Kashmir boasts of a thriving blogging culture – there are more than 100 bloggers writing and voicing their views from the Valley, everyday. Prolific and articulate, these bloggers are writing about everything ranging from politics, to culture, to old memories, to food. Take a look.
The Literati of the Valley
Srinagar was a cold place. Dangerous. It’s no place for young birds, someone had told him. It was a sad place where life had ceased to exist, somehow. Look where are we now! He wondered what had happened. He looked at the pulpit of the sanctum for an answer. None came. The medieval city caught in a violent war.
Appeals and Answers, as appeared on Rich Autumns
You can read the full piece here. A love for language runs deep in Kashmir – a region torn by violence. It is often said that pain produces prose. And so you will find plenty of flowy prose and even a few poems by Kashmiris.
There’s Junaid Rather’s Rendevouz with the Rebels, where he writes how he was “excited” to meet militants for the first time as a young kid, when they had slipped into their house in Natipora.
The Games We Played When The Lights Went Out, is a nostalgic reminder of the outdoor games that Kashmiri kids used to play when the lights went out, which was more often than not.
There’s also Chinar Shade, which chronicles a literary and cultural account of Kashmir.
The Photographers of Kashmir
Photo blogs have been diligently documenting life in Kashmir. There’s Wander Kashmir, then there’s Sajad Rafeeq. Like them, there are many other bloggers who refuse to turn the shutters of their cameras off.
Writing Politically Charged Posts
Bloggers in Kashmir aren’t tied to any one ideology. There are equivocal conversations across the board. Kashmiris are also not afraid to voice their opinions about current events.
Sectarian Violence: “The Last Thing We Need”
On the protests in Kashmir against the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia on January 2, The Skull Cap writes
As a Kashmiri, I find this worrisome, if not dangerous already. We are seeing country after country in the Middle East struggling to come out of imported and imposed-sectarianism fuelled wars which refuse to die, one of the reasons being the fighters owing allegiance to either side of the Persian Gulf. I don’t think we can afford people getting divided on the same lines in Kashmir.
The Skull Cap
Among senior journalists, Ahmed Ali Fayyaz, Ex-J&K bureau chief, The Hindu, and presently Srinagar bureau chief, Daily Excelsior too, runs his own blog reporting and opining on the goings on in Kashmir. Kashmir fact file: Javaid Malik in Srinagar is another blog run by a senior editor at Greater Kashmir.
The Expressions of Kashmiri Pandits
Kashmiris in Exile has been a platform for Kashmiri Pandits to voice their anger. About the ceremonial display of solidarity by the media every year on Kashmiri Exodus Day, a blogger writes
9th January 1990 is commemorated as the day when Indian secularism was butchered in the valley of Kashmir.19th January is more than just an anniversary though. It is also a day on which without fail the world wakes up to the plight of the pandits. A storm of people showing solidarity, politicians making promises and some people welcoming pandits back with open arms, but as soon as the day passes with tragic inevitability, the pandits remain where they have been since 26 years now – in the middle of nowhere. Unfruitful debates on TV channels, political promises, rhetoric and ignorance are ruining the cause of Kashmiri Pandits since more than two decades now.
Kashmiri Youth Speak
About how the students of Kashmir feel, you could read Umar Lateef’s pieceon criminalising Kashmiri students.
Coming to our seats of highest learning, the universities, their (Indian army’s) administrative practices reflect a motive of dehumanising the student. “No Smoking” or “No Kissing”, the signs we normally see around university campuses, is replaced by the neurotic assumption (signs) of students yielding “Ammunition”.
Foodgasms in the Valley
Cups of nun chai is a one-man project, which is all about tea and conversations. Participants are invited to talk over a cup of nun chai, about the current situation in Kashmir. Besides that, many other food blogs will certainly give you foodgasms talking about eating tujj, haakh and Rogan josh.
And if you want to learn to cook the almost unpronounceable Bammetchoonthh ti Maaz, there’s always DaanKutth to help you out.
In case you wish to read some more, do check out the 100-plus list of Kashmiri Bloggers curated by Francesca Recchia and Rich Autumns.