We all know the troubled landscape that lies behind Kashmir’s beauty. And perhaps the most innocent victims are children who are forced to bear the brunt of something they don’t quite understand.
A recent video from BBC India, titled Paradise Lost – The Children of Kashmir’s Conflict, traces a child’s emotional journey through widespread conflict – violence, shutdowns, curfews – with the help of his drawings. Other children also express their anguish through distressing artworks.
The images reflect the brutal reality of the valley, where thousands of children can’t go to school or step out of their homes without fear. In the video, produced by Shalu Yadav and Neha Sharma, the 12-year-old boy describes his encounters with violence and tragedy in the region. He lost his neighbour and friend, a boy called Aijaz, in a firing incident in 2016, when the army clashed with protesters.
Schools remained closed for seven months because of the unrest. And the boy could not summon the courage to even go out, hiding in a corner every time he heard a noise outside.
No cricket, no school and no friends. “I didn’t even see their faces for seven months,” he said. The schools re-opened after the situation calmed down. But things will never go back to normal, he knows. “It’s been awhile now, but Aijaz is still in my heart,” he said. “I want to forget it, but I can’t.”