Meet the Kashmiri vet cum "art pelter" who uses pebbles to show the plight of pellet victims

Rather than stone pelting Dr Gowhar Nabi Gora used pebbles to show the pain of pellet-victims, who lost their eyesight during Kashmir’s longest unrest

While stone-pelting continues to rule the street protests in restive Kashmir, this young veterinarian has used art to vent out his feelings. However, instead of throwing stones, he has transformed them into eye-catching artwork which depicts the pain of the Valley.

42-year-old Dr Gowhar Nabi Gora has used pebbles to showcase the pain of pellet-victims, who lost their eyesight during Kashmir’s longest unrest, which erupted after militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani was killed by the Indian Army on July 8, 2016. More than 90 persons were killed and over 15,000 were wounded during the unrest, while around 1,000 youth lost their eyesight to use to pellet-guns by security forces.

One such victim of the pellet guns was south Kashmir’s 14-year-old girl Insha Mushtaq, who lost her eyesight forever. Ironically, she was not even a part of any protest but was rather sitting by her window when the pellet guns hit her. Since then her maimed face has been the poster image of the plights of pellet victims. It was this image which touched Dr Gora’s heart.

Dr Gora, a Srinagar native, says that he wanted to do something for the victims. “I thought why not to document the narrative of this tragedy, particularly that of Insha, in my artwork. While people cry over the tragedy, the ultimate truth is that life of these victims has gone lifeless much like the stones that I use for my art,” Dr Gora told InUth.

His latest creation largely shows bleeding eyes. But the main attraction is a group of pebbles which were joined to make a statue of a mother with a child in her lap. Dr Gora has dedicated this statue to helpless Insha and her mother.

The vet discovered the pebble artist in him during a trip to Leh in 2010 when he was just fiddling with pebbles in the cold desert. Six years on, he has been using the small stones to give life to his creativity, mainly focusing on Mouj Kasheer or Mother Kashmir. “To vent out my feelings, I haven’t resorted to any stone pelting. In my case, it’s art pelting.”