Kashmir Music Live reviews SXR’s long-awaited album titled Shalakh. The review includes commentary on many of the songs featured on the album, with discussions on the stylistic and thematic elements that shape this major release by the Kashmiri Hip Hop artist.....
Oyekunle Ifeoluwa Peter presents two poems with the underlying themes of grief, loss and pain, all of which are ontologically located within the geography of a body or within the fragile edifice of being. Both poems convey a maturity that is spiritual and offer verses that communicate the perseverance of a poetic voice that has oared through hurricanes and storms, within and without.....
Kashmiri Aesthetics is an Instagram channel run by young Savi Bukhari, who created the space to explore visual, literary, and textual aspects of Kashmiri culture and history and to present these to people on social media, especially young Kashmiris. In the following interview, Inverse Journal discusses the motives behind such a creative undertaking and the larger questions that emerge as one begins to engage with Kashmiri Aesthetics on a popular social media platform.....
Inverse Journal presents these haunting verses by emerging Nigerian poet Eniola Abdulroqeeb Arówólò, in a poem that attempts to seek distance from the lingering grief caused by death. In the poem, the young poet and Mass Communications student reveals the passing of his friend “who committed suicide this year”, the death of his “grandmother in 2017” and “the gruesome extrajudicial killing of Chibok girls from the Eastern part of Nigeria by Boko Haram.” As the poet states, “Elegy in which I am bidding....
Inverse Journal introduces “4 Shadows”, Azim Hassan’s solo exhibition recently held at Daye Art Gallery in Hangzhou, China. The exhibition gathered ten years of Azim’s work, from the Anantnag native’s early days in Kashmir to more recent creative explorations from his years in Hangzhou.....
Dr. Asima Hassan brings us a touching poem that addresses the loss of life as it relates to the bond between a mother and a child. Perhaps the most difficult topic to explore through any artform, yet central to Picasso’s “Guernica”, Dr. Hassan’s poem verbalizes the unspeakable to give a contour to unfathomable grief.....
"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.....
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.....
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.....
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....
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.....
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.....
Set in Chakothi, a village halfway between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, Ifreen Raveen’s short story follows the life of Jabar Khan, an old man separated from his family during the partition of Kashmir between India and Pakistan. In focussing on the protagonist’s longing for reunion, Raveen produces a compelling piece of fiction that ascends from an individual’s struggle and grief into the collective state of those displaced and separated during the 1947 partition.
Juvaria Syed introduces a piece of fiction that is an attempted decalcomania of the ruminations of common Kashmiri people—an attempt to chart the dispersed wanderings, expressed in word, that form a variegated Kashmiri consciousness—ultimately resulting in a fictional text that is closer to reality than the framings of most mediatized constructions. The piece is shaped by nine sections that reveal fundamental preoccupations, misgivings, apprehensions, and cynicism that many readers will identify with and are felt during various periods of time. The tone registered in Syed’s fictional prose oscillates between cynical, satirical and parodic in certain parts so as to shed light on how closely the political is intertwined with the absurd in Kashmir. Beyond these limited and summarized descriptions, here is a piece of fiction that maintains a dialogue between the personal and the political. Along the same lines, Syed’s writing finds its creative form between heteroglossia and polyphony—while experimenting with style to give voice to narrators who otherwise are made to remain invisible or are subjected to constant erasures and silences that most Kashmiris are well-acquainted with. The piece is accompanied by a “Reference for Code Switching” (at the end) with the English translations of specific words and terms found in Syed’s writing.
Inverse Journal presents three short stories by Anton Chekhov translated into Urdu and Hindi, and recorded in audiobook format by Adbi Dunya. We have included links to the full text in English translation for each of these stories.
Under Covid-19 confinement, Saima Afreen presents a non-fiction piece written in a literary style that allows the writer to venture far beyond the subjects of its title, into an introspective engagement with her experiences and memories to the greater visions before her, in a ‘mind state’ of lockdown that is relatable to many yet communicable by few. The writer provides articulations that oscillate between poetic imagery and literary prose to shape an experience of preventive pandemic lockdown from the Indian cosmopolis, traversing into a territory outside of solitude and well past the quarantined self.
Negative Female Portrayals in the Folktales of the Raantas, the Kikimora and the Banshee — by Aadil Hussain
Aadil Hussain problematizes the portrayal of sinister and fear-inducing female figures in traditional folktales from multiple cultures, starting with his own.
Majid Maqbool curates a list of 10 must-read essays on Kashmir by Gautam Navlakha, taken from a larger body of work that spans decades of Gautam’s engagement with Kashmir. The curated list includes a general introduction by Majid and a summary and preview for each of the pieces linking back to the original sources where these writings were published. Inverse Journal has also provided relevant links (at the end of this curated list) directly embedded from Indian and international organizations in view of recent events pertaining to Gautam Navlakha’s detention at this vulnerable time during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
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.
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.
First released in 2012, “My Neighborhood” is a documentary film that follows the life of Mohammed El Kurd, “a Palestinian boy growing up in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the heart of East Jerusalem. When Mohammed turns 11, his family is forced to give up part of their home to Israeli settlers, who are leading a campaign of court-sanctioned evictions to guarantee Jewish control of the area.”
Produced for Just Vision, an organization seeking to build peace between Palestinians and Israelis, the symbolic meaning of this film has ascended to greater historical importance given the current and horrific situation being lived in the neighborhood at the center of this film and by extension in the rest of Palestine.
More than a decade later, the producers of the film held an online screening on April 22, 2021, followed by a discussion about Sheikh Jarrah with the film’s protagonist, Mohammed El Kurd (now in his 20s), and Just Vision’s Director of Education and Outreach in Palestine and the film’s producer, Rula Salameh. The conversation was moderated by Just Vision’s Executive Director, Suhad Babaa.
In war-stricken Palestine, a woman prepares a meal for her family to break the fast in the month of Ramadan. A phone call by an Israeli soldier alerts her of the bombing of her building in 10 minutes. Coming to accept her family’s fate is the only way she has to make a stand for her life, with grim consequences. Synopsis by Sergio Salazar. The film is based on a ‘standard procedure’ that was ‘innovated’ and put into effect by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) since 2008.
“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.”
Revisiting PSYCHO (Prod.by Prophecy - SOS ft. SXR & Imaad) — A Kashmiri Hip Hop Review by Amjad Majid
Exactly one year after its release, Amjad Majid revisits one of the most iconic songs from Kashmiri Hip Hop, with a music video that gathered some of the primary figures and the younger generations who developed and expanded the genre, and continue to do so to this very day.
On a symbolic date such as this one, Kashmir Music Live and Amjad Majid present their review of Ahmer’s “Inqalab” EP that arrived in the aftermath of August 5, 2019—as a creative and artistic response to the conditions imposed on an entire Kashmiri population. In rebelling against the unmaking of a specific history, this timely musical release made a history of its own. In this joint review, Kashmir Music Live and Majid revisit the EP and discuss how that happened and the place that this singular musical work holds in the world of contemporary Kashmiri music.
Amjad Majid presents three live performances by Kashmiri music collective Gaekhir Republik that rescue the soul from the constructed time imposed on a subject confined to an equally constructed space, far removed from the Kashmir whose memory we struggle to keep palpitant. In the process, Majid addresses larger questions regarding contemporary Kashmiri music, locating Gaekhir Republik’s performances and musical style within developing notions of such music that this young generation of musicians is shaping along with their peers in the nascent contemporary Kashmiri music scene.
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 Kimberley Coronavirus Animation — Feature and Interview with Director and Producer Bernadette Trench-Thiedeman
The Kimberley Coronavirus Animation combines the joint effort of contemporary artists and professionals, from filmmakers, directors, painters, animators, sound engineers, music composers to voice-over artists, performers, and translators, whose collaboration during quarantine has materialized in this community-specific piece of work to raise awareness and provide key contextual information. In our view, this effort sets an example on how artists, producers and creatives can come together to make use of their skills, experience and knowledge within their respective fields to combine creative forces to reach out to marginalized and dispossessed communities that face an altogether different set of challenges in this time of extreme vulnerability. Inverse Journal is proud to present the Kimberley Coronavius Animation that has been circulating widely around the internet and social media. Included is a feature interview with its producer, director and editor, Bernadette Trench-Thiedeman, to familiarize international audiences with the whole project, its specific cultural context, and the creative collaborations that made it possible.
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.
Toiba Paul presents her review of “The Book Thief”, the best-selling novel by Markus Zusak that was also adapted into a popular film. Toiba’s review more specifically addresses the commonalities of the human experience shared between those who lived in wartime Germany with the Nazi regime in power and those who have live in Kashmir. While no direct analogy is perfect, the review focuses on individual experiences and suffering brought about by war and relates these back and forth between the world depicted in the novel and the world that surrounds people living in Kashmir. Since literature and fiction are particularly adept in communicating individual experiences of circumstances as vast as war, Paul is effective in conveying the similitude that exists between the Kashmiri experience under war with that of the characters in Zusak’s novel. In doing so, the young writer makes a compelling case for why “The Book Thief” should be read widely in Kashmir and how it can help contextualize the unaddressed experiences of those who live or have had to live under brutal violence and repression.
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.
Manan Shah revisits a heritage site that holds the answers to a significant number of questions about the presence and development of Buddhism in Kashmir’s lengthy history. As a student of archaeology and ancient history, Shah offers a core introduction to a site of great importance that was excavated in 1923. Till date, the Buddhist Monastery at Harwan remains a marker of a Kashmiri history that places the Himalayan territory as an important historic location for the convergence of multiple cultures. In its exposition, Shah’s piece also shows Kashmir’s inherent cultural sophistication through a reading of Harwan as an archaeological and historical site that provides a view into Kashmir’s past far beyond the mediatized discourses and reductive narratives that attempt to represent Kashmir within a limited scope of relevance and importance—as a mere socio-political appendage whose place in South Asian and Central Asian history remains posited on shaky ground. Perhaps inadvertently, this essential piece provides an introductory glace into a history where Kashmir is a center and not some territory within the margins set by others—and in that, a place frequently referenced by multiple visitors seeking both knowledge and answers. The piece features the author’s photography of the site that was included in the World History Encyclopedia (republished here via CC-NC-SA).
On Frantz Fanon, Postcolonial and Middle Eastern Studies, and Palestine and Kashmir — Anthony Alessandrini in Conversation with Amrita Ghosh
Dr. Amrita Ghosh presents the transcript for an exclusive interview and conversation with Professor Anthony Alessandrini (City University of New York, USA) conducted on October 28, 2020, as a part of a MA course on Postcolonial theory that Dr. Ghosh taught during Fall 2020 as a visiting lecturer at Linnaeus University (LNU). The transcript is the result of an online conversation on Decolonization, Fanon, Middle Eastern Studies and multiple commentaries that include Professor Alessandrini’s views on Palestine and Kashmir. Inverse Journal has included a list of relevant links for those interested in engaging further with Professor Alessandrini’s work, research and academic writing.
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.
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.
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.