14 th September- 40 days later in Soura

A woman showing the press the wounds the JKP inflicted on her, while she was returning from the medical institute.

The women of Soura, are as passionate as the boys about ‘azadi’

An older woman narrates the happenings of the past month.

A spokeswoman from the locality tells me, ‘mein protest mein kabhi nahin jaati, interview deti hu, lekin jati nahin hu.’

A young boy who became handicapped in 2018, after pellets hit his skull.

They thought I was an agent of the GOI. The people of the locality, were suspicious of me, on Friday- the day of the Jumma Namaz but on Saturday it was a whole different story. The day before, they saw many local photojournalists and assumed I was with one of them. For the first time, I saw them, the female photojournalists of the Valley. Two of them, accompanied by a male photographer and a photojournalist from some part of India, pretending to be Kashmiri. When I was introduced to her, I did tell her it was obvious she wasn’t from there but she totally denied it!

These tactics make it hard for people to trust someone who is there all alone. My gaffer had promised to only drop and pick me up, from Soura. ‘Mein nahin ja sakta, they will pick me up and send me to some jail, in another part of India! I hope you understand?’ Of course I did. Hummare peeche koi rone wallah nahin he, other people have families that would be devastated. With hardly any trasportation running in this part of town, with no mobile connectivity and with no one in my family knowing that I was entering this place, I was by myself, shitting bricks in my pants, in a locality where neither the JKP nor the Army could enter, so I did what I do best, just say it like it is. ‘ I am not Kashmiri and do not mistake me for being Muslim, just because of my name. I don’t want you to feel I entered your houses, by telling you all a lie!’ The truth mostly works like a charm in Kashmir, trying lying to them and you are jacked, for sure. I am glad I did because the female photojournalists went around announcing to all and sundry that I wasn’t with them and I wasn’t Kashmiri, which ultimately lead to a sort of friendly interrogation by the locals- my ids were checked, they wanted to see my father’s photograph on my phone to make sure my Aadhar card was genuine, I was constantly accompanied by these two adorable girls, who took me all around but I had a gnawing suspicion that they had been asked to keep an eye on the stranger.

Whatever, it was, I told the truth, so I hung around practically the whole day. A boy had been caught, by the JKP, the previous day, from the protest . This was while I was interviewing someone in another corner of the locality, on Friday. Apparently, his sister went to the police station to check on him and she too was beaten up and had been detained. To protest against that, the women went to the Soura Medical Institute on the 14th. I was there while, they stopped people and told them their woes. Ultimately, three army men came to beat them up as I hurriedly went, hid my camera and sat in the corner with the patients. If any armed personnel would have seen me entering or exiting Soura, my cameras or chips would have been ceased. The girls ran back and some got hurt.

After twenty minutes, I snuck back into the locality. I interviewed people, hung around in the park and was invited over for lunch by plenty of women, which I politely declined. This was the Kashmir, I was used to, these were the people I was used to ( kind and hospitable) not the one’s who had been giving me dirty looks on the roads since the abrogation. Ultimately I went for tea, with the local girl who had chosen to accompany me. Her family was really hospitable and kind, feeding me lots, while they warned her to be careful about what she tells me.

I left a little later, than the time assigned by my gaffer. The girls still by my side, ‘Didi we want to make sure, you are safe!’ ( or what they didn’t say- we want to know who brought you here). People hung around in front of their shops, while I walked past, the shutters down, chatting about the terrible events of the day. ‘Now they will beat up our women, too!’ they discussed. There seemed to be more barricades by the end of the same day and a lot more boys hung around at the unofficial posts, protecting their locality and their women!

Ankur on Women

Ankur Narang Bhatnagar

Ankur Narang Bhatnagar

 

 

Ankur Narang Bhatnagar lives in Jabalpur. She completed her M Phil in English Literature and went on to work at the Fullerton India Credit Company.  When she quit in 2012, she held the position of Location Manager.  Ankur is currently occupied with the upbringing of her one year old daughter, Amaaya.

 

 

What are your views on feminism?

Feminism to me, unlike it’s dictionary meaning is not just a movement, or an ideology that needs to be established or used as a tool to facilitate a woman’s place into this world. Rather it is the Best Celebration one can have of that profound Energy which every single Woman on this planet is born and endowed with… ‘Power ‘not just in the physical sense but that rare Power of the Liberated Heart, Mind, Body and the Spirit !! Feminism to me is- Pride.. a sense of Being… a State of Existence which is so exotically layered that mystics, writers, philosophers, artists and scholars have not been able to explain it in its full measure across centuries. It is Wisdom, Grace, Beauty, Color and the Vibrancy of Life. A Woman encounters Challenges/Questions/Apprehensions on her very being/her choices/her wishes and desires since very early in life, she remains marginalized by a largely male dominated set up but there’s something in her soul that sustains her through every single of those denials that life, people, conventions and society send her way. For that, she is Special! Both God and Nature outdid themselves when they created ‘Woman’… for she is the creator of Life and capable of sustaining that miracle on a day to day basis ever after. She has enough strength in her to choose and fight her own battles on societal pressures, restrictive mindsets and institutional hurdles and win them too! Feminine energy is almost a synonym of that Divine Energy that knows no bounds, remains unexplained and yet exudes such power and influence it almost seems to be holding the entire world together by its sheer magnetism and charm.

 If there was a code of conduct for women what according to you should be the rules?

Be there … Don’t ever let Time, Space or Distance come in between
Don’t Judge one another
Let go offand Crazy  petty Expectations and Forgive easily
Don’t Compete…Compliment instead
Be honestly Neurotic and Crazy when around your girl friends.  It is the most soul satisfying thing you’ll ever know in your life!! !

Tell me about one woman who has inspired you ?

If I were to name just one woman out of so many that have touched my life and enriched it beyond measure I would be unduly differentiating between them. To list a few, my maternal grand mother ( whom I never got around to see because she passed away, well before I was born) is perhaps the first woman who has inspired me…in her ability to stay humble, to be there for people despite her own limitations and to smile even when bogged down by life and circumstances. The second woman to make the most profound impact on me would be my own mother. She remains undaunted through whatever life has sent her way! She possesses a will power so strong she could turn the worst coming towards her and her children away!! She is a wonderful human being with a heart of gold always willing to cast its shiny stardust on those who happen to touch her life! I am inspired by some friends of mine who perhaps did not get the best of childhoods/upbringing either materially or emotionally, but who have not let that embitter them from becoming great human beings. They enrich my life with their innate goodness and warmth and prove that no matter what your past and its limitations have been, it is the present that matters and needs to be lived well and with dignity!! Despite coming from deficient backgrounds these women have ensured they gave me the best of their love and friendship and always had my back through thick and thin. On a broader level, a woman of substance I remain inspired with is Maya Angelou.People who read her work and know her life story would know why she remains an endearing inspiration to many. Closer to home, I guess it would have to be Ela Bhatt (pioneer in starting the Self Employed Women Association, SEWA), Chanda Kochar- MD and CEO ICICI Bank and Nirupama Rao, India’s first full term Foreign Secretary and the first female spokes person for the Ministry of External Affairs.

The Feminine Code By Ankur.

The Feminine Code By Ankur.

 © text+photo-Ankur Narang Bhatia.

Tripti on Women

Tripti Singh

Tripti Singh

 

 

 

 

 

Tripti Singh is a young, introverted student of Fashion Styling at PAF.

 

Feminism is the soul of a lady. A mother, a sister, a teacher who have great stamina to defeat in battle, as well as to inspire for good reasons. A woman has the feature to make anyone’s beautiful just instead of it she wants respect and love!

The set of rules which I will make for woman is just to let her live freely without
showing any kind of partiality. The second rule is that there should be no rules.

A woman who has inspired me is Kalpana Chawla. I admire her for her talent, courage as well as for her dedication to her work. She inspired me while she was alive and even when she’s no more.

Tripti Singh

The Feminine Code By Tripti Singh

 

 

© Photo and text-Tripti Singh.

Imrita’s thoughts

Imrita Chhabra

Imrita Chhabra

 

 

 

 

Imrita Chhabra is a senior visualiser at Talenthouse. Born and brought up in Jammu, she currently resides in Mumbai.

 

 

What are your views on feminism?

Feminism seems to carry such mixed sentiments. If you are labelled feminist you are considered anti-men. I don’t hate men or want to make them my slave. I believe in equal rights for men and women. If this is how you define feminism, I am a feminist. If it’s only about women then I’m not a feminist. I feel both men and women face inequality. It just depends on which side of the spectrum you are. In fact we need to fight for equality for everyone whether you are a MAN or a WOMAN. I have seen women playing feminism card as per their convenience. When it comes to paying bills or spending their salary on things other than the personal expenditure, Oh it’s my husband’s responsibility to take care of it. After all he is the man of the house, why should I pay for it? But yeah when it comes to household chores my husband should help equally. Why because we are equal. Really ??? I pity the guy here, He is the victim here. On the other hand I have seen men who are jerks, have no respect for women whatsoever. There are women who are not allowed to work even though they are more qualified than their husbands because it’s their duty to take care of kids and do the household work. Some of them are not allowed to talk to any male members of the family, keep their face covered all the time. That’s the kind of women we need to fight for. Here again the women faces injustice not only from the men but also from the women. So who do be blame here? So let’s make this year a FEMINISM A FIGHT FOR THE RIGHTS OF ALL GENDERS.

If there was a code of conduct for women what according to you should be the rules?

I feel people around us already have so many expectations and rules for us that we don’t need more. I want all women to forget all the rules, be compassionate, be classy, love yourself and follow your dreams. Don’t just LIVE be ALIVE.

Tell me about one woman who has inspired you?

Many women have inspired me not just one. Some for their courage, some for their talent and some for their attitude. But one woman who has inspired me the most is my MOTHER. I admire her for her patience, selfless love and courage. She has been my friend, my pillar of strength. Sometimes she just amazes me and I wish I could be half the women she is.