When the Light Dawned by Somnath Zutshi — A Book Excerpt from The Greatest Kashmiri Short Stories Ever Told (trans. Neerja Mattoo, Aleph, 2022)

When the Light Dawned by Somnath Zutshi — A Book Excerpt from The Greatest Kashmiri Short Stories Ever Told (trans. Neerja Mattoo, Aleph, 2022)

We are proud to present Somnath Zutshi’s short story “When the Light Dawned” excerpted from The Greatest Kashmiri Short Stories Ever Told (Aleph, 2022) selected and translated by Neerja Mattoo. Inverse Journal has independently curated a visual bibliography of links relevant to the book and its author. Special thanks to Majid Maqbool for sourcing this excerpt.

Understanding Kant’s Duty-Based Ethics — by Faizan Akbar

Understanding Kant’s Duty-Based Ethics — by Faizan Akbar

Faizan Akbar presents a paper that also operates as an extensive book review of Immanuel Kant’s “Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals” (1785). After providing an apt introduction of the German philosopher, along with a summary of his other works, Akbar proceeds to effectively synthesize the main ideas and focal points found in Kant’s 60-page work. Secondly, Faizan also completes the task of reviewing such a seminal work of philosophical importance and contextualizes its greater relevance within the broader Western philosophical tradition.

Books and Songs That Carried Us Through 2021 — by Inverse Contributors

Books and Songs That Carried Us Through 2021 — by Inverse Contributors

As we come to the end of this difficult year and enter the new one, Inverse Journal has asked its contributors to participate in a collective piece where they share—with our readers and their fellow contributors—the one book and/or the one song that stayed with them throughout the year or during a considerable part of it. Below are entries from some of our contributors who responded to the online survey and shared their picks for this 2021 as it passes by. In a human world where catastrophe and devastation also wreak their havoc on meaning-making and signification, one imagines that books and songs are imbued with a restorative and restructuring power—with both operating within and outside of human time. It with this thought in mind that Inverse Journal presents a limited selection of such books and songs curated and picked by some of the same contributors who make this space possible.

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.

Rumours of Spring – A Commentary by Tabish Rafiq Mir

Rumours of Spring – A Commentary by Tabish Rafiq Mir

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.

Reading The Book Thief in Kashmir — A Review by Toiba Paul

Reading The Book Thief in Kashmir — A Review by Toiba Paul

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

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.

“What will happen now, Abbu?” — An Excerpt from “Life in the Clock Tower Valley” (Speaking Tiger Books, 2021) by Shakoor Rather

“What will happen now, Abbu?” — An Excerpt from “Life in the Clock Tower Valley” (Speaking Tiger Books, 2021) by Shakoor Rather

“Life in the Clock Tower Valley”, the debut novel by Kashmiri journalist Shakoor Rather, travels between “Kashmir’s pristine past, its grievous present and always uncertain future, giving us an insider’s view into everyday life and emotions in the conflict-ridden valley.” Inverse Journal presents an exclusive excerpt from the novel, published here with permission from Speaking Tiger Books. Also included is an independently curated list of links pertinent to the novel and its author.

“Nothing moved except the mirage”: Analysing Fear and Freedom in Adania Shibli’s Minor Detail — by Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee

“Nothing moved except the mirage”: Analysing Fear and Freedom in Adania Shibli’s Minor Detail — by Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee

Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee presents an academic paper that is also a book review for Palestinian author Adania Shibli’s 2020 novel, “Minor Detail” (New Directions). A finalist for the National Book Award, “Minor Detail” is one of the most relevant works of contemporary Palestinian literature that connects 1949 and the Nakba with present day Palestine—as its protagonist digs into the past to uncover horrific truths. Mukherjee’s response and writing on the novel and its many themes is essential to understanding the greater depth to be found in decades of Israeli occupation over Palestinian land and life. The academic not only includes relevant criticism within this piece but also integrates theoretical formulations and observations by various scholars and thinkers that are pertinent to her own readings, such that through her ‘book-review-as-academic-paper’ one gets access to entire bodies and fields of knowledge, from postcolonial theory to resistance literature. Just as “Minor Detail” tells the story of a people and their larger history by means of a protagonist, Dr. Mukherjee’s paper offers multiple vectors of understanding in order to facilitate incisive critical engagement with this recent work of Palestinian literature.

Prajnya Gender Talks: Muslim Women, Agency and Resistance in Kashmir — by Dr. Inshah Malik

Prajnya Gender Talks: Muslim Women, Agency and Resistance in Kashmir — by Dr. Inshah Malik

Dr. Inshah Malik speaks in relative detail about her monograph, “Muslim Women, Agency and Resistance Politics: The Case of Kashmir” (Palgrave Pivot, 2019). The book presents a considerable volume of research and knowledge about the agency of Muslim Kashmiri women and their varied roles in forming and shaping resistance, a subject that has been undermined, if not ignored, in the global arena of academic writing. As such, this seminal text serves to break multiple stereotypes and myths, while uncovering the history of a multifarious resistance by Kashmiri women, whether against state control, patriarchy (both militarized and societal) or political repression. As a visiting professor, Dr. Malik also gave a related lecture on the subject for the South Asia Center at the University of Washington earlier last year. Relevant links included.