In Conversation with Veer Munshi
Original Story here
We are in Srinagar, Kashmir.
It’s 1pm and we are about to have some Kashmiri Mutton.
I’m with Mr Veer Munshi. One of the most acclaimed painters in Kashmir.
Mr Munshi is showing me his Srinagar for one day and it’s turning out to be the best day I’ve had in a long time.
We spoke about fear, Kashmir political situation, what it is like to be an artist in a conflict area. We spoke about migration and what happened 25 years ago in Kashmir, how Srinagar used to be the place of beauty, full of life, restaurants, bars and cinemas.
Right now Kashmir is different. Cinemas are burnt. Sufi shrines are nearly gone. Radical Islam is starting to slowly take over the place. It’s becoming something that Islam government is starting to implement and incline as a requirement instead of looking at the elements of religion and what it truely represents.
For Mr Munshi, art art is like therapy. This is how he started painting. The pain of seeing what was surrounding him, the turmoil, naturally found a medium in which to express itself. Paintings.
Everything happened to him because it’s part of faith and destiny.
He told me about a story of a time when he needed to go to United Nations to be able to show and talk about world peace. He didn’t have proper shoes, he never left India before. He was a simple man from a small village where he simply wanted to make some art to release the tension in his own heart, to be able to find some peace around what was going on around him.
Kashmir has been in conflict for the past 30 years.
What is it like to live in a conflict based area?
It’s about understanding how to operate in between two strong components — how to navigate in the middle of both worlds.
What is your approach to your work?
If I do something, I do it 100%. I dedicate my full energy to that one thing.
What advice would you have for struggling souls out there who are trying to find their way to a purposeful life?
What’s meant for you will come to you.
Fear is only natural and it will come out of you, but learn to relax and go with the flow.
There is no need to control.
Let me be.
What makes your feel alive?
What I learned is that humans are humans. Taking to one another is a gift of God. I like simple pleasures.Taking to others is like oxygen to me. I learn, develop and get motivation when meeting other people.
This is something that connected me with him
This is another class
Education is so important to kashmiri
Food is also
It’s sad there is so little tourism in this area, but boy , there is so much beauty and love and community. Community is very essential part of being Kashmiri, even tho it’s becoming more and more individualistic where West could learn that from here — simple pleasures and human factors that connects us with one another
Compassion and love
That’s what we sam share with one another.
That’s what we can learn. You choose the life. It’s up to you
Day 1 — love letter to srinagar
* today I started with change of flights. I moved it to Monday because I feel like it’s an important component for me to connect with nature out here and see what it has to offer.
* I then had Tea with Amir and my new friend. We then started driving around the city and to visit different parts. One key place was visiting the Kashmiri university. It was very surprising and interesting because we started talking about philosophy right away just wishing few minutes. We spoke about search of nothingness and being ok with that.
What’s meant for you is not suppose to by pass you. This quote is so real. I was meant to come here. I’m meant to be surorohnded by artists. I’m meant to lift myself through education to the next stage.
We met with upcoming photographers where mr veer was filtering for his exhibition that he is bursting of Kashmiri art in south of India ib apri
What was important to him was subject!
Kashmiri film festival in April
Inside Kashmiris last
Leper colony photography
They feel tebissues so close
They met three girls that got shot in the eye and they slates smiling
People here feel helpless
It’s not a poor country — it’s rich
Money is here circulating from 3 different area
Gift that Munshi gave me to me:
Book on Dialogues — conversations between him and a journalist.
Gift that I gave to Munshi
Introduction to Secret Cinema
Mr Munshi is curating a show in south of India in December. Head over there to check out the legendary work of his.