Alana Hunt

Cups of Nun Chai

Published by Yaarbal Books

Forms of representational violence have been part of the Kashmir Valley’s visual history for a very long time, since the coming of the very first lens-based practitioners in the 19th century to the region. This book, through insinuation, poetry and with the perspective of time, asks the reader to pay attention to the elusive and bold shifts that have taken place in the valley, by invoking one hundred and eighteen civilians who were killed in the protests that shook the Kashmir valley during the summer of 2010.

The contemplative pace, readerly cadence and conversational manner of the book allows one an immersive and extensive understanding of the valley through 108 interactions which recount its political shifts and histories over broad spans of time. Interacting with those who have had some exposure to the region, it asks us to think about how the news and media have conditioned our memories and approaches to places, but often misled us. However, through this act of memorialisation and recollection, the place of Kashmir becomes once again, a living concern. The very ethics of the narrative voice, of disclosure, makes us realise that Kashmir is an atlas for protests everywhere, making us further aware about how ‘positions’ are subconsciously, and sometimes stridently taken in an increasingly self-aware world.