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Despite being hailed as ‘unsung heroes’, linemen of Kashmir power department are grappling with a low-pay, hazardous duty, and lack of post-trauma shock-absorbing system. The darkness he used to drive out with his dauntless duty has now engulfed his own life and liveliness. In the state of powerlessness, he flashes a beaming smile of being true to his role. But despite risking his own life to light peoples’ homes, the ex-linesman now finds himself as…

Meant to celebrate the rebirth of nature, Nowruz marks the beginning of the Persian New Year. While the spring festival incidentally signifies the day when the sun crosses the celestial equator, the day celebrates the rejuvenation and renewal of life too. Historically a national festival of Iran, the day has a great traditional and cultural significance in the valley of Kashmir. Apart from observing the day as a mark of the onset of spring, Kashmiri…

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…

Visuals of pregnant women taken out on wooden stretchers from the tribal belts of the valley resurfaced on social media this winter. Behind the petrifying picture is the futile and equally fatal healthcare infrastructure of Kashmir’s countryside.  Caressing her baby bump and cherishing her impending motherhood turned dark for Afroza on a cold December night in 2020, when a sudden shooting labour pain ended her sleep. In a painful state, the 25-year-old realized that it…

As the cold continues to linger and shiver life, the winter-induced skin ailments have once again reared their ugly heads in the valley. To ward off these cold demons, many are resorting to good old methods to save their skin. The comforting click of the knitting needles can be heard in Syeda Begum’s room after many years. The octogenarian from Srinagar’s Bemina locality is interweaving a small pair of woolen socks from bright colored yarn…

Prominent priest’s ‘proclamation’ over the rising domestic violence might’ve found resonance in the recent emergence of a help desk in Kashmir’s only women police station, but the distressed region continues to await its women’s commission gone with the 2019 landscape alteration. Snowfall was about to carpet Kashmir when Fozia arrived at the bunkered gates of the erstwhile castle on the banks of river Jhelum. Unlike the bygone fairer troupe from nearby Maisuma—who would drum out…

Behind the current tourism façade, the unaddressed issue of fading boats is distressing Dal Lake dwellers. Part of the problem is said to be last year’s draft and decree of years — pushing the ‘anchorless’ community to obscurity now. On the deck of his floating house, Yaqoob Duno laments over his tribe’s identity loss in the ‘water graveyard’. Ever since the pandemic created another phase of pathos in the “world-famous Dal Lake”, it has consumed…

Caught between militarisation of habitat and apathy, as the world community is observing the Wildlife Day, risk of extinction for the Hangul looms large. Passing fingers gently over the pointed and branched antlers, put at a display on the entrance of their grandparent’s home, two siblings Muafiq and Faizan cherish the majesty of the unseen red deer. Septuagenarian Mohammad Yousuf Wani, their grandfather recalls how occasionally, ‘Kashmir’s prized animal’ used to stray close to their…

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…

Recent Indian parliament showdown on the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill of 2021 once again undid the pre-August 5, 2019 reality of the land and ended up only wasting law books of the erstwhile state. Inside the dusky warehouse of National Law Agency in Srinagar, cartons of Kashmir Law books are piling up as waste. Mournful proprietor of this oldest law book store in the valley is junking the books which once sold like…