Walking in the middle of fields of delicately-scented purple saffron crocus flowers, 36-year-old Mubeen Yasin, a saffron farmer from the southern region of Indian Kashmir, is not optimistic that in a few years time the scenery will remain as beautiful as it is today.
It is 50 days into the lockdown in Kashmir since roads were blocked off, schools shut, and internet and communication services stopped.
In the semi-lit makeshift tent covered with strips of cardboard, five women sit in a huddle. As their young children, covered in specks of mud and soot, move around noisily, the women try to hush them down. Hollow-eyed and visibly malnourished, all the women also appear afraid.
In central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, 40-year-old Javaid Ahmad Hurra remembers vividly how his small hamlet used to be lush and green when he was a child. It is now subtly turning into a concrete jungle, with cement structures dominating the scenery.
Mudasir Ahmad says that two decades ago, his father made a prophecy that the lake would vanish after the fish in its waters started dying. Three years ago, he found dead fish floating on the surface, making him worried about its fate.
Hospitals in Kashmir’s summer capital are packed to capacity these days, their wards overflowing with pellet gun victims injured during violent clashes with government forces.
Trudging barefoot on his two-acre piece of land, 57-year-old Mukhtar Ahmad has little hope of growing any crops this year due to the sudden dry spell that has struck Kashmir’s winter.
Rizwana* had hoped and expected that justice would be served – that the man who raped her would be sufficiently punished for his crime. Months after she suffered at his hands, however, the perpetrator remains at large.
It was almost midnight when Mushtaq Margoob woke up to the incessant ringing of his phone. It was his patient, a young woman whom Margoob, a renowned Kashmiri psychiatrist and head of the department of psychiatry at the only psychiatric hospital in Kashmir, had been treating for depression for many years.
Twenty-three-year-old Haleema (not her real name) was not the first female patient at Srinagar’s Chest Diseases Hospital in the Indian state of Kashmir to try to run away.
Leaning on her daughter’s arm in the post-operative ward of a hospital in Srinagar, capital of the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Raja Begam views the anti-infection pill she is being offered with a large dose of suspicion.
Bashir Ahmad Malik was flabbergasted when a helicopter carrying an Indian official from Kashmir’s summer capital of Srinagar landed in his resident Drang village, just 17 miles away from its point of departure.
He dreamed of one day running on international athletic tracks and worked hard for seven long years to make this a reality.