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Kashmiri youth talks of agony through rap, graffiti and writing

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Srinagar, after a quarter century of turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir, a section of the new generation is taking to music, writing and other art forms to tell their stories.graffiti-680839_640

The mass protests over the Amarnath land row in 2008-10 changed the perspective of 20-year-old Fahad Idrees and others of his generation on the Kashmir issue.
Dozens of protesters were killed in police and paramilitary firing in different places across the state after the government tried to transfer 99 acres of land in the Kashmir valley to the Amarnath Shrine Board. The decision was rescinded within five weeks, after uproar and violence.

A teenage boy, known by the name MC Kash, hammered the “words of pain” on a piece of paper and his rap song, “I protest”, on YouTube became a sort of anthem for the summer protests during 2008-10. It also inspired many others to share their feelings through rap.

Fahad Idrees is one in the brigade of music rappers and believes rapping is a form of storytelling for him. “I yell loudly and put all my feelings into it.”

For Idrees, rap is a medium to vent his anger in the form of words. “Every other medium of expression is controlled. After witnessing such turmoil in the state, I chose to tell my stories of pain and suffering this way,” he says.

In this rage, Fahad is not alone. In 2013, when the famous musician Zubin Mehta held ‘Ehsaas-e-Kashmir’- (the feel of Kashmir) in Srinagar, Fahad and his friends participated in a counter event – ‘Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir’- (reality of Kashmir) organized by civil society groups, performing rap on the stage.

While many chose music as an expression, some youngsters took to the traditional method of writing.

Towfeeq Wani was only 17 when his first novel titled “The Graveyard” got published. Wani says: “It is my way to resist the atrocities in Kashmir.”

“I chose to write the book after being haunted by the nightmares after the uprising in 2008. The images of the boys who were killed continued to haunt me even when I left Kashmir,” Wani told IANS.

Wani, now 19, completed his high school from Aligarh and is now doing his Bachelor’s in English from Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi.

In 2013, a compilation of the protest writings of Kashmir was edited and formulated into a book by another young journalist, Fahad Shah.

The book ‘Of occupation and resistance – writings from Kashmir’, included the memories of young people.

Another bunch of young minds in the Valley has chosen graffiti to express anger and tell their tales. On the banks of the river Jhelum, under the shade of mighty Chinars, the walls are splashed with graffiti drawn by a young boy who does not want to be named.

“Writing on the walls was missing from Kashmir. For me, this is a chance to express anger and protest against the atrocities in a peaceful way,” the boy says.

One of his works on the walls of Sopore explains, “Bring back our dear ones”. About this graffiti, he says, “I drew this after being a part of an Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) association”.

“During the turmoil, thousands of people disappeared. Who will raise a voice for their families?” he asks IANS.

The artist believes that everyone has his role to play. “Everyone has his/her own way of expression. Mine is the paintings and I will continue with this.”

The reason for his anonymity, he says, is fear of police action. “Some immature boys hijacked our work by writing ‘Welcome Taliban’ and ‘Long live ISIS’ on the walls. But we have nothing to do with this,” he says.

(IANS)

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Facts About PoK You Probably Didn’t Know Before

Although 'Azad Kashmir' is of no economic significance to either Pakistan or India, the region is rather a matter of pride

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PoK is one of the most controversial regions in the world. Wikimedia Commons
PoK is one of the most controversial regions in the world. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • PoK or Pakistan Occupied Kashmir is a controversial land
  • The region is the reason for tension between India and Pakistan
  • Pakistan Administered Kashmir is the hub for terrorist activities and is controlled by Pakistan entirely

Pakistan Occupied Kashmir or PoK is the land of much controversy. The region which is also known as Azad Kashmir in Pakistan has been a matter of controversy between India and Pakistan since 1947.

Pakistan Administered Kashmir is a controversial region for both India and Pakistan. Wikimedia Commons
Pakistan Administered Kashmir is a controversial region for both India and Pakistan. Wikimedia Commons

United Nations and other international organizations refer to PoK as ‘Pakistan Administered Kashmir.’ This region shares its border with China and Afghanistan and as mentioned above is a very controversial region of crucial importance to both the disputing countries.

Here are few facts about PoK you may not have known before:

  • Even before independence, PoK was never ruled by the Britishers directly. It was under the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh, who wanted to keep Jammu and Kashmir as an independent state when given the choice to choose between India and Pakistan.
  • PoK covers an area of 13,297 square kilometres which is approximate, 5,134 sq. mi. The capital is located at Muzaffarabad.
  • ‘Azad Kashmir’ has a population of around 4.6 million people.
  • 26th October is celebrated as the Accession Day. On this day, Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession to India in the year 1947.

    PoK was supposed to be a free, independent state. Wikimedia Commons
    PoK was supposed to be a free, independent state. Wikimedia Commons
  • However, Kashmiri separatists celebrate Accession Day as ‘Black Day.’
  • The Pakistan Occupied Kashmir claims to be having its own self-governing legislative assembly, however, it is no hidden fact that it is controlled by Pakistan only behind the scenes.
  • In PoK, the President is the head of the state, and the Prime Minister is the chief executive, supported by the Council of Ministers. Pakistan Occupied Kashmir also has its own high court and supreme court.

Also Read: Pakistan, China play catch and throw with POK

  • PoK is famous for the terrorist activity in its region. Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the biggest terrorist organisations in the world has several camps in the region.
  • There is no freedom of expression for media in PoK. All media is controlled by Pakistan, including its only radio channel, Azad Kashmir Radio.

    Majority of Azad Kashmir's population earns their livelihood by the means of agriculture. Wikimedia Commons
    Majority of Azad Kashmir’s population earns their livelihood by the means of agriculture. Wikimedia Commons
  • 85% of the population is engaged in agricultural activities. They cultivate wheat, maize, mushroom, honey, apples, walnuts, etc., which are the main source of income for them.
  • Although ‘Azad Kashmir’ is of no economic significance to either Pakistan or India, the region is rather a matter of pride for which both the countries keep on fighting.