complete Season 1 — Eight Episodes (Cineflix, 2011)

Nazi Hunters — The Complete Season 1 — Eight Episodes (Cineflix, 2011)

In a series of “real-life detective stories,” the eight episodes of “Nazi Hunters” relies on archival material and expert perspectives to present the capture of Nazi fugitives responsible for the genocide of millions of people (most of whom were Jews). The series brings to the screen the missions of “a select band of secret agents and avengers” who “hunted down some of the most evil men in history…and finally brought them to justice” after the end of World War II.

Malcolm X: Make It Plain (1994) — by PBS

Malcolm X: Make It Plain (1994) — by PBS

On Malcolm X’s birthday, an elaborate documentary that explores his political life, his activism and the legacy of resistance he left behind for people around the world. The film gathers testimonials and accounts from his friends, family, and the journalists who knew him, along with archival footage of the man and the historical figure himself. The documentary was produced and aired by PBS on January 26, 1994. All rights reserved by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

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Qafilah's Safarnama — A Song Review by Kashmir Music Live

Qafilah's Safarnama — A Song Review by Kashmir Music Live

Kashmir Music Live (KML) returns to Inverse Journal with a long due review of one of the most lyrically dynamic and musically diverse songs from the corpus of Kashmiri Hip Hop. Here is KML’s review of the song “Safarnama” by emerging Kashmiri Hip Hop artist Qafilah.

From Aalav to Almeeshaan — An Exclusive and Extended Interview with Zeeshaan Nabi

From Aalav to Almeeshaan — An Exclusive and Extended Interview with Zeeshaan Nabi

In this extensive interview, Zeeshaan Nabi—vocalist and multi-instrumentalist for the band Ramooz—discusses his latest solo release (Almeeshaan), his work as an independent musician and the virtues and struggles of working as an artist in the emerging contemporary Kashmiri music scene. Nabi further elaborates on his creative process, the subject-matter that shapes his music, and his varying roles as a solo artist, founding band member, studio producer, teacher, and musician driven by the need to constantly experiment and innovate in his evolving artistic practice. Accompanied by a variety of photographs, videos and media, this interview, a first of its kind, is the result of 22 questions emailed to the artist. It represents the dedicated standard at which Inverse Journal wishes to engage with the work of artists, creatives, and academics from multiple fields and backgrounds.

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Tricking a Text Into Speaking Your Language — Sixteen Blackout Poems by Asma Firdous

Tricking a Text Into Speaking Your Language — Sixteen Blackout Poems by Asma Firdous

Kashmiri blackout artist Asma Firdous presents sixteen blackout poems and works of word art that she has produced over a specific time. The piece comes with an extensive introduction by Amjad Majid (titled “Blackout Poetry in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: An Editor’s Introduction”) to familiarize viewers and readers with this artform and a statement by the poet and artist herself followed by the sixteen blackout poems.

Between the Personal and the Political — Two Art Projects by Akshay Sethi

Between the Personal and the Political — Two Art Projects by Akshay Sethi

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.

Drawing Voices From a Well of Silence — Two Illustrative Works by Khytul Abyad

Drawing Voices From a Well of Silence — Two Illustrative Works by Khytul Abyad

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.

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Photo Essay: A 1950s Vintage Landmark Struggling to Stay Afloat in Srinagar’s Dalgate — by Mir Yasir Mukhtar

Photo Essay: A 1950s Vintage Landmark Struggling to Stay Afloat in Srinagar’s Dalgate — by Mir Yasir Mukhtar

Mir Yasir Mukhtar returns with an important photo essay detailing the struggle of a historic barbershop—the New Rose Beauty Salon—to stay afloat in Srinagar’s Tange-adda heritage market located in Dalgate. Established in 1953, the salon is run by two brothers, who inherited it from their father and have since strived to keep it functioning after four decades of operation—having already survived August 5 while barely making it across the still ongoing pandemic.

In Memoriam: One Day in the Life of Syed Ali Shah Geelani — A Photo Series by Sagar Kaul

In Memoriam: One Day in the Life of Syed Ali Shah Geelani — A Photo Series by Sagar Kaul

Taken in the winter at the beginning of 2015, Sagar Kaul presents 47 photographs documenting the day-to-day life of a man older than the partition. In doing so, Kaul brings to fore a side of Syed Ali Shah Geelani that had not been presented through image before. These visuals serve as an indelible marker of the memory that his loved ones and close associates and friends preserve forevermore. These photographs are published herein “in memoriam” to provide solace to those many in Kashmir and elsewhere who mourn his departure during these trying and difficult times.

The Patronising Gaze of the Camera: The Problems with Constructing Visual Identity of Kashmiri Women Around Their Tears — by Sadaf Wani

The Patronising Gaze of the Camera: The Problems with Constructing Visual Identity of Kashmiri Women Around Their Tears — by Sadaf Wani

Previously translated into Bangla and published in Bama Patrika, a Bangla magazine on gender, Sadaf Wani’s piece explores the problems with creating and reproducing visual portrayals of Kashmiri women around their tears and moments of emotional vulnerability. Focusing on the practices of using photographs of grieving Kashmiri women to accessorize articles and events based around Kashmir, the piece discusses the insidiousness of such acts and how centering the visual identity of Kashmiri women only around certain kinds of visual portrayals contributes to the erasure of complex struggles and contributions of Kashmiri women.

This piece includes screenshots (provided by its author) from various sources, displayed here under “fair use” for illustrative purposes, with direct a citation for each source.

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A Movement in Kashmir’s Historiography: Reviewing Khalid Bashir’s Kashmir: Looking Back in Time — Dr. Javid Ahmad Ahanger

A Movement in Kashmir’s Historiography: Reviewing Khalid Bashir’s Kashmir: Looking Back in Time — Dr. Javid Ahmad Ahanger

Dr. Javid Ahmad Ahanger reviews Khalid Bashir Ahmad’s “Kashmir: Looking Back in Time (Politics, Culture, History)” (Atlantic, 2021) situating the author’s work within a larger tradition of historiography. In the process, Dr. Ahanger evaluates Bashir’s book for the value it adds to Kashmiri scholarship during contemporary times while visiting some of the core topics and ideas that the text unveils or that had not been considered previously with the type of historical analysis it brings to fore.

BOOK EXCERPT: Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation & Women's Activism in Kashmir (Zubaan, 2020) — by Ather Zia

BOOK EXCERPT: Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation & Women's Activism in Kashmir (Zubaan, 2020) — by Ather Zia

Inverse Journal presents an excerpt from the first chapter (“The Politics of Mourning”) of Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation & Women’s Activism in Kashmir (Zubaan, 2020) by Ather Zia. These selections are part of a book produced from the combination of rigorous academic research and a decade of robust fieldwork coupled with the capacity to present ethnography through a poetic language that the text internally innovates upon.

Along with a poem at end of the book’s introduction, Inverse Journal has included an independently curated visual bibliography with links and media relevant to the book and its author.

WHO KILLED MY SON: The Wounded Spectators of the 1990s — An Excerpt from Freny Manecksha's Behold, I Shine: Narratives of Kashmir’s Women and Children (Rupa Publications, 2017)

WHO KILLED MY SON: The Wounded Spectators of the 1990s — An Excerpt from Freny Manecksha's Behold, I Shine: Narratives of Kashmir’s Women and Children (Rupa Publications, 2017)

Inverse Journal presents Chapter 3 of Freny Manecksha’s seminal text on the women and children of Kashmir, that as much as a book is also a map of human stories bearing witness to suffering, struggle, perseverance, and hope. Inverse Journal has included a visual bibliography on articles, reviews and media relevant to the book and its author. This excerpt from Behold, I Shine: Narratives of Kashmir’s Women and Children (2017) is published in our Books section with permission from its author and by courtesy of the book’s publisher, Rupa Publications.

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Decolonizing Space: What The White Lotus and The Chair Get Wrong about Student Politics — by Shayoni Mitra

Decolonizing Space: What The White Lotus and The Chair Get Wrong about Student Politics — by Shayoni Mitra

In this piece, Shayoni Mitra, who teaches at Barnard College, Columbia University, provides a direly needed critique on two highly-watched and trending shows, The White Lotus (Netflix) and The Chair (HBO). While discussing what succeeds and stands out in both series, Dr. Mitra problematizes common fissures that reveal what is deeply absent from the plotlines, characterizations, and thematic undercurrents that respectively shape both of these popular series.

The Patronising Gaze of the Camera: The Problems with Constructing Visual Identity of Kashmiri Women Around Their Tears — by Sadaf Wani

The Patronising Gaze of the Camera: The Problems with Constructing Visual Identity of Kashmiri Women Around Their Tears — by Sadaf Wani

Previously translated into Bangla and published in Bama Patrika, a Bangla magazine on gender, Sadaf Wani’s piece explores the problems with creating and reproducing visual portrayals of Kashmiri women around their tears and moments of emotional vulnerability. Focusing on the practices of using photographs of grieving Kashmiri women to accessorize articles and events based around Kashmir, the piece discusses the insidiousness of such acts and how centering the visual identity of Kashmiri women only around certain kinds of visual portrayals contributes to the erasure of complex struggles and contributions of Kashmiri women.

This piece includes screenshots (provided by its author) from various sources, displayed here under “fair use” for illustrative purposes, with direct a citation for each source.

Decolonization: A Starter Kit + Notes on Fake Decolonization — by Bhakti Shringarpure

Decolonization: A Starter Kit + Notes on Fake Decolonization — by Bhakti Shringarpure

Dr. Bhakti Shringarpure of University of Connecticut is the editor-in-chief of Warscapes Magazine and specializes in literary and cultural studies, decolonization, gender studies and the Cold War. In this video Dr. Shringarpure gives an overview on decolonization and how it has suddenly became a buzzword in a conversation with Dr. Amrita Ghosh. The video is embedded directly from The Space Ink YouTube channel. Additionally, we have included Dr. Shringarpure’s article “Notes on Fake Decolonization” that asks important questions about what counts as ‘authentic’ decolonization “as the term takes over our social media and influencer bubbles?” The article also provides insight on “how we can sharpen our activism.” Republished from Africa is a Country via exclusive permission by its author. Also included is an independently curated visual bibliography by Inverse Journal with some of the important work produced by Dr. Shringapure over the years.

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Kashmir Meet After Two Years of Ruin: A Reckoning or a New Tack? — by Muzamil Jaleel

Kashmir Meet After Two Years of Ruin: A Reckoning or a New Tack? — by Muzamil Jaleel

In this timely piece (featured in our opinions and perspectives section), Muzamil Jaleel poses and evaluates two essential questions: Is New Delhi’s outreach to pro-India parties a tactical step to normalise the devastating changes introduced in J&K since August 5, 2019? Has the Sangh Parivar’s Kashmir project run up against a roadblock or has it been compelled by international players to change course?

Social Media and Commodifying Empathy in the Covid-era — by Dr. Amrita Ghosh

Social Media and Commodifying Empathy in the Covid-era — by Dr. Amrita Ghosh

This article traces various social media expressions during the ongoing pandemic and asks the overarching question: how should one understand, express and practice compassion and empathy in this new context of global – yet differential and graded – uncertainty, loss and suffering? It focuses on the unfamiliar shift of entire populations across the globe from physical, tangible spaces to a virtual, online presence and the consequent issue of what norms, rules and ethics govern this online area of expression and action during a pandemic. Caught between an either-or narrative between a display of privileged quarantine living, a sense of empathy for the marginalized or a downright lack of it, the article observes that social media responses to the pandemic produce a ‘competitive performative compassion.’ It argues that such compassion becomes fetishist and results in the very thing that the expressed compassion was meant to counter, that is, continued unequal suffering. This article was first published in Lund University, SASNET journal Chakra: A Nordic Journal of South Asian Studies, Special Issue: Articulations of a Pandemic (2020 ISSN 1652-0203) and is published here via permission by the author.

Seven Times Parveena Ahangar Spoke About Being a Mother Looking for Her Son

Seven Times Parveena Ahangar Spoke About Being a Mother Looking for Her Son

On August 18th of 1990, at 2 a.m., Parveena Ahangar’s 17-year-old son Javaid Ahmed was taken by a specialized counter-insurgency group (the National Security Guards of the Indian Army) during a night raid at her neighborhood in Batamaloo, Srinagar. Since then, she has not stopped seeking justice and answers from the state as to the whereabouts of her son and of so many Kashmiris subjected to enforced disappearance (approximately 8000 to 10,000 according to multiple sources). As the days and months passed since that 18th of August, Parveena, who had only been to school only till the 5th grade, learned how to speak languages other than her native Kashmiri in the hope of getting answers from the state. She learned Urdu and Hindi to the extent of becoming conversant in English terms and vocabularies used in government documents in state offices, in legal papers found in courts, in reports from police stations, and in records from prisons. In the process, she faced soldiers, state officials, advocates, judges, police officers, members of the press, and anyone who could give her any information about her son—all the while learning to speak the languages of those who had abducted her teenage son. The terms “went from pillar to post” and “corner to corner” have routinely been used in articles from the Kashmiri press in a multitude of ways, and in time have become synonymous to the efforts and dedication that Parveena put into seeking her son’s return and that of so many others whose families have been left in despair. Here are seven times when Parveena, as a mother and as the Founder and Chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, spoke of the struggles of such Kashmiri families whose plight is deeply tied to her own.

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On August 5, 2019 the Indian state abrogated Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution to make Kashmir a permanent territory within the Indian Union without prior consent or consultation with the people of Kashmir. For months, the Kashmiri press, television, media, mobile, telephony, internet and other essential services and institutions were shutdown under government order while dissidents, activists, and even government-sponsored politicians were put under arrest.

It became meaningless and practically impossible to keep this journal — dedicated to contemporary culture from Kashmir and around the world — running while Kashmir was put under unprecedented siege and lockdown. This special section of the journal was born out of necessity, to compile and directly cite various articles and sources from recognized media and academic institutions about what was unfolding in a Kashmir placed under complete blackout, siege and lockdown while millions of people were kept silent.

The curated selection presents Kashmiri voices and offers a perspective on such impositions from members of the Kashmiri press, academia, independent Indian and international media through proper citation and bibliographical reference. It also includes a variety of accounts from those whose basic freedoms were taken away.

All the articles, videos, media, academic articles, and other such content are cited and linked to their original sources, since Inverse was intended to be a space of cultural engagement in the arts and humanities, with a dedicated focus on academic thinking and contemporary cultural production. All of such editorial plans became impossible, blockaded by the collosal shifts enforced upon Kashmir and its peoples.

In memory of these events — and their ongoing impact on Kashmir and its peoples — this section has become a permanent part of this journal. For legal concerns, see the Editorial Disclaimer at the bottom of each page on this platform. 

Amjad Majid
Founding Editor
Inverse Journal

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

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.

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Over 170 Academics from Around the World Demand India Restore High-Speed Internet, Release Kashmiri Political Prisoners

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Over 170 Academics from Around the World Demand India Restore High-Speed Internet, Release Kashmiri Political Prisoners

While the world readjusts to handle the Coronavirus, Kashmir is stuck under 2G internet (which was first rolled out in 1995) and without adequate equipment and facilities. As a result, the following letter has been sent from the Kashmir Scholars Consultative and Action Network (KSCAN) and Concerned Academics & Professionals from around the world to the World Health Organization, UN Special Rapporteurs, and various international health organizations. You can view the official letter here. We have included relevant links embedded directly from the original news sources at the bottom of this letter. For more, check out our Kashmir 2019 Siege section.

A Kashmiri Heart at Siege — A Personal Account by Omair Bhat

A Kashmiri Heart at Siege — A Personal Account by Omair Bhat

August of 2019 became a month of insomnia, despair and nightmare-ridden sleep for most Kashmiris, and particularly for those who were stranded away from home while Kashmir was put under a media, telecommunications, internet, broadcast news and public transport blockade unshy from being a complete lockdown and siege. Kashmiri poet and writer Omair Bhat presents his personal log of the first two weeks of such restless nights and tiresome days, when desperation competed with grief and anger to suffocate people like him in an endless uncertainty.

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