The (Possibly) Short and Tortured Life of Irshad


The (Possibly) Short and Tortured Life of Irshad

Illustration: Namaah/ Arré


spent 2010 in Kashmir where the police and security forces shot and killed 124 unarmed men, women, and children. Some of them had demonstrated on the streets against the “Indian rule” in Kashmir. Notices for central Kashmir’s “most wanted persons” went up around town, featuring a string of young men, all wanted for stone pelting. Irshad* was one of them.

Early one summer morning in 2010, I walked into Irshad’s neighbourhood. Interrupting a cricket game on a curfewed street, I asked a few children about this most wanted criminal. Pointing to a hill, they yelled for him. Trudging down a slope was a boy who pulled up the neck of his shirt to cover his face. It was Irshad. At 14, he already knew the implications a camera could have on his life.