Inshallah Kashmir| 1hr : 20mins
Director: Ashvin Kumar | Producer: Ashvin Kumar
Focus Years: 2012 | Country: India
A Kashmiri poet has said of the Indian occupation of Kashmir, â€œthey make a desolation and call it peace.â€
Once the epitome of a syncretic, mystical culture, a deep heritage of learning, of arts and craft, the crucible of Buddhism, Hinduism and sufi Islam, full of verdant forests, snow-capped peaks, populated by a guileless, beautiful people, all until the dark cloud of terror enveloped the Kashmir valley overnight.
This film is the story of the conflict recounted as personal history, in present-day Kashmir. A series of counterpointed testimonies, the heartbreaking coming-of-age of a people brutalized by two decades of militancy and its terrible response. Together they provide a sense of what it is like to be living terror and the irony of living with terror under the watch of a secular, democratic republic: India.
Today Kashmir is all about the army, crackdowns, curfews, widows, orphans, rape, enforced disappearances, fake encounters, mass graves, sadistic torture and trauma, and new categories of people like 'half-widows'. Twenty years of atrocities have altered the average Kashmiriâ€™s perception of normalcy. And yet, there isn't a more congenial, generous, warm-hearted, and cultured individual than she.
So military and paradise, bulletproof jackets and the veil, breathtaking vistas of mountains and crystal lakes are projected through barbed wire. Darkened army bunkers, the alert eyes of battle-ready soldiers watch over not an enemy or a border, but school children, women going shopping, and men delivering goods.
And the certainty of yet another militant attack, blood, limbs, followed by reprisals by the armed forces. Such is the state of "normalcy" into which children are born and raised. A cycle institutionalized and ritualized since the advent of militancy in 1991.
The filmmakers were able to record rare and precious footage under the guise of making a movie on Kashmiri football (www.inshallahfootball.com). The rare, unmediated access has resulted in footage that very few people have managed to record.
It gives a human face to militancy and plight of the average Kashmiri. It demands a solution to this endless and mindless conflict.
This is the story of Indian democracy, the grand experiment that was founded with Indian independence from the British; of how it has been tested in Kashmir, and found wanting.
"Inshallah Kashmir" answers comprehensively the question, often asked in exasperation by those who live in the rest of India, "what the hell is it that the Kashmiris want?"