New realms of resistance
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Sheene Pipin, folklore and snow art

 

By AHMAD KASHMIRI

 

At a time when Kashmir valley is witnessing, perhaps like olden times, a severe chill of Chillai Kallan, social media is abuzz with snow art, netizens home and abroad giving vent to their feelings and experiences representing their aspirations as a nation using the peculiarities of winter.
With the advent of internet and its derivative social media, people all over the world have been using it according to their own tastes and interests. Since this media offers certain degrees of freedom where users try to make the best use of it, for individual and collective endeavors, Kashmir and Kashmiris are no exception. The diversity of art and creativity of unknown and unheard artists living in the countryside has come to the forefront via social media.
Every passing day we see something new and creative displayed on social media particularly Facebook, and the multimedia options the platform offers. Though we observe ticklish things on social media but by and large we see netizens trying their best to contribute to the issues of public concern through their armature art, seen and unseen in the mainstream corporate media where an artist has to beg for space.
Kashmiri artists, writers, poets, cartoonists and painters, the celebrated as well as the obscure ones have been using social media for venting their feelings and observations and making a handsome contribution to the state of arts in Kashmir as a whole.
The factor of political resistance is neither an exception nor is lacking in the impressive pieces they design and display on social media, especially the Facebook. Geography and climate of Kashmir adds both beauty and uniqueness to the performance of these instant artists. Generally the snow art is reflective of widely held aspirations, like self-reliance or resistance for right to self-determination of Kashmiris, and a spectrum of understanding of the prevailing conditions.
One of these mornings I was swayed by seeing a snow-art post on Facebook, on the wall of Journalist, Arshad Dijoo, wherein the artist has made a make believe “snow-hut-lockup’ (jail). Inside the lockup are some minors “locked up” under “PSA”, outside the make-believe lockup is sitting a visibly sad minor girl. The post reads: “Waiting for her brother’s release and waving off PSA….!! Thus indicating that inside the make-believe snow-architected prison lies the minor brother of the girl, who has been kept in jail under PSA, the girl is pensively waiting for the release of her sibling, her minor brother who figures among, perhaps, many children booked by the state administration under the ‘lawless law.’
It reminds me of the childhood story of “sheene pipin pipin (SPP)” (a bird peculiarly crying in winter), our elders would tell us about that she-bird craving for snowfall, chanting “Sheene Peein Peein, sheen karr peyye, myoun boey yeyye…”(I am sheene pipin pipin (a sparrow-like boird), when will snowfall occur, and my brother come out alive)
The she-bird would crave for snowfall, then hope for its melting away and after that finding her brother who she had lost trapped under snowfall in the previous year. As per the story SPP (bird) would every year crave for snowfall and its melting down for her brother to come alive out of snow….the folklore continues to touch my heart
This marvelous snow-art post about the lockup depicts the situation of contemporary Kashmir and how resistance is taking over other new realms. Certainly heartening.

 

—The writer can be reached at: ahmadkashmiri@gmail.com

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