17 May, 2021

At Peace With Strife

Everyday life in Kashmir is a continuously creative ­engagement with conflict

Cricket in Baramulla
Photograph by Getty Images
At Peace With Strife

For Prof S.M. Wijeyaratne from Sri Lanka, Srinagar is like any other place. He was here for the World Health Congress along with his wife, Prof C.N. Wejaratne. “If there is any news about Kashmir, it is on violence. But I know it is just one incident somewhere,” says Wijeyaratne. “Sri Lanka was worse. We had suicide bombers.”

As they say, life never stops. One of the consequences of the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir is a smokescreen especially around the Valley, through which all that is visible is the conflict, subsuming every aspect of everyday life. So what does the raging violence hide about life in Kashmir?

Last Saturday, May 13, there were scores of young men waiting outside Tagore Hall in Jawahar Nagar, an upmarket locality in Srinagar’s civil lines, while a few metres away, at Bakshi Stadium, the J&K Police was holding a recruitment rally for women. Two security guards at Tagore Hall’s main gate were not letting the young men enter the premises. It wasn’t a political event the youngsters, mostly students, were...

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