Basharat Peer was a teenager in Kashmir, reading Hardy Boys and Superman comics when the valley was rocked by conflict, with cries of azaadi. Peer writes about his experiences of growing up during those days in his book Curfewed Nights, one of the few books out of Kashmir written by an insider.
Part I of the interview: 'I am a Kashmiri and my politics are different'
In the second part of his interview, he tells Krishna Kumar how he was tempted to pick up the gun himself and that his experience is not representative of the hardships of Kashmir.
There have been so many outsiders writing about Kashmir. What do you think is the difference between such work and someone like you writing about it?
I have read a lot of such work and there are some really competent outsiders. But the basic problem is that they come from a certain world and are trying to explain about a different world. It can affect one positively and negatively. It depends on how you use your position.
An outsider can come to my village and ask questions. They will tell him four stories, but he will never know what the moment is. When I write about events that I witnessed and was part of, I can write with authority. Outsiders look at Srinagar from Delhi or their hotel rooms.
I was out there on the streets in my teens shouting slogans. I wanted to tell the story because of my training. As an insider I am embracing my identity and the world I come from.
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Image: A demonstrator hurls a stone at the police during a protest in Srinagar. Photograph: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images
Also read: Blood in the snow: 10 years of conflict in Kashmir