Sunday, September 1, 2013

Kashmir Before Our Eyes, in Thrissur, Kerala





Ajay Raina offering details to a man who wanted to show film about Bhands to his young students ('The Play is on' by Pankaj Rishi) and wanted to know more.
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Snapshots:

A young man told Ajay Raina why in his film 'Tell Them "The Tree they had Planted, Has Now Grown', it seemed he was trying to balance things out. What didn't he just point out 'wrong' as wrong? Why didn't he put the blame somewhere

Ajay explained.

I remember when the film first came out in 2001, it was kind of a wake-up call. I call to return back to 'our' stories. It was inspiring. I was in college and there yet existed no middle discourse on Kashmir. No proper conversation. Thanks to the feast, I got a chance to talk to the filmmaker. Mostly talked about films and memories.

I asked the questioner if he was worried about Muslims, did the film make him fear them. He laughed and replied, 'Why should I be! I am a Muslim. But a wrong is a wrong and has to be pointed out.' He was concerned about the new trend of public Janmashtami celebrations in Kerala.

While talking about the films and the cultural spaces in Kashmir, Ajay was kind enough to introduce me to the audience and asked me to speak a bit. I mostly talked about other things. Like the fact, how Malayalam is living thriving language, that how the entire discussions on the films were mostly held in the local language. Something that the Kashmiri in me finds surprising.

Met 'Cine Nun', Sister Jesme, author of Amen, an  autobiographical work dedicated to Jesus and critical of sexual repression in Catholic Kerala. She said she believed in Catholic Aesthetics.  

A man asked me about my religious beliefs. I answered I had none worth speaking. He then introduced himself as a Rationalist born in a Muslim family. He wanted to know why wasn't there a secret society of Rationalists/Atheists in Kashmir...could it be formed...would it help? I told him there are enough secret societies and enough open secrets in Kashmir. He asked me why was I wearing a naerwan.

A man asked me where was I from. I told him I was from no where in particular. 'Good. I thought you are from JNU. I have lived in Delhi for 30 years.' He then suggested a solution to Kashmir. 'Kashmiris should be kept naked. They carry guns in pherans.' I was reminded of a story about Akbar and the reason why it was said he introduced Pheran to Kashmir. 'To make fierce Kashmiris effeminate,' said Kashmiris to Angrez log.

A young student was happy about watching the films, it helped him know more about the Kashmiri friends he had back in Mangalore.

An old man, a teacher, asked Ajay Raina more about Bhands. He wanted to introduce his students to the folk art of Kashmir.



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