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While Sadiq’s residence is rubble, Ashiq’s sank in Dal lake, and Arif’s lays scattered in a forest. These people of land, water and forest are divided in terms of geographical locations, but their grief unites them in their helplessness at the hands of strife in Kashmir. No sooner did a battery of exultant counterinsurgents retreat from Shopian’s three-day-long military operational zone, two school boys walked up to a smouldering site. With teary eyes, they looked…

Grew up as a struggling farm boy, a Ladakhi doctor lost his mother and many of his tribe members to cervical cancer — compelling him to become contemporary Ladakh’s cancer crusader. The thick tyres of an off-road jeep come to a screeching halt, as Dr Nordan Otzer gets off at a desolate area in Hunder village in Nubra valley of Ladakh. The old-world parish — where the shadows of the brown mountains and fleecy white…

Behind the occasional flying tempers and sudden screams in Kashmir hospitals, the fatal health crisis created by nutritional deficiencies remains the least reported and talked about affair. It looked like a routine medical emergency announced by a speedy ambulance’s wailing siren on the streets of Srinagar, but the ensued mourning only made it a last ride of a young woman knitting woollens to welcome her baby till the other day. The labour pain had set…

Coming from a place where Saadut Hasan Manto bled his pen dog in the hinterland games of the two hostile neighbours, one of the ‘inmates’ of Kashmir deplored colony decries the social stigma associated with leprosy despite the disease being controlled and effectively curable. Engrossed in storytelling, Parvez Alam used his bare fingers to level the hot embers in Kangri, a traditional firepot to battle Kashmir’s harsh winter. Matter of fact, he did not even…

After Sheikh Abdullah removed him from the post-1947 Jammu rehabilitation scene, Krishan Dev Sethi—the comrade who recently passed away at the age of 93—was sent to Rajouri where his Muslim rehabilitation efforts made him a captive of games they play. Here FPK recreates one of the astounding statecraft dramas that Sethi mentioned in his book, ‘Yaad-e-Rafta’ and in his weekly ‘Jidd-o-jihad’ pieces. In Sheikh Abdullah’s “Naya Kashmir”, when a man from Tral suddenly came as…

After losing her ‘fruitful’ home to war, an Iranian woman landed in a conflict zone as a bride of a Kashmiri medico. Although the move proved proverbial—out of the frying pan into the fire—years later, her fruits of labour have become her brand new identity. Quince apple boughs and grape vines exuded a sweet fragrance when Parvin Mojabari took a trip down memory lane. It was a late summer day of 2020 and she was…

Extolled for getting Onassis AIR Emergency Fellowship at the moment, Suhail Naqshbandi swears to deliver his mastery through the sheet that is already replete with a quality of endurance to the trained and untrained set of eyes. When children of his age, cocooned in privilege, were discovering Pink Floyd, he was trying to make sense of the pandemic of death and grey weather that continues to besiege his homeland till this date. At 16 and…

From feral dogs to toxic snakes, an uncanny researcher braved it all to document butterflies of Kashmir with scientific precision. In his passionate pursuit, he even ducked bullets to bring home the winged creature’s fascinating features. It was an unruffled summer day when a visitor sporting a straw hat landed in rugged and explosive landscapes of Uri town. In that highly-militarized northern area of Kashmir—known for bombing and bloodletting—he had arrived on an exploratory trip…

Months after three civilians were branded as ‘hardcore terrorists’ and killed in a fake military operation in Shopian, J&K police’s fact-finding has dragged erring Indian army men in the dock in yet another gruesome addition to the dark underbelly of thirty-year-old armed impunity.   Early this year in March, Imtiyaz Hussain had earned applauds from an Indian Army officer whose unit had organised a running event in Jammu’s Rajouri district. He had come first in the…

The anti-BJP narrative served PAGD just right; in fact, it is the only thing that makes the regional parties “relevant” in the current times. The last time I visited the valley’s unsettled unionist camp was back in June 2019. My editor wanted me to report on the ‘alienated’ local outfits – the feeling of ‘betrayal’ had left New Delhi’s ‘old-loyalists’ in Kashmir, hurt and embarrassed. One such unionist I had met was a close aide…