Inam ul Rehman | Greater Kashmir | April 5, 2007

Jashn-e-Azadi: We the slaves |

On 15th August Indian army unfurls the tricolour at historic Lal-chowk to celebrate their Independence Day and on this occasion only two things are visible on the streets of Srinagar: Indian army and stray dogs, this is the most telling scene of Jashne-e-Azadi directed by Sanjay Kak. Jashne-e-Azadi made by the son of the soil Sanjay Kak left me numb. Here is film which mocks at the India’s sham democracy in Kashmir without sermonise or patronising anyone. There is no linear narration. And he has defined Azadi not by himself but by the concerned people. It can range from metaphysical fight to revenge. He has brilliantly assembled collage of scenes and let people speak themselves. And in between-you blink and you miss the scene: has first time ever highlighted that the death toll of Kashmir Pandits killed is 200 only. Then, the symbolism, metaphors and similes used by the director are very telling. The documentary moves to and fro again and again. And in the prevailing confusion one thing that is unanimous throughout the film despite chaos and confusion people lounge for Azadi.

It may jar the pristine filmmakers but this is not made for them. One can find thousand faults with the film and it may be criticised for not ‘balancing’ but does TRUTH need to be balanced. Yes there is no mention of Kunanposh Pora gang-rapes by the army. Yes he is silent of Gawkadal and Bijbehra massacres and other such details. But let us give him a benefit of doubt. Because Sanjay talks of those actions where media (read Hindu media) was involved yet nothing came to limelight. He deserves more than bouquets and patting on the back.

He has also shown that intellectualism is not only about writing articles, delivering lectures, attending world conferences but visual intellectualism can be most telling—without sermonising, without boring and without catering to few intelligentsia classes; visual intellectualism is today the most potent weapon to defeat the forces of evil.

I am the one who is guilty of relishing Indian movies, enjoying songs, loving its actors when the same country has sent my one hundred thousand brethrens in graves. Jashne-e-Azadi reminds of Paul Valery who in ‘History and Politics’ writes: history is the most dangerous product evolved from the chemistry of the intellect. Its properties are well known. It causes dreams; it intoxicates whole people; gives false memories; quickens their reflexes; keeps their old wounds open; torments them in their repose; leads them into delusions, either of grandeur or persecution; and makes nations bitter, arrogant, insufferable and vain.

We have the knack of dismissing brilliant works; “we already know it”! There is nothing which we haven’t seen, nothing which we haven’t gone through, nothing which we haven’t experienced but there is everything which we have forgotten. It’s a film which must be watched by every Kashmiri. I cannot express the gratitude, but to say, I salute you Sanjay Kak for deifying odds. Your film reminded me slavery, the sacrifices, the sufferings of mothers and sisters! Prune it a little and sent it to every nook and corner of the Kashmir so that we can once again reinvigorate our sapping spirits. And yes it must be talked and circulated to other parts of India as well.


Jashn-e-Azadi is available through various online outlets like amazon

You can now buy a DVD of the film, or Download it and watch
More than two years in the making, Jashn-e-azadi [How We Celebrate Freedom], is a feature length documentary by film-maker Sanjay Kak which explores the implications of the struggle for Azadi, for freedom, in the Kashmir valley.

Click here to watch the Trailer

As India celebrates the 60th anniversary of it's Independence, this provocative and quietly disturbing new film raises questions about freedom in Kashmir, and about the degrees of freedom in India.

And here is a short Interview with the film-maker.

This Jashn-e-Azadi blog is an open forum for conversations about the film, about Kashmir, and about Azadi itself.

For more information about screenings, sales and broadcast write to


For dispatches from the present

Voices of protest can be found here or call you from here

Stone in my hand

In the season of solutions, the late Eqbal Ahmad's wise words have to be remembered

Kashmir blog has the best one line blog take on Kashmir - they call it paradise, I call it home.

Zarafshan is a Kashmiri blogger whose blog (and blogrolls) are "just ways of dispersing news, views and feelings!"

For a considered discussion on the vexed issue of Pandits in Kashmir see Kasheer. And for more on this Ephemeral Existence

And a discovery called Paradise Lost

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Festival screenings

May 26, 2008 / International Video Festival of Kerala
Apr 28, 2008 / Dok.Fest
Feb 10, 2008 / Himalaya Film Festival
Nov 28, 2007 / International Documentary Festival
Oct 12, 2007 / Film South Asia
July 22, 2007 / Osian’s Cinefan film festival

Previous Previews

7 Dec 2007 / School of Oriental & African Studies & Sacred Media Cow
6 Dec 2007 / Workshop Theatre, School of English, University of Leeds
Egham, Surrey
3 Dec 2007 / Royal Holloway, University of London
New Delhi
26 Nov 2007 / Russian Centre of Science & Culture & Magic Lantern Foundation

New Jersey
Oct 5, 2007 / College of New Jersey
New York City
Oct 4, 2007 / Columbia School of Journalism
Oct 2, 2007 / University of Texas
Sep 28, 2007 / Temple University
Sep 27, 2007 / University of Pennsylvania
New York State
Sep 26, 2007 / Vassar College
New York City
Sep 25, 2007 / New School for Social Research
Sep 23, 2007 @ MIT
Sep 22, 2007 / SALDA
Sep 21, 2007 / University of Toronto
New Haven
Sep 20, 2007 / Yale University
Sep 18, 2007 / University of Minnesota

Aug 10, 2007 / Pure Docs, Prasad Preview, Banjara Hills

interrupted previews!! [[ MUMBAI ...
July 27, 2007 (Fri)
Vikalp: Films for Freedom @ Bhupesh Gupta Bhawan, 85 Sayani Road, Prabhadevi
July 30, 2007 (Mon)
Vikalp: Films for Freedom @ Prithvi House, Juhu...]]

July 14, 2007 / Institute of Agrl. Technologies, Queens Road
July 13, 2007 / Centre for Film & Drama, Millers Road
June 13, 2007, Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar Hall
June 12, 2007, National Film Archive of India Auditorium
May 29, 2007, Blue Moon Hotel
May 26, 2007, Assam Club, Laban
May 12, 2007, Hindi Bhavan Hall
March 31, 2007, Tagore Hall
New Delhi
March 23, 2007, Sarai-CSDS
New Delhi
March 13, 2007, India Habitat Center



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