In Of Gardens and Graves Suvir Kaul examines the disruption of everyday life in Kashmir in the years following the region's pervasive militarization in 1990. Kaul's autobiographical and analytical essays, which were prompted by his yearly visits to Kashmir, are a combination of political analysis, literary criticism, memoir, and journalistic observation. In them he explores Kashmir's pre- and post-Partition history, the effects of militarization, state repression, the suspension of civil rights on Kashmiris, and the challenge Kashmir represents to the practice of democracy in India. The volume also features translations of Kashmiri poetry written in these years of conflict. These poems constitute an archive of heightened feelings and desires that affectively interrogate official accounts of Kashmir while telling us much about those who face extraordinary political turbulence and violence. Of Gardens and Graves also contains a photo essay by Javed Dar, whose photographs work together with Kaul's essays and the poems to represent the interweaving of ordinary life, civic strife, and spectacular violence in Kashmir.
Suvir Kaul is A. M. Rosenthal Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and the author, most recently, of Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Postcolonial Studies. Javed Dar is an award-winning photojournalist with the Xinhua News Agency in Srinagar and has covered the conflict in Kashmir for more than a decade.