chapter
50 Pages

Introduction

The Poet and the Cassette Player
WithRakhshan Rizwan

This introductory chapter argues that selected Kashmiri fictional and non-fictional life narratives radically stretch the generic bounds of the types of stories that are typically assumed to be engaged in the work of drawing attention to human rights violations in zones of conflict around the globe. This book posits that Kashmiri cultural works offer narratives of pleasure rather than only that of victimization and bodily pain in order to articulate human rights violations and to foreground the human experience. The promise of human rights, in Kashmiri life narratives, is envisioned as unfettered access to localized pleasures and artistic practice; conversely, human rights violations are posited as interruptions in the pleasurable pursuits and self-development of the main subjects of these works. Instead of narrativizing the usurpation of negative human rights, the Kashmiri narratives under consideration here explicate and exemplify Kashmiris’ desire for positive rights, including the right to produce and claim ‘artistic production,’ and to ‘participate in the cultural life of the community.’ The introduction traces the genealogical linkages between human rights, happiness, and pleasure and the ensuing chapters of the book explore different aspects of the relationship between them.