For their “striking images of life”, two Kashmiri journalists alongwith their Jammu-based colleague have won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. The award is a global recognition of the challenging journalistic work in Kashmir Valley which plunged into communication crisis last summer after New Delhi abrogated the erstwhile state’s special status under Article 370.
FROM hiding their cameras in vegetable sacks to courier their chips to their New Delhi office through some air-borne travellers, the two Kashmiri photojournalists did it all to picture Kashmir during its worst communication crisis last summer.
They recall the times with bemused faces, when they had to seek shelter in peoples’ homes to stay close to the action spot.
With phones dead and internet snapped, following the abrogation of J&K’s special status, these photojournalists like their tribe couldn’t contact their families for days together. And with additional troops manning the streets in the valley then, some of them even faced the street hostility.
However, nine months later, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin, along with their Jammu-based Associated Press (AP) colleague, Channi Anand, have bagged the prestigious Pulitzer for their remarkable work.
— The Pulitzer Prizes (@PulitzerPrizes) May 4, 2020
The award announced by Pulitzer board administrator Dana Canedy on Youtube amid the coronavirus outbreak has been given to Khan and Yasin for their exceptional work in the valley after the abrogation of Article 370 on 5 August 2019.
— Diksha Parihar (@Diksha_Parihar_) May 5, 2020
Soon after the announcement, Mukhtar Khan who began his journalism career with Kashmir Observer was seen sharing a happy family frame.
Similar joyous scenes came from the Dar Yasin’s home following the announcement.
In a lock-down triggered by Covid-19, three Jammu and Kashmir news photographers jointly bagged #Pulitzer2020 for covering the lock-down enforced after August 5, 2019. @daryasin, @channiap, @muukhtark_khan, @APhttps://t.co/UAFDf2Ah39
— Kashmir Life (@KashmirLife) May 4, 2020
In an official statement on their website, Pulitzer said the Kashmiri photographers were selected for their “striking images of life in the disputed Himalayan territory”.
Some of the striking Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs for the @AP by Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand can be seen in these galleries. Just getting these photos out of the Kashmir lockdown took smuggling memory cards on airplanes. https://t.co/9Z7zwI0O7c
— Jake Coyle (@jakecoyleAP) May 4, 2020
The Pulitzer-winning photographers have risked their lives to showcase the turmoil and mayhem of Kashmiri People when curbs and curfew made Kashmir an information blackhole.
Three #Kashmiri photographers Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan, Channi Anand have been honored with the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in feature photography. They have taken photos of Modi’s unprecedented crackdown on #Kashmir since August 2019. https://t.co/xirOpaEi5P
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) May 5, 2020
“It was always cat-and-mouse,” Yasin recalled the trying time. “These things made us more determined than ever to never be silenced.”
“This honour continues AP’s great tradition of award-winning photography,” said AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt.
Congrats and thank you brave comrades for bringing us this good news amidst all this gloom https://t.co/QFBHLFrKQC
— Sajjad Haider (@sajjadhaider110) May 5, 2020
“Thanks to the team inside Kashmir,” Gary Pruitt added, “the world was able to witness a dramatic escalation of the long struggle over the region’s independence. Their work was important and superb.”
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Congratulations to Channi Anand @ChanniPictures, Mukhtar Khan @MukhtarAP, and Dar Yasin @DarYasinAP of the Associated Press @APnews, winners of the 2020 #Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography, for striking images of life in the contested territory of Kashmir as India revoked its independence, executed through a communications blackout. . Caption: “Kashmiri Muslim devotees offer prayer outside the shrine of Sufi saint Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. Hundreds of devotees gathered at the shrine for the 11-day festival that marks the death anniversary of the Sufi saint.” Photographer: Mukhtar Khan @MukhtarAP . #PulitzerPrize #Photography #Photo #Photojournalism #Kashmir #India #FeaturePhotography
Channi Anand, AP’s Jammu photographer, said the award left him speechless.
“I was shocked and could not believe it,” he said, calling the prize-winning photos a continuation of the work he’s been doing for 20 years with the AP.”
Pulitzer for 3 photojournalists from Jammu & Kashmir is ofcourse a huge achievement for Yasin Dar, Mukhtar Khan & Channi Anand but moreover this Pulitzer prize is an acknowledgement that Kashmiris are succeeding in narrating their stories to the world themselves.
— Khurram Parvez (@KhurramParvez) May 5, 2020
People across the valley are showering love and respect to these “larger than life” photographers who chose to essay their story to the world in their way and let Kashmir depict its story via them.
Jammu and Kashmir gets us Pulitzer.
Many congratulations! https://t.co/d7pDFhxcM4
— vijaita singh (@vijaita) May 5, 2020
Yasin says their prize-winning work has both professional and personal meaning to him.
There couldn’t have been a better way to defeat the purpose of communication gag than this. Kashmiri photojournalists win Pulitzer Prize for documenting the draconian August clampdown. Now the whole world is telling India: We know what you did last summer! https://t.co/BerIJ14XNu
— Mir S (@Meenwhile) May 4, 2020
“It’s not the story of the people I am shooting, only, but it’s my story,” Dar said. “It’s a great honour to be in the list of Pulitzer winners and to share my story with the world.”
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