Humans, History, Headmaster: Kashmir in Virtual Classroom

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From avant-garde historians to a bunch of boys humanizing the Kashmir story, off-center events are making Instagram a must-visit social media platform these days to know some interesting valley-based facts and features.

Jyotsna Bharti

A GROUP of young Kashmiris have found a voice online where they’re humanizing the conflict-battered lives of commoners. The effort remains to highlight the shrugged off stories which don’t find a mention in the full-of-happening news ecosystem of the valley.

At about the same time, the effort is being made by a Kashmiri woman to take education to the grossroots for enlightening and empowering the unprivileged community. And then, there’re some budding Kashmiris making history appealing for netizens.

All this and more is happening on Instagram and getting eyeballs at a time when the perpetual dissension is once again hogging headlines.

 Humanising Valley

There’re rags to rich stories, the inspiring accounts of underdogs making big in life, and the tales of those who never got their due in the society grappling with searing struggles and strife.

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"When you live in a place like Kashmir, nature poses for you all time and you cannot resist but capture its mesmerizing scenes. It has made me what I am today; I paint, I write, and sometimes I click. My story is just like millions of Kashmiris out there who have always wanted to express themselves indirectly, due to the environment that they find themselves in – be it political or the beautiful environs of Kashmir. It was in 2008 when I got extremely conscious of the political situation around me. It left me mentally disturbed and the only way I could express my emotions was through a brush or a pen. Kashmir, after that has become the epicenter of my work. I was lucky to get displayed along the likes of Masood Hussain, Showkat Katju, Iftikhar Jaffar and many other top artists from Kashmir at Kashmirs first art gallery – “Gallerie One”. I compulsively wrote and clicked photos. I am just a beginner in that regard and have always looked upon the works of great photographers of the valley. In 2016, I tied up with my brother Hujat Kirmani (pianist and vocalist) to form a duo named Mai Kashmir Hun, where we wrote songs and created original music. We got featured in a story "when stones turn to songs" covered by "The Mint" alongside artists like MC Kash, Ali Saiffuddin etc. The story went to win the prestigious Red Ink Award. For now, we are publishing some of our unpublished works from over the years on our YouTube channel Mai Kashmir Hun.” -Manan Khan

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All these stories have found home in the Instagram handle, called Humans of Kashmir.

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“My name is Muskaan, I’m a transgender woman. But that’s not all, I am also a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a lover, a dreamer, a fighter, a muslim and a Kashmiri, but most of all, I am a human, like all of you. I have been laughed at, ridiculed, and isolated. I’ve been told to kill my feelings. i have been tortured, incarcerated and starved. I’ve been accused of being flirtatious, and overtly flamboyant. I am misgendered by a majority of the people, daily. My property was taken fraudulently and i was thrown out of the home. I have been called every derogatory name that small minded individuals seem capable of conjuring. My life was filled with hate, prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination which follows me wherever I go.. The journey that I went through all my life as a transgender woman has many ups and downs, many happy stories but mostly sad ones. It is difficult being a woman in this world let alone being born as a man and go through life as a woman. Fortunately, I am someone who appreciates life itself. I see adversities as life lessons, I’ve learned so much more about myself and the world around me. I’ve become not only a grown woman but a better human being. Labeling someone because of their race, sexuality or gender identity is one thing, but treating them differently because of that is inhuman. The only label one should wear is love and the act that we should follow is respect.” Source: Sonzal Welfare Trust

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It acts as a conveyor belt of many inspiring stories, which in the larger happenings of Vale often get sidelined.

Popularising Kashmiri

If you’ve a huge appetite for Kashmiri language, then you’re going to love the Instagram handle of Kashmiri Dictionary.

It comes up with the most beautiful and crafted words of Kashmiri language every day with the explanation of the word too.

They also teach proverbs and sayings, making the entire process of language learning during quarantine period a meaningful engagement.

Hearty Headmaster

She first rose to prominence when her decision to serve the downtrodden over pursuing her promising career made headlines.

After inspiring all and sundry, Sabbah Haji of Doda has come of age, while leading the education mission from the front.

As someone who calls spade a spade, the headmaster—who’s owner and founder of the iconic Haji Public School—has shown what nurturing is all about.

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Saf, when you coming back? #HajiPublicSchool

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Her Instagram handle makes her a well-articulated and well-versed person.

The Songbird

A Kashmiri folksinger, Aabha Hanjura, seems on a trail of letting the world know the beauty and serendipity of Kashmiri language through her stage performances.

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#SufisticationIndiaTourStories|Delhi| This first gig of the tour in Delhi , started with extra excitement than usual- all this calm on my face that you see , was just a factor of relief that I was ready 5 min before it was my time to go on stage.Now i am not proud of this ,but the band got late in leaving the hotel slightly, the delay threw us off so bad that we couldn't go back to the hotel to change reason being -Delhi Traffic so @jessejulka our manager instead of all of us ran off to the hotel to carry our clothes while we nervously paced around CP hoping to be ready in time to go on stage, Delhi traffic gave us all kinds of anxiety attacks that day ,Adrenaline was high- jesse made it just in time I got ready with make up & outfit on in record time of 7 minutes to be precise & was on stage directly , this was the most insane pre show uncertainty & drama that we could have asked for and had me acting all kinds of worried and crazy ,😂 but the GIG ,what can i say it was more than beautiful, delhi cheered on & how ,in the end it was all worth it,it always is 🙂 pc vijay koul @bharathnk16 @prashanthgnanamuthu @davidboon09 @sharanraomusic_official @biplabbhattacharjeerhythms @rashid.kashmir #sufisticationontour #sufistication indiatour #sufisticationindelhi

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After leaving her corporate job for a full-time folk-singing passion, she became an internet sensation.

She not only presents Kashmiri folk flare, but also represents her identity by donning traditional Kashmiri attire on stage.

Know Kashmir

The effort to project Kashmir beyond its striking countenance is being made by some Kashmir-based instagrammer these days.

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#kashmir

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This Instagram handle is making Know Kashmir learning process easy for people by sharing historical facts.

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#Kashmir

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The effort seems to tell the Kashmir story beyond the studio shrill and the dominant discourse.

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