Author and journalist Justine Hardy will discuss her new book, a work of memoir as well as journalistic reporting, about a family in the war-torn region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan on Thursday, September 24 at 5:15 in Titsworth Lecture Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.
IN THE VALLEY OF MIST: Kashmir: One Family in a Changing World (Free Press; June 9, 2009) explains the violence in the Kashmir Valley, one of the most beautiful areas in the world, and long the subject of a fierce territorial dispute, as it affects the lives of the Dars, a Kashmiri family whom Hardy has known throughout the conflict. Having visited Kashmir as a child, she returned there in 1989 as a journalist and became enmeshed in the lives of the people, experiencing conflict alongside them.
The story of the Dars (not their real name) is representative of countless others in the Kashmir region. Hardy describes how life has changed in Kashmir under fundamentalism: the attacks on female education, the systematic rape of women during crackdowns and house-to-house raids, the rigid dress codes imposed on women and even children. And she depicts starkly the lives of those Kashmiris living in refugee camps, despairing of ever being able to return home. But she also offers tales of hope—including, counter intuitively, the effect the earthquake in 2005 had on bringing people from opposite sides of the conflict together. Finally, she will discuss Kashmir’s possible future, a conclusion she has developed after two decades of reporting and heavy activism in the region. She writes, “They are not stories about big men, political bullies, or military giants, but they are about those who were there before the fighting began, and who will still be there if it ever ends. This is about the survival of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. It is a story that is relevant far beyond the valley setting, and the conflict within Islam.”