This feature has some paintings of Iram Razzaq by which she “wants to express the pain of people”. They are published in this website after she submitted them and wrote the text herself particularly for this feature. She is an Painting artist from Pakistan-administered-Kashmir and is currently settled in United Kingdom. [Ideas and opinions expressed, details mentioned are completely authors’ own.]
This paintings depicts the incidents of violence and cruelty in Kashmir in summer 2010. Indian armed forces acted with hundreds of brutal civilian killings of mostly youths. Between this a young boy was hit by a marble shot in his eye from close range by slingshot and resulted in making him blind. Also in the painting I have attempted to show the inability of Indian armed forces to see the obvious graffiti painted on almost every roadside wall in Kashmir. A little blind kid offers help by presenting the officer a pair of glasses…!
‘I EXIST’ represents a reminder for the world, of the existence of oppressed people of Kashmir by brutal armed forces of India. It shows the determination to resist against the extreme level of atrocities being committed to silence the people’s demand of right to self determination throughout Indian Held Kashmir. Its an attempt to make young blood being spilled mercilessly, noticed. Its a voice of wailing mothers, desperate to reunite with children snatched off from them, of scream of sisters longing for their beloved brothers and of the silent cries of elderly fathers witnessing their children disappearing before their eyes.
As self explanatory as the painting is, it represents and honors the precious souls of young innocent children whose ‘childhood’ is now only a myth in the Valley. Witnessing the evil armed forces outside their houses, crackdown on elder siblings and relatives, humiliations on their sisters and the dead bodies brought home every now and then, takes away the ‘childhood’ they deserve and which is the essential part of a children life in order to groom him/her to become responsible, confident member of society and a respectable human being. It represents the innocent little beings mature enough (forced to) to recognize the humiliation of slavery and are ready to sacrifice their precious lives resisting against the atrocities committed by the Indian forces on a daily basis. The painting is also a gesture to tell them they are not forgotten, and their precious blood would not go in waste.
What must be going on those little minds locked inside their houses for days sometimes even weeks, repeatedly, every now and then when put under curfew for no valid reason, was the thought behind this painting. It represents the fright, the deprivation, the anger, the rebellion, the resistance and the urge to protest and break free. Does a normal child of any other “democratic” country have to undergo this roller coaster of emotions too?The painting is a dream that has become the purpose of existence of every breathing soul in Jammu and Kashmir. It is a dream to hold their heads high in dignity and honor. A dream to be able to live freely in their own homeland, to get rid of the outsiders; the occupiers, to break the chains of slavery, to protect themselves and the generations to come from the evil and cruel occupation of India. A dream of freedom and independence…!
‘Paradise on earth’ is another name given to heavenly beautiful Kashmir. From snow capped mountains standing high with pride to calm, serene lakes with mesmerizing Shikaara’s (boats) carrying tourists to leave them speechless by the beauty of their surroundings; from shady Chinaars enhancing their elegance with every passing season to the rainbow colored tulips, this beauty reflects in the people of Kashmir too. They welcome their guests whole heartedly and are well known for their hospitality. But it’s the guests they welcome not the invaders. Every aspect of this divine land is being trampled by the outsiders occupying it. By killing more than ninety thousand people, raping thousands of women, leaving millions without limbs and murdering their dignity, they, the oppressors, have turned the place into nothing less than Hell itself. Heaven on earth is not much of a paradise anymore…!