Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir [The Reality of Kashmir]: A Journey of Counter-Memory

On Sept 7, we invite EVERYONE to come join us at noon, at the Municipal Park (near GPO), Srinagar, as we mark the “dark times” of the military occupation, and commemorate the luminosity of AZADI: the light of faith, of freedom, of our blood-soaked struggle for justice, dignity, and true peace. Luminosity that cuts through the deep darkness of the “dark times” and reflects the resilience of human spirit in all its grace.

Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir: The Reality of Kashmir
Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir: The Reality of Kashmir

A Cultural Aesthetic Tribute to the Resilience and Struggle of the People of Jammu & Kashmir

“In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.”
~ Bertolt Brecht

On Sept 7, we invite EVERYONE — and not just a handpicked 1500 — to come join us at noon, at the Municipal Park (near GPO), Srinagar, as we mark the “dark times” of the military occupation, and commemorate the luminosity of AZADI: the light of faith, of freedom, of our blood-soaked struggle for justice, dignity, and true peace. Luminosity that cuts through the deep darkness of the “dark times” and reflects the resilience of human spirit in all its grace.

We invite EVERYONE to send in cultural aesthetic texts: poetry, paintings, photographs, multimedia, performance art, songs, et cetera on the ABOVE THEME to haqeeqatekashmir@gmail.com

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Of Niqabs, Monsters, and Decolonial Feminisms

By Huma Dar

A woman in niqab being arrested in Paris, April 12, 2011, copyright EPA

Of Civilities and Dignities

On 22 June 2009, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, asserted that burqas (or the burqa-clad?) are “not welcome” in France, adding that “[i]n our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity” and that “the veils reduced dignity.” France’s Muslim minority is Western Europe’s largest Muslim minority, estimated at six-million-strong.  And this is just an approximation, as the French Republic implicitly claims to be post-race and post-religion via a prohibition on any census that would take into account the race or religion of its citizens. (This anxiety mirrors the brouhaha in Indian media àpropos the much-contested enumeration of OBCs or Other Backward Castes in the Indian census surveys of 2011, or the urgency to declare some spaces post-caste, post-feminist, and post-racist while casteism, patriarchy and racism continue unabated.)

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Macy Gray, I Don’t Want a 4 Minute Peace!

Dear Macy Gray,

Macy Gray visits with Consul General of Israel, Jacob Dayan in Los Angeles, as BDS activists around the world plea with her not to entertain apartheid.
Macy Gray visits with Consul General of Israel, Jacob Dayan in Los Angeles, as BDS activists around the world plea with her not to entertain apartheid.

I’ve publicly declared that I won’t give up on you and I intend to keep to my resolution. You keep on asking how not playing in Israel will help the situation. You seem to believe that you are nothing but a 4 minute escape for people (the majority of which, as I explained in my last letter, are soldiers). I believe in each of our endless ability to change the reality around us. But in order to do so, we need to see the reality for what it is. This is what my letters to you are about. This is what the 20 Days to Macy Gray Facebook Project is about. It’s an opportunity for people to empower each other. I hope you’ll allow us to bring back your faith in yourself, that your voice matters, and that you can change this harsh world for the better, for the long run, and not only for the 4 minute duration of a song.

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Kashmir: Trapped Within Hindu Nationalist Imagination

In annexing Kashmir, Indian leaders put aside their progressive anti-colonialism, and pursued a policy that stood in direct confrontation with the goals of struggling Kashmiris. Nehru’s professed derision for princes and despots proved facile in Kashmir in this first real test of his commitment to anti-colonialism and democratic values. His decision to urge the discredited and runaway Dogra ruler to sign the imperial Instrument of Accession, and then accept it, was a defeat for the oppressed Kashmiris who had, with great sacrifices, forced the Dogra ruler out. By recognizing the authority of the Dogra ruler, Indian sovereignty over Kashmir simply replaced the sovereignty enshrined in the Dogra maharaja. But along with that sovereignty, India inherited Dogra rule’s illegitimacy as well.

by Mohamad Junaid

(First published in Greater Kashmir on August 5, 2010)

Untitled by Samurah Kashmiri, August 5, 2010
Untitled by Samurah Kashmiri, August 5, 2010
Bharat Mata or Mother India
Bharat Mata or Mother India

On 26 January 1992, Murli Manohar Joshi, the leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, after travelling by road all the way from the southern tip of India, was airlifted from Jammu to the heart of Srinagar where he half-raised the Indian flag near historic Lal Chowk. All of Kashmir was put under severe curfew, and the army was given shoot-at-sight orders. Throughout the day soldiers shot dead more than a dozen Kashmiris in the streets of Srinagar. Over the previous two years, the Indian government had unleashed a reign of terror on the people, with massacre upon massacre of unarmed protestors dotting Kashmir’s timeline. Joshi’s Ekta Yatra (Unity March), protected and provided of full support by the Indian government, was an important reminder of the nature of the Indian state and the relationship it sought with the people of Kashmir. The event was designed to put on display the majoritarian character of Indian nationhood, and line up power of the state behind it to send barely coded messages to audiences in India and in Kashmir.

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“O, God! Have mercy on me! Distracted, I whirl” — Rumi’s Gift

Not frivolously, around the alleys and bazaars, I whirl.
Lover’s temperament, I have — to have one glimpse of my Beloved, I whirl.

by Maulana Rumi

Singing: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Qawwaals

Translated by Huma Dar

Raqs al-Ruhani, al-Qahirah (Huma Dar 2005)
Naa Man Behooda Gird-e Koocha-o-Baazaar Mi Gardam (Huma Dar 2005)

نه من  بيهوده  گرد کوچه  و  بازار  می  گردم
مذاق عاشقی  دارم  پئ  ديدار  ميگردم

خدايا  رحم  کن  بر  من  پريشان وار  می  گردم
خطا کارم  گناھگارم  به  حال زار  می  گردم

شراب شوق  می نوشم  به  گرد يار  می  گردم
سخن مستانه  می گويم  ولے  هوشيار  می  گردم

گھےخندم  گھے گريم گھے افتم  گھے خيزم
مسيحا  در دلم  پيدا  و  من  بيمار  می گردم

بیا جانا  عنایت  کن  تو  مولانای رومی  را
غلام  شمس  تبریزم  قلندروار  می گردم

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NASA’s timelapse images of Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Time-lapse video of the devastating Gulf region oil spill. The images are from NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Satellite Timelapse April 20 – May 24 2010


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