Behold, I Shine – Narratives of Kashmir’s Women and Children by Freny Manecksha is a gut –wrenching beautiful compilation of nine essays that bear a testament to the spirit and determination of the women and children of the Valley.
She covers every possible, imaginable topic ranging from the effect and complexities of militancy occupancy to the tehreek generation, the sexual violence in the valley, the role of memory in women’s resistance, women seeking justice in Kashmir to the emergence of dissent and feminism.
Each article is well structured, and calls upon multiple other texts, like medical reports, newspaper and academic articles by journalists and scholars alike and interviews with prominent people. She beautifully weaves in personal experiences and anecdotes of the countless Kashmiri women who have and continue to suffer and combat the perils of occupancy in the Valley.
The narrative is also interspersed with verses and poems by Kashmiri writers, that are bound to make you nostalgic for a Kashmir of yore, before the militancy and the struggle. The poem “A conversation with my mother on one of the last day of Ramzan.” is bound to move you, especially, the verse
Thoughts are very expensive. My dear,
Kashmiris cannot afford them,
So don’t think my child, don’t think.
From the very first page, the reader is called to read and reflect on the condition of this marginalised section of society. Freny raises pertinent questions and does an excellent job at attempting to find their answers among Kashmir’s women and children.
Each and every anecdote is proof of the fact that women, cannot be suppressed. Their voices cannot be disregarded, their determination cannot be broken. They have faced every imaginable hardship and much more, still, they emerge stronger and resilient, shining gloriously like the title suggests.
Pick this book if you want to learn more about Kashmir, the women and children of Kashmir, the way they combat and resist military occupancy in Kashmir, the way they use their memory to honour and continue the legacy of those whom they have no news and no way to establish contact, the way they find tranquillity in time of turmoil, the way they struggle to make their voices heard, the way they shine.
Reviewed by: Anusha D’Souza
Author(s): Freny Manecksha
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Release: May 2017
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