Have you ever imagined living in a place where you are always under supervision and looked upon with suspicion all the time? Well, one such place is Kashmir. To the outside world, Kashmir is a land of ice-capped mountains and trees that engulf valleys laden with tulips and waterfalls but only the Kashmiris know how caged their life is in that beautiful valley.
As Pakistan and India mark 1947 as their year of independence the Kashmiris mark it as the start of the wait for a free homeland where they won’t be supervised by armies of different countries in the name of defense.
As the world faced a 2-6 months’ lockdown many people came to realize that the animals locked up in zoos needed to be set free but no one took a stand for the Kashmiris who have been under curfew since the past one year. While violations of all kinds of human rights have taken place and all kinds of social communications banned the UN still can’t stand up to India to stop the massacre of the Kashmiris that has been taking place.
Among the many forms of protests taking place for Kashmir, an artist caught our eye through his art.
Meet Mir Suhail, a cartoonist who has personally suffocated under India’s forced regime while he lived in Sri Nagar. This never made him back out from protesting through his art. So strong were his cartoons in sending out a message that he caught the attention of many on social media.
Mir Suhail now resides in New York after having spent a disturbing childhood in Sri Nagar. In one of his interviews for Al Jazeera, he talked about how the memory of his disabled friend lying dead on the floor still haunts him since he was 9 years of age.
He also recalls how his mother would come running to the school and take him back home forcibly when a sudden crackdown would take place in the valley. Imagine having to live life on the brink all the time. He faced resentment for drawing cartoons which put the Kashmiri journalists in a difficult situation as the Indian government never supported provocative content against them or any kind of criticism whole he worked in Sri Nagar.
His family on the other hand was very supportive and so he continued to draw for his people.
One of his cartoons shows an Indian soldier shooting bullets at the feet of a Kashmiri forcing him to celebrate the 5th August decision taken by Hindu nationalists also known as article 370.
Another of his cartoons shows how Indian Media shows an Indian soldier taking a child into safety while they killed his grandfather who was supposed to take care of him. The real images of the child crying on top of his grandfather’s dead body circulating on the internet caused quite an uproar on social media. This cartoon received more than 11K likes on Instagram.
Another one of his cartoons shows the limitations of internet usage in Kashmir. He says people need to connect in the modern era and taking away their access from the internet is stopping them from their basic rights of connecting with the world.
Mir Suhail has mostly focused on India’s revocation of article 370 since the past one year. One of his works shows Indian Army boots marching into the valley with houses built on top of them. This shows the colonization of the area which will be put into effect by force. People before this act were not allowed to buy land in Kashmir.
The Beautiful Land of Kashmir At The Moment
His recent cartoon shows the Shadow of the Indian flag which bleeds orange eliminating the white and green colors from it showing the elimination of peace, truth, growth, and fertility of the land.
While he uses his art to raise a voice for Kashmir this hasn’t left him limited to it. His latest work shows how Greece abandoned the refugees from Syria who came to take shelter from the bombing in their country.
Moreover another cartoon of his playfully shows the newly built diplomatic relations between Israel and UAE
Mir says that as his fame grows his chances of going back to Kashmir become limited because of the increasing aggression against his work. It’s almost every day that people insult his mother and sister online but he says this won’t stop him from drawing for Kashmir because that’s his place.