Dardpora, Kupwara is commonly known as Widow Land since the area bore the brunt of armed conflict in the early 90’s. Dardpora is the last village in district Kupwara, tehsil Kupwara. It lies in the North-West of Kashmir at an altitude of 1589 meters above the sea level, at the lap of the hill called Haam in local parlance. People in Dardpora speak Pahari, Gujri and Kashmiri. Approximately, 10,000 people live in Dardpora and mainly grow Maize and Rice. Though the area is drought prone, people grow fruits like Pear and Walnut. Besides agricultural activities, people are very poor to help themselves. The area being in proximity to Line of Control (LoC), it has faced many problems since the onset of militancy.
There are approximately 280 widows in Dardpora of which 110 (quite young at that time) are directly hit due to armed conflict according to Mir Dardpori aka Gh Rasool Mir, a teacher by profession and an author, poet from Dardpora, since 1990s to 2005. Mir Dardpori is the key person who has witnessed the gruesome dance of death since the onset of armed conflict. Conflict has its own stories and the area has earned a distinction of having good number of widows and a crop of orphans. People of Dardpora are victims of conflict; there is a widow in every house and it’s Generation Next ‘Children of Conflict’.
The situation in Dardpora hasn’t gone unreported but there is immense pain apparent from the eyes of people, especially women and children. There are enormous stories of desolation and despair from Dardpora and Bilal Bahadur has tried to capture the agony of only three women from the famous widow land, Dardpora, Kupwara. He has been able to capture the agony of Lal Jan and her daughter in law, Hajiri and other two women Gul Jan and Hussaina Banu and imprisoned their pain in his camera so that their pictures could narrate their stories without blending reality with his own notions.
Bilal Bahadur is currently Media Fellow with Indo-Global Social Service Society’s (IGSSS) Media Fellowship Programme under European Union’s EIDHR project jointly implemented with Welthungerhife in J & K. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect views of European Union, Welthungerhilfe and Indo Global Social Service Society.