The Enduring Strength of Kashmir’s Literary Life

Sharanya Deepak at Literary Hub:

Today, Kashmiri writers are of all forms. They write folklore, journalism, novels, blogs, poems, ghazals, nazms: literature can be found scribbled on trees, on social media, in notebooks kept in attics. They write across languages: in Kashmiri, Urdu and English, and within Kashmir lie distinctions, of class, caste and language.

Writing in Kashmir is not only a question of importance, says Kashmiri novelist, Shahnaz Bashir in an interview with Wande Magazine but “a question of duty.” Bashir’s fiction is set in the decade of the 1990s, where Kashmir saw a series of human rights crimes by the Indian armed forces, including incarceration and mass arrests of young civilian men. Claiming that it was aiming to curb militancy, the Indian military rampaged through the region, arresting and torturing Kashmiris on sight. Bashir’s first novel The Half Mother circles a woman’s life as she waits for her son, who is taken by the Indian army, to return. It reflects on the realities of many such women who are denigrated to “halves”—half wife, half mother—when their male family members are disappeared.

more here.