Writing is Recording of Memories: Nitasha 


SRINAGAR: Nitasha Kaul, a London based Kashmiri novelist, academic, poet and artist gave a talk on the theme Life Writing at the Kashmir University. The interactive programme was organised by the  Kashmir Centre for Social Development Studies.

Dr Kaul told the gathering that life writing is recording of memories whether one’s own or another’s.

While referring to the present chaos, all over the world including Kashmir, she called it as the failure of basic imaginations where people lack empathy. By pure and genuine narratives, the populations can make their voices fall on living ears. Such writings do possess a wider appeal because it appeals to the mind, by stating the analytics of the problem and to the heart by imaging and sketching the emotional dimensions of the same.

Elaborating on life recording she said it could be done in many genres and practices like autobiography, biography, memoir, diaries, letters, testimonies, personal essays and now even digital forms such as blogs and email. It could include oral testimony and eye witness accounts. She then spelt out the importance of writing narratives as a source of socio-historical and political history of any nation. It is more important in places like Kashmir where official version of reality is invariably at variance with the truth on the ground. Hence writing memoirs, micro histories and diaries are of utmost importance to get at the heart of reality for the researcher. But such writing also generates empathy in the readers across borders of the mind .It constitutes witness of the times in which it is written.

Professor Tejnath Dhar in his presidential remarks said that it is important to write narratives to sustain your identity. He quoted Uberto Eco as saying, “To survive, we must tell stories” and that in every person’s life there is enough material for writing at least one book. Each one of us has enough personal experiences to write one book at least. Since we are products of our context and times in spite being unique individuals, it will serve as a testimony of the times in which we live and become archival material for historians.

The talk was followed by interaction with university professors, scholars, students and cross section of civil society members.

While introducing the writer Prof Hameedah Nayeem said that Nitasha Kaul is our own sister, the daughter of the soil. Besides being a novelist and poet, she has acquired scholarship across multiple disciplines. But above all she is an organic intellectual who deeply thinks and writes about issues that concern us in today’s world.

Unlike traditional intellectuals who imagine themselves transcendentally located, with historical presence above and beyond the political realities, in order to evade the struggle for truth, justice and freedom, she is committed to unmasking and smashing the stereotypes of vision and intellect with which modern world of mass art and thought swamp us.

Introducing the topic she said life writing is the recording of our memories and experiences and is not confined to literary or historical site but cuts across various disciplines like philosophy, psychology, sociology and ethnography. It is also an integral part of studies relating to holocaust, genocide, confession and gender.

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