Wednesday, 29 January 2020

No Fathers in Kashmir Film Review

Ashvin Kumar's No Fathers in Kashmir elegantly reminds of the power of film as it takes us on a journey through which the dark secrets and hidden realities of life in Indian Occupied Kashmir are explored. A film becomes the voice of an oppressed population at a time when the oppressor has cut them off from the world. The lockdown is happening right now but the suffering began decades ago. 

It is very rare in India for a filmmaker to work on a film that upsets the authorities. At a time when the biggest names of Bollywood line up to produce films unconditionally praising the nation, particularly its military, someone has rebelled against norms. Films in India present army men as noble and ready to sacrifice themselves fighting for just causes - selfless men who can do no wrong.

This is why a film like No Fathers in Kashmir goes against the tides. It's like the one son who grows up to question his father. Governments and armies have over the years justified illegal and unjust actions against innocent civilians by manipulating public opinion. Hitler made people believe that he was the one in the right and he did so through propaganda. Bollywood has for years been showing one side of the story when it comes to Kashmir and it's too obvious why this has been the case. Films that support the agenda have unlimited access to funding whereas a film like No Fathers in Kashmir not only scares investors but attracts legal battles as well as threats.

Ashvin could have given up the thought of making such a film and gone for a much safer option. Investors would shy away from his choice of subject. Industry giants would not want any association with a film that questions the brutality of the Indian forces. However, not only did he make the film - he relentlessly fought legal battles to get it released in India. Having followed his updates on social media, I witnessed Ashvin's abundance of will power and determination in getting his film released.

It's not a conventional Bollywood film. There are no movie stars playing lead roles. The protagonist is a teenage school girl who comes to Kashmir with questions surrounding her father's disappearance. Just like most people, she doesn't know the harsh realities of life in Indian Occupied Kashmir. A selfie obsessed, social media loving, young person discovers the problems faced by ordinary people; making the film perfect for youngsters who must be told the story of Kashmir. This is exactly the kind of awareness the issue needs. Young people are being bombarded with propaganda films and biased media reporting. The hero is normally an Indian soldier and the bad guys are Kashmiris who are presented as enemies of peace loving Indians. The reality is somewhat different - these so called bad guys have no choice but to fight back against oppression. True patriotism as shown by Ashvin is acknowledging and condemning the wrongdoing of authorities rather than denying and concealing.

Ashvin has done a great service to humanity. He has not only heard the screams of the helpless mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters and wives in Kashmir but he has become their voice. Nowadays the vast majority of films are made purely for entertainment and to fill the pockets of investors and producers. Rarely do we find a film taking on such an important role in society.

Indian authorities have locked down the people of Kashmir and without internet access, it is very difficult for those people to share their torment with the rest of the world. Ashvin has reminded the world that those Kashmiris who have suffered over the years should not be forgotten. There are some extremely powerful scenes in the film which expose the brutality of the Indian army and the helplessness of those they oppress in every way possible. One scene also highlights the hypocritical manner in which the Indian media covers Kashmir. It reminds us how and why so many are completely unaware of the truth.

Ashvin deserves more than just awards for No Fathers in Kashmir. He has demonstrated the power of film in highlighting and raising awareness of social injustices. A man has stepped forward out of a population of a billion and spoken the truth. It takes an immense amount of courage to do so. Ashvin has given hope to the people of Kashmir - at least there is someone in India who is willing to discuss their plight. He has set an example for others to follow. Most importantly, he has understood the Kashmir issue and portrayed it through his story and characters. People will now ask questions rather than blindly accepting the Indian Government's explanation. This is the kind of social change that film has the power to initiate.

Sameer Hussain
Dadyal Online 

Monday, 4 November 2019

Friday, 28 June 2019

Mobile Phone Registration Process in Pakistan

Many people are confused about taking mobile phones to Pakistan so let's clarify a few things:

If your stay in Pakistan will be under 60 days, you do NOT have to do anything. Just take your phone with you - no checking at the airport and no need to register anything anywhere.

If you are staying more than 60 days, you will need to register your phone either online or via text message. If you do not register your phone, it will stop working after the 60 day period. Please note that your phone will still work in UK. The block is only in Pakistan.

You don't have to wait in any queues at the airport (as was the case in the early days). You have 60 days to register your phone by visiting a website and entering your details. You can also register via text message instead of through the internet. You need your passport number and the phone's IMEI number in order to register a phone. One person can only register one phone.

You are only allowed to bring one phone. For additional phones, you need to pay a custom fee that varies depending on the handset. However, there are no checks at the airport to ensure that you only have one phone.

Here is the link for the Device Registration Portal:

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Onah Lake

Mangla Dam Lake, Onah. 

Photos by Haroon Gultasib

Friday, 17 May 2019

What is Jealousy?

Jealousy is when you look at others and you feel that you should have what they have. For example, you worked hard for something but someone else achieved it. If you become jealous and hold negative thoughts about that person, it reduces your imaan i.e. making you weaker. 

Jealousy is when someone has more knowledge than you and you ridicule them to make yourself happier. That does not improve you or do any good to you. In fact this emotion of jealousy becomes the cause of your destruction. Learn to be happy for others and accept that you can't be the best in everything all the time. 

Jealousy is when someone has a better car or a bigger house than you and you do whatever you can to harm them because you cannot digest their success. You pick out and highlight the negatives in order to downplay their success. 

Jealousy is when someone has a better job or higher qualifications than you and you say negative things about them to make yourself feel better. 

Jealousy is when someone is better looking than you and you pick out their bad points so people laugh at them. 

Jealousy is when despite being in line for selection, you are not chosen for the cricket team because someone better than you replaced you and you start to hate them. 

Jealousy is when people respect and look up to someone but you don't get that respect and attention so you feel bitter about it. 

Jealousy is when somebody prays five times a day but because you don't, you feel the need to criticise something else that they do. It is because you don't want them to be seen as better than you. Instead of bringing others down, it would be better to focus on improving yourself. But you find it easier to say things about people than to take action to improve yourself. 

Jealous people don't just say things about those they envy but they act against them, be it openly or secretly. They make it their goal in life to bring others down. In the process, they ruin their imaan as their thoughts, words and actions earn nothing but the displeasure of Allah. 

Nobody likes to admit that they are jealous yet jealousy is a major issue affecting human nature. We must be strong enough to overcome and bury this negative emotion before it overtakes us. At the first thought of jealousy, we must learn to stop it because if we don't, it will spread like a disease. 

We must do our best to avoid such harmful and negative feelings because they ruin what we have. Instead we need to think that if someone has done better than us, we must work harder in the future or perhaps there are better things that we have been blessed with that they don't have. 

A pure heart has no room for jealousy. You should be happy when you achieve something but at the same time be happy for others - because that is a quality that makes you a good person.

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