Kashmir Through My Lens – #Childhoodinkashmir

#Childhoodinkashmir - In conversation with Aamir Wani

What is life like for #children who live amid political unrest, fighting, curfew? The mention of #Kashmir draws strong emotions, highly polarized opinions and discussions. However, what is missing is understanding, and conversation about the lives of ordinary people—of children, their families, how they cope, how they live, their dreams and aspirations.
What happens to childhood when children live surrounded by #violence?

Aamir Wani, Kashmir Through My Lens a noted poet and photographer, travelled across districts in Kashmir, in a collaboration with Leher, a child rights organization, documenting stories of children—childhood, as it comes to be in a backdrop of a continued conflict.

On a recent visit of Leher to Kashmir, a parent said, “The hardest thing for me is to see my own child exposed to the same violence I saw while growing up. I had dreams of a better life for my children. Now I don’t know…It is a crushing feeling.”

This week Aamir helps us draw connections through these stories of children living, loving, and yearning of a normal, regular life, one that perhaps many of us take for granted. #childhoodinkashmir

#Childhoodinkashmir - Teaser 1

When I asked him what he wanted to be… He looked up with his dreamy eyes and said, ”Doctor!” – and then with that blush on his cheeks, he looked away shyly. #childhoodinkashmir Kashmir Through My Lens

To read Affan’s story tune in to Leher!

#Childhoodinkashmir - Teaser 2

“I love to study about stars and planets. I am also able to form full sentences in English now,” she exclaimed with a shy smile. #childhoodinkashmir Kashmir Through My Lens

To read Bisma’s story tune in to Leher!

#Childhoodinkashmir - Teaser 3

He spread out his little arms and pretended to fly around when I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. “Pilot! I want to become a pilot,” he said with a grin on his face. #childhoodinkashmir Kashmir Through My Lens

To read Tanzeel’s story tune in to Leher!

#Childhoodinkashmir - Kashmir through my lens by Aamir Wani

I want to go back
to the childhood again,
To catch the butterflies yellow and green.
Death hides behind the curtains
of the pines trees,
I want to go back
to that spring breeze.
Chilli in the air suffocates me now
Where have we lost the paradise keys?
I want to go back
to the childhood again
For I never saw
those butterflies again.

#Childhoodinkashmir - Affan Shafi

Affan’s mother is worried about his weak eyesight, which has been weak since birth and causes a lot of problems. He loves school and wants to be a doctor. His father is a labourer. His school is situated among the peaceful Zabarwan mountains of #Kashmir, which provide a calm environment. Yet the tension and pain in the air is palpable.#childhoodinkashmir Kashmir Through My Lens

#Childhoodinkashmir - Bisma Nasir Ganai

Bisma is from Lalpora. Lalpora is a village located close to the LoC in the Lolab area of Kupwara district. Coming from a locality where education for girls is being frowned upon, it is Bisma’s mother, Mubeena, who always encourages her to go to school.Bisma’s father is dead. She has 4 siblings. Her community is sensitive and often under high militancy alert. She loves learning about stars and planets at school. #childhoodinkashmir Kashmir Through My Lens

#Childhoodinkashmir - Tanzeel Rehman Najar

“He is Rizwan! He is my best friend and I love to play with him the most.” “What do you like to play?” I asked. “Kho- Kho and football,” Tanzeel said in excitement and exchanged a mischievous smile with Rizwan. “But I don’t like it when I couldn’t get to see him because my mother doesn’t let me step out of the house during curfews. The school shuts down then and I don’t meet him for days. I don’t like to play football without him,” Tanzeel added. #childhoodinkashmir Kashmir Through My Lens

#Childhoodinkashmir - Mehak Jan

Mehak is Tasleema’s daughter. Her father died of an illness a while back. Mehak lives with her mother, siblings and cousins who are orphaned. Mehak wakes up early, helps her mother with house hold work, and goes to school. She is studious and ambitious. In her community girls get married in class 7 or 8. #childhoodinkashmir Kashmir Through My Lens

#Childhoodinkashmir - Umar Fayaz Budoo

Of a shy nature and a heart full of determination, little Umar aspires to give his best to the society by becoming a doctor. His parents have maintained a good balance in his life, between studies and sports. Umar is from Baramullah. Last year schools were closed for more than half the year. #childhoodinkashmir Kashmir Through My Lens