23 June, 2021

The Other Kashmir Family Album

When the slumber of a society’s conscience is deep and layered, art hopes to jolt the benumbed giant...here’s a rude awakening, administered virtually

The Other Kashmir Family Album

As India debated the pros and cons of using pellet guns on protesters in Kashmir, and whether they were being used as a last resort or the first, a Pakistani civil society group, ‘Never Forget Pakistan’, used art to convey the sheer brutality—and the utter meaninglessness—of the “least lethal” device that the Central Reserve Police Force deployed in the aftermath of the killing of Burhan Wani.

Its campaign, with the hashtag #IndiaCan’tSee, went viral on social media and used photoshopped pictures of Indian celebrities such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cricket captain Virat Kohli and Bollywood icon Shahrukh Khan, with one or both their eyes bandaged and their faces pockmarked with the injuries caused by the pellets. It asked the viewer: just imagine.

The cruelty didn’t stop there. Short and mock-sympathetic letters from the kin of real victims­—the teenager who had stepped out for milk, the boy who was going for tuition, the one who was returning from cricket practice—ran alongside. A searing missive...

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