Archive for July, 2008


Cinema is a fascinating subject but Indian cinema popularly known as Bollywood is more so because of the peculiar traits of the people who watch it. Kashmir as a paradise as evoked in films of 1960’s has in some ways carried over into recent films dealing with the Kashmir issue. The historicization of Bollywood’s long Kashmir obsession is thus an exploration of how this obsession fits into the contested political relationship between Kashmir and the Indian Union.
Films of 1960’s made the Kashmir Valley the space for the expression of a new youthful modernity for urban Indians, especially through the technology of color. Pleasures of these films with the formation of a modern Indian subjectivity, contrasts these pleasures with the mounting political tensions within Kashmir.

It was in 1964 that Kashmir Ki Kali (K3) hit the cinemas as a salad of music, romance and drama; garnished with fresh sprigs of the Kashmiri locale. Kashmir is kali was a musical that presented a trip to Srinagar on a couch. The era of color had brought a sort of vibrancy into movies. Outdoors and their natural colors turned into a rage. The white of snow was much beautiful in a color movie than grey and grey movies. So K3 was a treat to the moviegoers with its beautiful Kashmiri locations.

In 1999, it was Kargil War that played a distinctive role in making Kashmir central to the definition Indian national unity. The Kargil episode inspired a first Post Independent India, which had never before stood together, shoulder to shoulder, than it did during and for a short while after the Kargil Episode. Kargil became the USP of film makers. Even though these films didn’t make it big at box office level but they got admiration from all types of people. Advertisement of national pride through films enabled for the first time in 52 years, this nation truly united as one, cutting across all barriers of caste, class, creed, and community.

While Bollywood has long projected Kashmir as the eroticized landscape of the mind in the social imaginary of Indians’ it was Mani Ratnam’s flamboyant narrative of guns and roses – Roja (1992) – that kick-started a reexamination of Bollywood’s complicity with ‘the secret politics of our desires’. Violence and geopolitics have intervened within Kashmir’s cinematic performance and reception. With the emergence of Kashmiri separatism in 1989, the Valley now offers a theatre for a new ‘cinepatriotism’ for the romance of Indo-Pak war rather than the battle of the sexes (Kabir, 2004a).
Although numerous films were made on Kashmir; it is the modicum of films or none of these films that portrayed indigenous cultural space of Kashmir. The celebrated brotherhood between Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims was never tried to be publicized by film makers. It was only in Jagmohan period in Kashmir, the animosity aroused in non-communal Kashmir. The political structures were structured in a manner that led to communal confrontation in the Valley. The people who had lived since centuries harmoniously became the victims of communal politics thus led them to exterminate each other. This phenomenal catastrophe was portrayed in films in enthusiastically without letting people to question the veracity.

In reality it is only 10 bad films that Bollywood has been able to produce on Kashmir after 1990’s. If we analyze these films it makes one clear about how the mainstream media represents Kashmir and Kashmiri people. Almost in most of these films Kashmiri’s are either labeled as terrorists or fundamental Muslim’s whose morals and ethic are pre-modern and doesn’t fit in this western democratic liberal society. There is palpable change in titles itself, how the films related with Kashmir started with titles like Kali, Hena and then transformation of titles to Mission Kashmir, Fannah. The changes in the titles clearly signify the loss of innocence and creation of defective place called Kashmir.


“If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin”.

Hyderabad today is an embodiment of well-heeled city in terms of its representation in mainstream media. The rapid growth phase since last decade has placed Hyderabad among the apical cities of India .Hyderabad as technological and knowledge hub has made its mark both nationally and internationally. With all these accomplishments, this historical city of Nawab’s has also a very gloomy side to it. The city is partitioned on nomenclature basis into two major areas named as old city and new city. As the name is titled on the concept of time, old city part of it tells a story of exploitation and stands out in sharp contrast to the new city. While the information technology and biotechnology boom has brought people from different parts of the country, it is local residents of old city who are unable to get benefited from their native city’s acclaimed potential.
It was in month of July when I got an opportunity to Visit rural areas of Hi-tech Hyderabad. The NGO at present I am working with Naandi Foundation endowed me with documenting the activities of the workshop, conducted in three different areas. Naandi Foundation works with Government of Andhra Pradesh to reach the children in public schools in order to ensure them learn. By virtuousness of its Ensuring Children Learn (ECL) Program, 64,250 government schoolchildren in 450 schools across 11 Mandals in Hyderabad are catered with basic amenities while pursuing their education. A 4 days workshop to serve this purpose was conducted by ECL Hyderabad in Charminar, Dayanandagar and Vijayanagar Colony. The primary intention of the program was to train the community activists (CA’s) and making them understand the theory of engaging with the children. Charminar, being the celebrated place fascinated me more than the other two centers. I was thankfully allowed to exercise my choice for documenting processes at workshop conducted in Urdu ghar ( Home of urdu) near Asra Hospital, Charminar. The Streets surrounding Urdu Ghar were installed with numerous pan Shops and Tea stalls. The overwhelming response of people to tobacco consumption make these pan shops the places of eminent importance. The so-called exposed section of the locality conglomerate several times a day to discuss day to day to problems of the world on these pan shops. The street corners had turned brownish red as the pan and tobacco chewers regard these corners as enviable spots for spitting. This chaotic Milieu of Charminar gives an impression of alien in the wonderland for the people who know Hyderabad from Indian Newspapers. The distance of 5 km from new city to old city is an incommensurable transition that any one can rarely find in other parts of the world.
Old City of Hyderabad especially Charminar is inhabited by Muslim majority who widely have Urdu as medium of their instruction. In this inherent part of Hyderabad education is in lamentable shape. The state machinery is unable to deliver goods in old city of Hyderabad. The area has plethora of schools and genuine number of schoolchildren, despite all these positives, nothing is commendable. The unconcerned politics,bureaucratic structures and negligence of people has deeply contaminated primary education status in poverty stricken old city. While some criticize callous attitude of the government towards old city, while as others criticizing negligence of parental care, no one is ready to take the initiative to handle the system and face the ground realities. Numerous discourses used to happen in the form of seminars, conferences but all these intellectual discourses on changing the scenario have modicum or no effect on the practical grounds. In this sense the initiative taken by Naandi Foundation with the help of government is laudable. To meet the ground realities, Naandi Foundation with the help of Government of Andhra Pradesh has taken the initiative to meet these ground realities in order to bridge the gap.
My visit to three schools in highly backward areas near Charminar gave me an opportunity to personally engage with parents, children and school teachers. My first visit was to Tabela Donger (TD) Singh Govt. High School (Urdu Medium) in Hafez Babanagar established in 2002 by Govt. of Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Department. Naandi runs one of its many academic Support Centers (ASC’s) in T.D School. The area is inhabited by a whopping population of approximately 1 lakh people. This prominent and colossal School has only able to attract 749 children, (443 girls,306 boys), having teacher to student ratio as 1:40 ( Teacher:student). The school from outside give a very good impression with its well constructed building. On the day of visit it was merely 50% of children present in the school. While speaking to Head master of the School M.A Jabar, for the reason of the low attendance.
Mr. Jabar remarks
“Attendance has remained a major problem in this school as the parents prefer their children to attend various ceremonies in homes rather than school.”
While Mr. Jabar believes that it is the negligence of the parents due to which the condition in the schools is so much deplorable. While this being a perspective of headmaster, I had no option than to meet some parents of the children whether they really accept the blame. My first talk was with Nazima Begum’s ( 5th standard student) father, as in this part of the world you are always your fathers child than mothers. Nazima’s father Mohd. Hussain was a mechanic, who’s work is to repair motor bikes in the nearby area. Here I was clueless whether really to blame Hussain Saab, who takes it all to meet his both ends meal. How can be a mechanic, being himself overburdened with other family responsibilities with no knowledge of education held responsible for his child’s studies. At least his child has got the chance to make it to 5th standard, the old father had never been able to get a chance to visit a school, else than some introduction to some deeny- taleem (religious knowledge). It is the whole structures that are to blamed for this distressing condition. Naandi has adopted Nanhi Kali program by the virtue of which it tracks the girls annually in order to ensure them at least to qualify 10 th class. In India out of 10 girls admitted in primary schools it is only 3 girls who make it to 10 th standard. One can imagine the fate of girls in this area where men are of paramount importance.
Now the School teachers are planning for door to door campaign to force parents to send their children to school. My visit to other schools was of similar experience with only slight increase in the intensity of problems faced by the children in poorly managed schools.
During the workshop the conducted in Urdu Ghar Community Activists (CA’s) were said to solve worksheets for the children and identify complexities in the worksheets that are later provided to children. The Community Activists (CA’s) with the guidance of Academic Resource Coordinators (ARC’s) tried to demystify every complexness in the worksheets for the Children. In schools a specific focus is on low performance children, who are often alienated in the classroom thereby resulting their “drop out” at an early stage. Such children are identified during the base line assessment conducted in all schools where Academic Support Centers (ASC’s) are being set up by Naandi Foundation. The majority of the children under this program are from subaltern families. The parents of most of the children are daily wage laborers for whom it becomes difficult to guide their children.
Hyderabad claimed to be the Cyber-City has huge task before it to be the among the vanguard cities of the India and off course of the world. The self centered vested interests need to be exposed and work for education of Muslim students and protect and improve the Government schools in the city is needed to be done. Development is a contested term lets give it a meaning in the form of fighting for educational development in the city.