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 from any habituated meanings or notions of love by relying on the power of metaphor and imagery—and in doing so revitalizes such meanings or notions.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.