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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.