February 2, 2018
SRINAGAR, INDIAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR — The story of Kashmir is one of conflict.
And choosing to be a journalist in a conflict zone is not an easy choice. Being a female journalist makes it even tougher.
After studying journalism, many of my friends veered into other professions, mostly because journalism here is difficult and doesn’t fetch good money.
Most reporters here cover politics and cover conflict. When foreign reporters come in, they focus on the conflict, too.
I’ve tried to use my role at Global Press Journal to paint Kashmir more completely. Yes, there is conflict. But people here focus on other things, too, such as health and the economy, education and women’s rights.
I try to tell these underreported stories. In the coming months, I will use this space to show you behind the scenes of my process and what it means to go against the herd.
My work on these stories often brings me to rural parts of my country. Recently, I visited a village called Kishtwar for a story I am doing about a dam project. When I arrived, villagers told me that I was the first journalist who had ever ventured here to share their story and get their perspectives published.
Or course, working in a militarized zone is not easy. My reporting process is often hampered by curfews and restrictions. In the summer of 2016, I was confined to my home for weeks, for example. Other times, I can’t reach my sources because of internet outages, floods or strikes.
But I’m proud to be a Kashmiri journalist, and I look forward to taking you along with me as I report on my community.