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.
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.
Quratulain Qureshi presents a poem that sends across a message that the poet summarizes clearly, without embellishments, and in her own words: “It is wrong and highly problematic to equate the fight of a people for their rights and dignity with that of the oppressive methods of their persecutors. Hence, this poem: an address to the advocates of such a ‘pacifism’.”
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.
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.
In a poem that invokes Edward Said’s memorable words in the first verse, Bayed Mubarak surprisingly takes an altogether different direction in engaging with a language of simplicity and childhood. A bird, Captain Fluf’, becomes a metaphor for innocence at a time when children have been killed with bombs that wouldn’t spare pigeons or any other life form—all under the pretext of self-defense and counter-terrorism. The poem might not communicate such things overtly, but the type of anger that is born from unimaginable violence is a clear motif that draws the point home with sarcastic bitterness.
Parray Shahid presents two grief-stricken poems that travel to a distant land and to its peoples, who in many ways are closer to the heart of Kasheer than any nearby neighbor—especially in what concerns a kinship formed from a state of subjugation, and sealed with a pact of resistance.
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.
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).
After the release of his album (Shalakh) and the music video for the title track by the same name, SXR returns with the music video for Faasley, the fourth track from this latest collection of songs. Faasley is an emotionally charged Hip Hop ballad delivered as a solemn ode to remembrance in the face of estrangement, separation, distance, and loss.