In the Shade of Fallen Chinar | Film | Kashmir | Music – Art – Resistance


Someone like me in the 1990’s
would have picked up a gun. 20 years later, I picked up a guitar
with the same ideology – to resist. Art is an emotional
release for me. A lot of things get accumulated inside. To balance that, you need art. We have photographers who actually
document the realities of Kashmir. Who want to tell the pain and sorrow of the people. That they have been suffering from the
1990’s, or you can even say from 1947. The Kashmir University doest really
give a vent to the students. Both in literal forms
and artistic forms. Since the 1990s conflict,
we don’t have a students’ union here. It has been banned. My name is Shahariar. I am doing Masters in Journalism
from the Kashmir University. I am a photographer
and photojournalist. I have been working in Kashmir
for more than six years. From 2011, I have been
shooting protests and other happenings in Kashmir. This part of the downtown is
the most affected place during every protest, on every Friday. Police use pepper gas and
tear smoke shells. These places are
already congested. There is no space for smoke to lift away. From 1992, we have been witnessing
many things unfolding in Kashmir. I had been a journalist since 2011,
shooting gun battles and funerals. I have even been shooting the
art and culture of Kashmir. We are moving through Naseem Bag, this
is the best part of the university. It has more than 500-600 Chinar tree. This chinar tree has become the
meeting place for all art lovers. There are photographers, journalists,
singers, rappers and artists. This place became a
point of attraction for anyone who believes that
art can make a change. I am Ali Saifuddin. I am from Hasanabad 2 km from here in
downtown Srinagar. I am a guitarist
and song writer. Conflict is a perfect
place for art to thrive. Art for the heck of
art is one thing. Art for personal healing
is something else. We Kashmiris have that kind of art here. I am rock and roll fanatic. I love that kind of music. It is not only about conflict. But it is for the
love of art as well. You sometimes regret that we
don’t have such a scene here. It would be amazing if had a punk scene
here, if we had a jazz scene here An art exhibition by upcoming
artists, it would be amazing. Even if we don’t have it, this will not end. Because the thing feeding our
art is the reality, the nature. When I was a child, I
didn’t pay attention to the details of Kashmiri
Chakr, Sufi music. But as a musician when you listen
to it, you are blown away. It is as complex as jazz, as complex
as different complex forms of music. My grandmother had
helped me a lot in that. She recited all the nice
Kashmiri old folk tunes to me The meaning of those songs. The stories behind those songs So I started getting into
it, the Kashmiri sound I am from Islamabad, Anantnag. It is way too far from here.
But I come here daily. Because thats not my cup of tea. I need something like this. I need to have these
people around. This is something
quite new in Kashmir. Working on a
site-specific project. Since this installation has been
made here, it has become an art hub. People from different departments come
here, sit, play music and work here They discuss things here Medium used here was
different-a bark of a tree We need these kind of
projects and spaces for the general people to change their
perspectives about art. There is a tabloid recently launched in the
University by students called ‘Mizrab’. It is a fortnightly paper. It is a result of the collective love
of different students from different discourse and genres who have a collective
love for art, literature and culture. If they are not allowing us to have a
physical union, why not have a written space That will help us draw our
ideas and grievances. And what we as a new generation feel about
the conflict, feel about the campus We hardly get a
chance to express. This is a platform,
an opportunity. It would be nice if more such
opportunities come along I think meeting of artists
is very important For diversification of their art, for
adding much more layers to your art. And simply for the sake
that I have finally met somebody who thinks
like me, who is like me My name is Mosam, from Kashmir. I am a rap musician. If I want to talk about
politically charged things, If i want to talk
about the government, If I want to talk about oppression,
how people are subjugated, Anything that is emotionally charged
up, I think rap is a perfect genre. To do justice to that. There are personal battles and
then there is the larger battle. One battle that every Kashmiri
is fighting-against occupation And the another sub-battle
that we are fighting at our home, may be
our family troubles I have been affected
by the conflict. I can say that I have been
affected to the extent that I can write a song about it and
put my rage in that song. Till now all that anger was buried.
It was buried deep within. Now I want to get it out. Through
my songs, through my music. The brutality, the custodial missing, the rapes, we have witnessed
a lot of stories. And we have witnessed all
these at a very tender age. That have made us a
little more sensitive. And may be that has made us drift
towards the aesthetics, the arts more. Tufail Muthu lived
in my neighbourhood I used to study with him
in Little Angels School. I was in 12th class in 2010 when there
was an uprising here in Kashmir. His parents say that he was going to the
tuition, there was a stone pelting. Then tear smoke shell hit his
head, and he died on the spot. The full night I
didn’t even sleep. His house and my house
was in the same place. His body was given the next day. There was a massive protest
on that particular day Every time I come here. Being a friend, being a person
of my locality, I come here. Even on this (death) anniversary
day, I came here to pray. And today I have a
camera in my hand. I am trying to take
pictures of this place. I take pictures of his
father wailing on his grave. I can reach to more
masses with the camera. Conflict here, it has been a
very big stretch of 26 years. Nowadays we have understood
that nothing can abruptly. We cannot pick up a gun
and expect results. Youth nowadays is into escapism. We are not escaping the reality. We are escaping the harshness
that the conflict has put on us. Being here and
experiencing that feeling The turmoil, the happiness,
the weather change. This wind… It was hot around 2. But around 4, we have
cold breeze blowing here. You have hard times here. But immediately you have some kind
of remedy that this place gives you.

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