Episode 1: The Kashmiri Internet
First episode of my first ever podcast online. It’s about Kashmir (obviously), the internet and the defying off all odds.
Available on iTunes
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Over the many decades, many non-Kashmiris who have zero Kashmiri experience, have written songs, novels, articles and even books. Most of this literature and art, turns out to be culturally appropriating Kashmiris, and their culture of resistance.
After careful research, and consistent trolling, here are few things you must consider before writing about Kashmir or its people. Continue reading “How to write Kashmir”
Verinag, is a small town in Islamabad, South of Kashmir. Apart from being a tourist spot, it’s also the major source of the River Jhelum. Springs or nags as Kashmiris call it, are also sites of pilgrimages for the Hindu community in Kashmir.
On the way to Verinag, lies the small village of Kapron close to the restive district of Kulgam. With its picturesque valley and a dense forest, Kapron was a busy village in the late 20th century.
Kapron had iron ore that was mined by Kashmiris to make agricultural implements. In Kashmiri, an ironsmith is called a ‘Khar’. After the Treaty of Amritsar, Kashmir was sold by the British to the Dogras. The Hindu supremacist Dogra regime suffocated Kashmiri industries with exorbitant taxation especially on Kashmiri Muslims.
One of the families that were in the business of iron, Khars or Bhats of Kapron suffered tremendous losses. They left their properties and their homeland, escaping from the tyrannical tax system.
Continue reading “The Great Gama and the Migration”
There’s this story of my grandfather’s workshop that Baba would recall often.
My grandfather’s workshop was located in Jabgaripur, a small mohalla in the maze of Nowhatta lanes and alleys. Often this woodcarving workshop colleagues (czatboaj) would go to the Mughal gardens. Led by the woste (the chief) that was my grandfather or Abba as my father would call him, they would take a break from the noise of theaps (wood hammer) and the tools that would carve paisleys and chinars on the hard surface of the walnut wood.
My grandfather was best friends with Ghulam Ahmed Sofi, the famed Kashmiri classical singer, who also happened to be wood-carving artisan. On occasions, the popular demand of the chatbojs would be to ask Am Soof as he was lovingly called, to sing a sufiyaan qalaam whenever he would come visit.
So this time, the workshop had decided to go to Shalimar. Like the tradition is with the Kashmiri picnics, the food is the heart of all matter. It’s not hanging out, if there’s no food, it holds true to this day.
Of Abba’s colleagues, his immediate woste was Amme Qaez, Ghulam Ahmad Qazi who is the father of a famous teacher, Shafi Qaez in Nowshera.
As they were going to the Shalimar wearing the Keashur dastar, looking like Budshah’s nobles, Amme Qaez on his way to the Shalimar, lost money from his pocket. Apparently his pyjamas (yazaar) had a hole, and the money had found an escape and fallen somewhere. In those days, the rupee was valued a lot.
One of the reasons was that Kashmris were generally poor, another being that Indian state that governs our economy wasn’t a free market yet.
So for Amme Qaez, the happy day to escape the noise of the karkhaane. To smoke the Hubble-bubble while listening to Amme Suufe, turned out to be a disaster. One of his mates, asked the grumpy Qaez sb, while they were inside the Shalimar, how he was feeling in the lush and magnificent gardens of the Shalimar
” basaan tchum soari duniya dazaan”(the world seems to be on fire for me)
I was thinking about this story the other night. That how something you hold dear, can mean so much. If the heart is happy, everything around us has a meaning. Without the happiness of the heart, the world just seems like a lifeless post-card.
Continue reading “Amme Qeaz yeli ruush.”
I wanted to write something today. It came out sad. So i just backspaced it all. Maybe next time.