Lal Bazar

 

In the early 90s, people in downtown Srinagar faced the brunt of Indian military forces’ brutalisation. Downtown or the Old Srinagar has been at the forefront of the Kashmiri struggle for independence since centuries. In fact the first revolt against Dogra in 1864 started in its Zaldagar area.

In 1990s, the rebels found home in the maze of alleys and lanes. The underground movement had massive support in Downtown. Thus the military choked this area with a camp or a bunker at almost every nook and corner. It resembled casbah in Algiers when the Algerian armed struggle to overthrow the French started.

The arsons of Kaw Dara and Noor Bagh in the early nineties saw more than 300 properties summarily burnt down (including homes, schools and shops) shocked people. No one expected this incursion in their daily lives. Fear grew by the day. It forced many to consider leaving downtown — the crucible of Srinagar’s culture — to the outskirts or Lal Bazar.

What academicians would call ‘internal displacement’ due to conflict.

Other factor being the families were getting bigger and thus needed to find more space. Read more

Using ‘genocide’ at High School

It was a midsummer’s morning, I vividly recall. I reached school. I went to the sports room and took out the marching drums for the morning assembly. After the assembly was over, i was beating on the drums. It was the time for students to go to their classes. In the midst of the dust that kept flying in the air at the footsteps of the students. I saw Mr. J’s face and my face turned blue. The drumstick started slipping from my sweaty hands, my knees started shaking and panic set in my heart. Read more

Folk-tales of Kashmir

The collection of folk-stories of Kashmir is believed to have been a favourite past-time for Britishers who came to Kashmir on holidays or part of the administration. Among them Reverend James Hinton Knowles a Christian missionary published this folk-tales translation in 1888.

Here’s a free version of Reverend J. Hinton Knowles’ book called the Folktales of Kashmir. You can download it here.