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Frontline journal angle - waiting for your feedback

Dear all,

I've been missing in action for quite awhile but been catching up with all that is going on out here in the past few days. Great to see this forum buzzing with activity - will try to be more regular with my submissions and other contributions InshaAllah from this month onwards. For this journal, I've finally narrowed down to one issue that is of great relevance for the people of India and Pakistan. I would like to talk about the prisoners (Indian & Pakistanis) who are languishing in each others jails. These include soldiers captured during the 3 wars, fishermen and others who have strayed across that line defined as a border, alleged (or actual) terrorists or simply people who took a trip, or even dared to attend a cricket match!

The partition of India (and the subsequent formation of Pakistan), led to in many cases feelings of mutual distrust, hatred and ultra nationalism in the guise of patriotism for a very very long time. All this has inevitably and unfortunately pushed several individuals/families/ even communities at large to be on the receiving end of the stick.

I want to explore how government policies have affected families of these prisoners - especially women and children. In most cases, these so called prisoners are innocent. Through this journal, I want to talk about various cases which have gained prominence over the years , discuss the steps being and previously taken by lawyers, ngos and peace activists, and most importantly reach out to families bearing the brunt.

Let me know what you guys think. Any thing that I'm missing out on? Is this angle okay?

Waiting impatiently for your comments ladies!

Love,

Tanya Shakil Daud

Comments

Nusrat Ara's picture

Dear Tanya, You have to write

Dear Tanya,

You have to write in first person , u can manage that but do u have any experineces regarding prisoners. It is going to be your story and subsequently you can frame issues.

Like if u were affected by partition somehow ,you can start with that and then go on to issues borne out of it and then focussing on the prisoner angle.

These are my suggestions , rest it is your story.

Lots of Love.

Nusrat

Tanya's picture

Hey Nusrat, Thanks for your

Hey Nusrat,

Thanks for your suggestion. I agree..was thinking on similar lines but you've actually made the plot more clear. I'm still a bit confused with this project though. Are front line journals supposed to be OUR stories or stories on any issue from our perspective? Is it necessary to experience the issue first hand or can one write about it in a general context OR even if it affects our lives indirectly and from a larger perspective?
Also, is it important that the solutions be women centric or can we give any solutions we deem important to the core topic at hand?

Would be grateful if someone can answer these questions.

Tanya's picture

Hey Nusrat, Thanks for your

Hey Nusrat,

Thanks for your suggestion. I agree..was thinking on similar lines but you've actually made the plot more clear. I'm still a bit confused with this project though. Are front line journals supposed to be OUR stories or stories on any issue from our perspective? Is it necessary to experience the issue first hand or can one write about it in a general context OR even if it affects our lives indirectly and from a larger perspective?
Also, is it important that the solutions be women centric or can we give any solutions we deem important to the core topic at hand?

Would be grateful if someone can answer these questions.

Tanya's picture

I've been thinking of another

I've been thinking of another topic or angle since the beginning but not really sure till where can I go with it and so I'd decided to go with the one mentioned above. But after reading the ideas put forward by so many of you, I'm gonna throw this across and try to get some feelers. I'm not sure if this piece is meant to be about a social or political issues from our perspective OR our stories which delve into a particular social/political issue. In any case, here it is.

My father is Indian and mom Pakistani. As far as I can recall, I've always considered Pakistan home and myself a Pakistani at heart. Visiting this country every six months or once every year - along with stays that spanned over 2-3 years has been enough to make me fall madly in love with this place and its people. My people. This hasn't been forced or a brainwashing but my closeness to my mother, my experiences here (good and bad) and the ease which I've felt in Pakistan has all contributed to my relation with it. I think I even tried to sideline my Indian heritage for several years. Didn't hate it but didn't own it up completely either. Bias, neutrality, objectivity, subjectivity, like, dislike have all colored my relation with India but in the past few years, I've become more open in my views and henceforth my relation with it. I don't call (or still consider) it my home and yet it exists as a significant part of my identity.

My identity - something that I'm still trying to figure out. I had a very black and white sense of being earlier. Thought I knew where I stood and who owned me and what I owned. I still retain quite a bit of that and yet there are questions, doubts, and grey areas now. I want to study more about my history now, which is inherently linked to the history of these nations. I want to develop my relationship with India further and see where it takes me. It's a never ending journey probably and yet fascinating for me.

So, coming to the point, I've been considering what if I write about my relation with these two countries and those who still have families in both. People who experienced the partition first hand and are still alive to talk about it. I'll be starting an internship with the Citizens Archive of Pakistan within the coming week and they specifically work on collecting accounts from people who've lived through this period - the ones in Pakistan. www.citizensarchive.org

I could get a lot of material from here. Lots of things which comes under this topic but I could touch upon issues which I find significant and talk about how they've impacted families and our communities. Be it socially, religiously, culturally or politically. The South Asian context and what I think can and should happen - plus what has happened. I'm not sure of the exact outline for this piece and since it's so huge in its spectrum, I'll need to mull over the specific angle/s but what do you guys think? Worth going forward with such a piece?

Jennifer Ruwart's picture

Two great angles

These are two great angles. I feel closer to you, too, after reading about growing up with parents from India and Pakistan.

Here is my hit, to be taken with a grain of salt. It feels as though you have your arms around the first angle and could really run with it. The families of men in prison - the wives and children - and their communities are deeply impacted by incarceration. It has tremendous economic, political, and cultural impact.

If you go with this angle, I recommend including statistics. For example, have there been published reports about the incarceration of innocent men? Can you interview experts/NGOS in the field? Families who have been impacted?

The second angle is equally powerful, but feels wide. It might make a great feature story, which is your last assignment. Is marriage between Pakistani and Indian citizens common? How do they meet? (I am impatient to know how your parents met! he he) Is there stigma associated with a mixed marriage? How does religion play in?

These are just my initial thoughts. Keep the conversation going!

p.s. Did you post your assignment?

Jennifer Ruwart
Chief Collaborator
JR Collaborations

Tanya's picture

Jennifer, Thank you so much

Jennifer,

Thank you so much for your feedback. I agree with you - given the time constraints as well as the subject matter at hand - I too feel that working on the first topic would be better in this instance. I can get my hands on resources, interview ngos/activists/lawyers as well try to get in touch with families. Also, I have a better idea of how to work with this piece, while the second one still needs a lot of sorting and sifting to be done.

I hadn't considered the second angle for a feature piece but I'll definitely keep it in mind. My parents had a love marriage, btw! :) (details saved for later). No, I haven't posted the first assignment yet. Will be posting both together and try to keep things balanced from this month onwards. I'll message you my number (please check your inbox).

Warm Regards,

Tanya Shakil Daud

stella Ndugire- Mbugua's picture

Prison Angle..

"The families of men in prison - the wives and children..."

Since its your personal reflections that are needed here, i think you should not worry too much about what you will say. I would love to hear your voice, your thoughts and what those you interview will say. I think this is what is required too.

But, again Nusrat is somewhat right. Sometimes, I am also not sure what to do. Like with my interview, should I give my perspective, or more of what he women say? won't that be an interview?Maybe a balance of the two is ok. Its a journal as well as a story from the prisoners.

I wish you the best. I know you will do great!!

Regards,

Stella Ndugire- Mbugua
ICS- Africa

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