Now Reading
In Pictures: The Spirit of Srinagar—The City of Seven Bridges

In Pictures: The Spirit of Srinagar—The City of Seven Bridges

+14
View Gallery

Breaking free from hackneyed foreign accounts, Kashmir over the years witnessed the rise of native narratives with fresh and deep insights. A young visual storyteller in this photo story is only trying to capture one such description of Srinagar city’s not-so-overt shades of life.


Life in Sun City is an elegy of its rundown glory as well as a eulogy of its renowned resilience which made it resist some harrowing offensives over the years.

As it glowers and glows with glee, the city looks a cauldron of countless emotions fuelling its untiring spirit.

Darsh Dawood for MI

There’re buried tales of great trials—wherein some apple of an eye has become a mound of mud, with withered narcissus atop his resting place. There’re ghost houses of those who couldn’t make peace with status quo. They now broadcast longing dispatches for the home in exile.

Darsh Dawood for MI

In the middle of this historic city, a tortured rebel of yore now walks as a witless dervish, while a mother of a disappeared dreamer is still harbouring a perpetual hope: “He’ll be home soon!”

Darsh Dawood for MI

Amid this doom and gloom situation, Srinagar—the fabled city of seven bridges—longs for its good old days, when the trauma of beloved loss and inflicted nightmare was yet to haunt people.

Support Our Journalism

You are reading this because you value quality and serious journalism.

But, serious journalism needs serious support. We need readers like you to support us and pay for making quality and independent journalism more vibrant.

Darsh Dawood for MI

The city’s spirit, however, is baffling. The caged souls betray the very captive emotion of being confined to their homes through the notorious barrel order. Among others, the vintage street-side bean-sellers—serving tastes amid sun, snow and shade—are vocal about the impending fall of fringe, for, they say, even furious flood eventually runs its course.

Darsh Dawood for MI

The veterans who once played hotheads and hippies in the romantic city call the current bedlam a passing phase, for they are witness of treacherous times and their crumbling nature.

Darsh Dawood for MI

The pep-talk remains—“Remember that ‘only man in her cabinet?’ Well, wasn’t she a self-styled Joan of Arch? But do you remember that epic fall, when she tottered on the staircases of Kashmir’s beloved hill saint?”

Darsh Dawood for MI

Yes, stories.

They console each other with stories. They tell tales of their perfidious past when hard-nosed commands nosedived and became nonentity forever. Those accounts are hope in despair, so they believe. And that’s what the literal legacy is all about, they tell their young.

Darsh Dawood for MI

But beyond these shop-front discourses, which can even pale the curated lectures of big campuses in comparison, are the undercurrents of life in Srinagar—the cultural cradle cum melting pot.

Darsh Dawood for MI

However, as people go about their routine, they leave behind a trail of trauma. They watch, in sheer sabr, as new edicts to dominate their lives keep rearing their ugly heads. They whisper, as the growing tribe of ‘prying ears’ keep casting their shadows around.

Darsh Dawood for MI

They fear the fate of their predecessors who once gave two-hoots about things and ended up becoming a memory.

Darsh Dawood for MI

Talking of memory, there were these two silent lovers sauntering on the Jhelum riverbank in one balmy summer day. Surrendered, they sat on a big stone, gazing the boatmen-bereft river — meandering and marching down the other side where the partitioned tribe awaits the homeland waters.

Darsh Dawood for MI

The heritage structures which once housed the history-makers were shading the two lovers at Jhelum from the searing autumn sun. They wore the long faces of thoughtful poets, perhaps struggling to strike right expression and eloquence.

See Also

Advertisement

Advertisement

Darsh Dawood for MI

At a stone’s throw, a little boy pelted pebbles in the river, in sheer joy and delight. His giggles shattered the sullen silence of lovers. They beamed smiles over the carefree childhood, yet to be clutched by the complexities of the conflicted life in Kashmir.

Darsh Dawood for MI

Far from the city’s bustling routine, this time-fixed life frame on the ghats of Jhelum perhaps underlined the hidden aspect of Srinagar—the city which has perhaps forgotten to live in its urge to survive another day.

Darsh Dawood for MI

“You don’t live in chaos, you only survive there,” a saintly man told me while paying a visit to the shrine of Shah-e-Hamdan—the revered reformer who transformed the treacherous landscape of Kashmir like no other.

Darsh Dawood for MI

Along with these meditative vibes, the city equally houses the everyday storm as young hit the turf in search of some action. While they play, others pray in the never-seen-before-so-desolated mosques.

Darsh Dawood for MI

But, people talk a lot in this city of lingering anguish. They still say it’s His wrath.

“They’ve been calling this His wrath ever since invading Mughals first arrived and laid the foundation of foreign rule in the valley,” an elder grinned at the cliché, as Srinagar witnessed another day of resilient spirit.


To help us strengthen the tradition of quality reading and writing, we need allies like YOU. Subscribe to us.

Mountain Ink is now on Telegram. Subscribe here.

Become Our Ally

To help us strengthen the tradition of quality reading and writing, we need allies like YOU. Subscribe to us.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2019-2022 Mountain Ink. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top