By Ahana Bhattacharya
Pune, Feb 13 (IANS) While everything about Pune’s music Vh1 Supersonic music festival was happy and vibrant, a slice of reality reflected in Manjiri Desle’s photography.
The Mumbai girl, who has just completed her BA in Photography, showcased her Kashmir-themed photographs at a painting and photography exhibition arranged by students at the recent Vh1 Supersonic music festival in the city.
“I am interested to learn about whatever is happening in Kashmir. Through my photographs, I want to highlight problems, whatever is going on in Kashmir right now. People are suffering there but their stories are not coming out. I felt maybe someone should take a step to highlight their condition,” Manjiri told IANS, on why the idea of Kashmir-themed photography interested her.
She continued: “The main reason of bringing Kashmir to Vh1 Supersonic is to highlight the condition of the people of Kashmir in front of the other parts of India. Over there people were protesting against revoking of Article 370. Just as protests are going on in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh now, Kahsmir is also witnessing protests. Every where are are military people roaming around. We can’t think of growing up watching soldiers standing in front of our homes, but that’s the life of kids over there. I have tried to reflect all of these in my photographs. This is why I documented Kashmir.”
Manjiri, a resident of Palghar in the outskirts of Mumbai, revealed that she was always intrigued by Kashmir, and decided to visit the state soon after Article 370 was revoked last year.
“I was curious to know what is happening in Kashmir. I visited there in October after Article 370 was revoked. I stayed there for 21 days and I fell in love with Kashmir,” said the 20-year old, adding that she did have some unexpected and uncalled for experiences during her trip.
“Some experiences were unexpected. For example, after I landed in Srinagar, I discovered the hotel I had booked from here was shut! I had to put up in another hotel that had no staff and no chefs. There were only two caretakers, who allotted me a room. I learned that all the tourists and staff had run away because just the previous day there had been a grenade attack,” she recalled.
However, the brave girl didn’t feel scared for even a minute and, in fact, is looking forward to visiting Kashmir again soon.
“Had I been scared, I wouldn’t have visited Kashmir. I felt so good over there because the people were very nice and friendly. I did not know anyone but I was greeted warmly by the local people. I got to explore a lot, I learned and understood a lot of things. I was touched by their love. I am hoping to go back soon. I want to document a whole lot of stuff, ” signed off Manjiri.