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Cups of Nun Chai (2020), published by Yarbal Books, is an archive of stories that give a glance into the extraordinary lives of ordinary people affected by the Kashmir conflict. Led by the 2010 civilian uprising in the valley post the killing of 17 year-old-boy Tufail Mattoo, the book attests to the loss of lives, power dynamics in politics, influence of the nation-state on the commonfolk, leaping into the normalization of political violence and death…

A few weeks ago, in a desperate attempt to be productive in the midst of mind-numbing quarantine and never-ending lockdowns, I happened to come across C.E. Tyndale Biscoe’s book titled, ‘Kashmir in Sunlight and Shade.’ The compelling title of the book combined with its narrative format peaked my interest and I started reading it in the hopes of getting more information about the valley. The book serves as a record of his first journey into…

In melancholic matrix of 2020, a melody amid myriad musical tracks struck the right chords with a poignant plot and captivating camera frames. Unlike driving and singing, like in Ride Home, or the flaring pitch on frosty banks of Dal Lake, as in Like a Sufi, Mohammad Muneem Nazir of Alif is standing in a mass grave — dealing with the dead and deadpan expressions in his new composition. The opening takes you inside some…

At a time when a colossal chunk of literature about the prevalent political plight in Kashmir centres chiefly around its geopolitical climate and the implications of it internationally, an acutely visible dearth of writing that sheds light on the not-so-ordinary lives of the ordinary people in the valley – and in particular the human toll the conflict bears on the children and the women, becomes the elephant in the room. In an academic ethnographic exploration…