‘Behold, I Shine,’ a book written by Freny Manecksha, an independent journalist who has reported extensively from Kashmir, covering human rights and development issues, is about how women in Kashmir face the brunt of conflict.

Freny, is a Mumbai based journalist who has worked with many reputed media organizations like; The Times of India and The Indian Express, is now a freelance journalist with focus on Kashmir, particularly on women’s experiences under occupation.

Her book talks about the resilience of the Kashmiri women who despite the odds stood up against challenges.

The book also focuses on Kashmiri children who are confined to their homes and grow between violence, curfews and gunfire.

In 2010, Freny visited Kashmir for the first time to report the conflict. However, it was a year later that she got the idea to write a book while reporting in south Kashmir’s Shopian area with few friends.

Freny saw some women running from a field. In next some minutes she saw some army men in the field where from the women were running. This compelled her to ask questions about the women living in a conflict zone. It was one of her friends who then suggested her to write about the suffering of women.

She wrote two pieces – Women in Militarization and Sexual Violence, for Himal magazine.

In 2013, when some women activists filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to reinvestigate the Kunan-Poshpora mass rape, Freny followed the court proceedings and reported in length.

Freny’s book is reviewed by many noted authors and scholars.

Publishers note for the book

 “Set in the once-fabled land of Kashmir, ‘Behold, I Shine’ moves beyond male voices and focuses, instead, on what the struggle means for the Valley’s women and children—those whose husbands remain untraceable; whose mothers are half-widows; those who have confronted the wrath of ‘Ikhwanis’, or the scrutiny of men in uniform, and what it means to stand up to it all. This book also brings to focus the resilience of the Valley’s women and children—of activists like Parveena Ahangar and Anjum Zamrud Habib, who, after debilitating losses, start human rights organizations; of ordinary homemakers like Munawara who have taken on the judiciary; and of a young generation of thinkers like Uzma Falak and Essar Batool who foreground the interaction of gender, politics and religion, and won’t let Kashmir forget. Stitching together their narratives, ‘Behold, I Shine’ not only memorializes women’s voices—thus far forgotten, unwritten, suppressed or sidelined—but also celebrates the mighty spirit of the Valley.”

Since 2011, Freny is visiting Kashmir every year to witness and report the happenings.

– Umar Mukhtar


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