Stories of Resilience of the Common People
Anahita Mir
FLAMING FOREST, WOUNDED VALLEY: STORIES FROM BASTAR AND KASHMIR by Freny Manecksha Speaking Tiger Books, 2022, 296 pp., 599.00
January 2023, volume 47, No 1

What happens when a state wages a war on people? How do the people navigate a system rigged against them? Flaming Forest, Wounded Valley is a result of Freny Manecksha’s decade-long experience of travelling and documenting in the two most volatile regions in India—Bastar and Kashmir. The book documents state’s action as well as inaction in these volatile regions and examines the meaning that words like ‘home’, ‘safe-space’, ‘development’ and ‘justice’ take on in a conflict zone. The intertwined personal experience of a journalist with the lived experiences of people paints a vivid picture of life under conflict where an invisible war is waged and one has no control over any aspect of life. Everyday activities like visiting a ‘bazaar’ can lead to arrests, disappearances and in some cases, death and celebrations can turn into mourning.

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