Often the voices which go unheard possess the ability to reveal the bare facts. The image of Kashmir, reflected by the mainstream media, is a complex one caught in the midst of much debate, critical analysis and the odd, strategically-timed media silence, even as it remains eulogised for its unparalleled beauty. Opinions about ‘the Kashmir issue’ are a dime a dozen, but often, it is the views of the people who are actually under the realm of real conflict - whose voices are ultimately the most important - which are lost in the pandemonium. It is with the goal of creating a platform for these viewpoints that the online publication, The Kashmir Walla came into being in 2009, today a full-fledged monthly publication that is ‘an insider’s story book of life in Kashmir’.
What was only a blog at the onset has come a long way since, in providing a closer look at the individual and collective struggles of Kashmiris in the region through matchless narratives. Founded by Journalist Fahad Shah, the publication today incorporates literature of resistance, art and poetry by common people, and not just established writers, from Asia, Middle East and Central Asia.
A screenshot from 'The Kashmir Walla', a digital publication discussing politics, business, culture and the stories of the people of Kashmir.
"There has been brutal murder on the streets of Srinagar that has not been reported well in India, so they turned to new media...opened up websites like Kashmirwalla and I'm heartened by that.”
"We wanted a breathing space, wherein the reality of Kashmir and the incidents that occur in the valley would get honestly reported,"
"We have had themes like the issues pertaining to Kashmiri Pundits, Kashmir and literature and the tragedies of Kashmir, including the bloody massacre of 1931, on our website."
Fahad Shah, writer, journalist and filmmaker, is the founder and editor of The Kashmir Walla. Source: bradfordliteraturefestival.co.uk
"It took me more than three months to capture the images, but they are erased the moment they appear."
“No one from Kashmir used to speak up. Now Kashmiris want to do things on their own. The generation born around 1988 to 1992 is more interested in reading and writing. They’re more interested in reporting on their own lives.”
“apart from the youth on the streets, there are also those with their noses in books...”
“make its way into the world with its private traumas. Life under political oppression has begun to yield, in the slow bitter way it does, a rich intellectual and artistic harvest.”
Words: Sushant Kumar & Aditi Dharmadhikari