Utter the word ‘Kashmir’ and a myriad of images come to mind: immense mountain peaks, vast skyscapes and pristine lakes, but inevitably, also that of guns and turmoil. For Kashmiri youth, growing up amid conflict has meant that their realities are inevitably driven by the violence surrounding them. Yet there is another reality. A musical documentary, ‘In The Shade of Fallen Chinar’, shows how the youth of Kashmir are channeling the turmoil in their souls not towards conflict, but art.
The documentary, made by Fazil N.C. and Shawn Sebastian, dispels the general misconception about Kashmiri youth which is that they are inclined towards to protests and violence due to the political climate. Instead, it depicts how many youngsters vastly prefer artistic expression to armed struggle, and have even created their own platform for creative expression and personal healing, as there are no established platforms available.
The documentary follows young students Syed Shahriyar for his photojournalism, Saba Nazki, Ovais Ahmad, Mu’Azzam Bhat for his music, Ali Saffudin, Khytul Abyad for her graphic arts, and Tabiah Qari. They are shown gathered near a fallen Chinar tree in the University of Kashmir campus, talking about how the conflict they experience inspires the artist within them, and how art helps them as they seek justice.
Students also channel decades of pain, hope, anger and protest through Mizrab, the students’ tabloid. The editor, Saba Nazki, speaks in the video stating, “If they are not allowing us to have a physical union, why not have a written space that will help us draw our grievances and ideas about the conflict and the campus.”
To watch ‘In The Shade of Fallen Chinar’ is to get a rare glimpse into a non-propaganda satured picture of Kashmir, one that narrates the personal and collective narrative affected by the conflict, through painting and metaphor.
Watch it here.
Featured image source: Counter Currents
Written by: Anisha Kashwani