In recent weeks tensions have flared up between between India and Pakistan over recent killings of soldiers on the Line of Control dividing Kashmir. Historically, the neighboring countries have fought three wars over Kashmir (although recent years have seen a peace process).
Whenever there is a clash between the countries’ armed forces, Kashmiris themselves tend to be ignored while sabers rattle. So it’s a good time to tout some of the activists and ordinary people on the ground who are living their lives and seeking justice for the decades of brutal war in their homeland. In particular, what of Kashmiris economic, social and cultural rights?
For one perspective, I had a chance to talk with two Indian activists who are helping to bring the lives of Kashmiris to the foreground. For the filmmakers Madhuri Mohindar and Vaishali Sinha,
“having grown up in India, with Vaishali having spent a few years of her childhood in Jammu and Kashmir, we were tired of hearing of violence and abuse in Kashmir. We wanted to hear from the resilient young people in Kashmir whose voices had been marginalized from the mainstream. It was with this in mind that our journey began three years ago at the campus of the University of Kashmir where we met our young protagonists Javaid and Iqbal who came from a generation born into conflict. While dealing with the scars of the past, they are also grappling with the heavy militarization today. By bringing to light the human stories of these young Kashmiris, it is our hope that our film will open up possibilities of communication, understanding and justice.”
My Kashmir is a film about being young in Kashmir, India, one of the most contentious and militarized regions in the world. For two college students Javaid and Iqbal, a childhood rife with curfews, crossfires and crackdowns has given way to a generation questioning their lack of freedom, while carving a peaceful path to their future.Theirs are the voices of young people who hold the key to Kashmir’s future.
Kashmir is a place celebrated for its legendary beauty and culture. This is also the place where tens of thousands have died in the midst of years of conflict and deadlock between India, Pakistan and separatist Kashmiris as each lays claim to the region. By bringing to light the human stories of these young Kashmiris who are invested in peace, the film explores the voices of a generation that has grown up in one of South Asia’s oldest and deadliest conflicts, presenting a unique perspective and raising crucial dialogue about the future of Kashmir, the cost of militarization, human rights violations, and the desire for justice.