Child’s Play In Kashmir: A Study In Contrasts

During one of my recent travels to the Himalayas, I came across an incident that made me think about kids who grow up in troubled or violent places like Kashmir & Gaza. The presence of large amount of defense personnel with arms & ammunitions in daily life also alters their outlooks. I witnessed this phenomenon at a remote village in Kashmir & captured some amazing photographs to document this.

In a small village in Kashmir, I photographed 4 kids playing with sticks and stones. At first, they were curious about me as much as I was of them. At the sound of the click of the camera, they started to giggle & run away. Hesitant at first, it soon became a game for all of us, where they pretended that the camera was a gun. At the sound of the click they would run, shield themselves & shoot at me from behind tents & rocks with sticks as makeshift guns. Long after this mortal combat game was over, they continued to shoot at me with their finger guns.

It’s a remarkable study in contrasts: the violence that these kids are exposed to, and accept as part of a ‘normal’ childhood, while living in one of the most serene and beautiful places on Earth.

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