Occupied Kashmir: Poetry and Disappearance


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How do you simultaneously disappear people and their hope? Can you keep that hope alive through writing?

On this episode of AAWW Radio, we dive into the current blackout of Indian-occupied Kashmir, the history of enforced disappearances that haunts Kashmiris, and how political writing and poetry, like the work of poet Agha Shahid Ali, connects the Kashmiri diaspora to their home.

We hear from several people at the forefront of Kashmiri diasporic literature and activism: Ather Zia, Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at University of Northern Colorado Greeley and author of Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation and Women's Activism in Kashmir, as well as Hafsa Kanjwal, Professor of South Asian History at Lafayette College and an organizer with Stand With Kashmir.

We also hear beautiful readings of Agha Shahid Ali's poetry by his sister Sameetah Agha, Professor of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute.

Learn more about Kashmir's history and why the ongoing struggle for self-determination and liberation is just as critical today as it was more than 70 years ago. Stand With Kashmir has compiled resources on their website. Here's a snapshot of where to begin:

For more of Agha Shahid Ali's poetry:

  • Agha Shahid Ali’s collection Rooms are Never Finished (2001), a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award, excavates the devastation wrought upon Kashmir and the personal devastation of losing his mother
  • Agha Shahid Ali’s The Country without a Post office, which takes its impetus from the 1990 Kashmiri uprising against India, which led to political violence and closed all the country’s post offices for seven months

How can you help?

Here is how you can help stand in solidarity with Kashmiris at this critical juncture: https://www.standwithkashmir.org/stand-in-solidarity

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