Village of Widows: the tale of Dardpora village in Kashmir

Dardpora, Kupwara village of Kapawara district in Indian administered Kashmir is commonly known as Village of Widows or Widow Land since the area bore the brunt of armed conflict in early 90’s. Dardpora is the last village in district Kupwara, tehsil Sogam. 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 is being in proximity to Line of Control (LoC)—a defective border dividing state of Kashmir between India and Pakistan—and 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.

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