Monsoons never cross the mountains - PhMuseum

Monsoons never cross the mountains

Camillo Pasquarelli

2015 - 2018

Kashmir, India

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 zones 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 season of protests, repression 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 mountains” is a visual journey through the struggle of the Kashmiri people trapped in an endless season of sorrow while waiting 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.

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