In Kashmir where the year has four clear seasons, my mother spoke of her childhood
in the plains of Lucknow, and of that season in itself, the monsoon, when Krishna’s
flute is heard on the shores of the Jamuna.
While children run out into the alleys, soaking their utter summer,
messages pass between lovers. Heer and Ranjha and others of legends, their love forbidden,
burned incense all night, waiting for answers. My mother hummed Heer’s lament
but never told me if she also burned sticks of jasmine that, dying,
kept raising soft necks of ash. I imagined each neck leaning
on the humid air. She only said: The monsoons never cross the mountains into Kashmir.
Agha Shahid Ali
A highly contested land between India and Pakistan since 1947, Kashmir is today one of the most militarized zone in the world.
The first war between the two countries emerged from the ashes of the British colonial kingdom saw, in 1949, the United Nations intervening with a resolution that was urging the need for a plebiscite where the inhabitants would decide whether to join India or Pakistan.
No referendum has been implemented ever since.
Since the 90’s, Kashmir has been witnessing various political uprising against the Indian administration and every time the population fought for Azadi (“freedom” in Urdu language), their struggle has been silenced with blood.
Despite of the unpredictable new seasons of protests, repressions and martyrs, the situation has still not changed. Numerous human rights violations perpetrated by the Indian security forces have filled the heart of Kashmiri men and women with disillusionment and resentment.
“Monsoons never cross the mountain” is a visual journey through the struggle of the Kashmiri people, trapped in an endless season of sorrow whilst hoping for the spring of Azadi.
It is an attempt to depict the emotional landscape of the valley of Kashmir through the eyes of the children, entangled in this cycle from the very beginning of their life.