Kasheer: Art, Culture and the Struggle for Azadi

Elayne McCabe
2014 | 52 minutes | India-controlled Kashmir, U.S.A.
New York Premiere 

Since the 1947 partition of the British Indian Empire into what is now India and Pakistan, Kashmir—which immediately became a disputed territory—has existed in a state of perpetual occupation. The region’s plight is illuminated through the work of three local artists living in the Kashmir Valley. A talented young political cartoonist offers biting satiric commentary on regional politics. A middle-aged artist reflects, through abstract ink drawings, on his childhood and the tragic changes the militancy brought to his neighborhood. A senior artist uses vibrant spiritual paintings to reveal his quest for inner peace in the midst of unending social turmoil. The film puts a distinctly human face on the nuanced complexities of life under military rule and reveals the power of creativity in even the most dire of circumstances.

Thresholds, My Perspective

"Making Kasheer challenged nearly every aspect of my being personally and professionally. There were many times I thought I would never be able to finish this film. Living in a disputed region where identity, politics, the law, and daily life are so deeply contested forced me to embrace grey areas, paradoxes, and contradictions. I believe Kasheer provides a powerful understanding of the complexities involved in the Kashmir conflict in a way that offers space for quiet reflection rather than contributing to the explosive reactive debates that surround it. I hope in some small way, this film pushes the boundaries of how people view Kashmiri life and discuss a little understood but profoundly important geopolitical dispute. "

- Elayne McCabe | Director, Kasheer: The Struggle for Azadi