Cups of nun chai
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Alana Hunt has been working on evolving iterations of Cups of nun chai since 2010, most recently published in full by Yaarbal Books, New Delhi (2020, reprinted 2021).
Cups of nun chai records the sharing of one hundred and eighteen cups of nun chai, and just as many conversations. Each cup was a part of a growing memorial for one hundred and eighteen people killed in the protests that shook the Kashmir valley during the summer of 2010.
In these exchanges the political unfolds through a profoundly personal experience, and events, places and sentiments that are often obscured from view are given breathing space. People, homes, memory—and flavour—combine to make tangible what so many outside Kashmir do not know.
This is an archive of small moments, marking each loss and moving against the normalisation of political violence and death. Spanning the spheres of contemporary art, literature, social-science and journalism, Cups of nun chai is a poignant act of memorialisation—a means of remembering, reading and reminding.
Adroit, and shot through with an extraordinary, even stubborn, compassion, it reflects on Kashmir, but also on nation-making and colonisation, and on power and violence. The histories, political forces and grief behind this work emerge gradually, but with great sensitivity. And eventually with an unexpected degree of ferocity.
Published by Yaarbal Books and designed by Itu Chaudhuri Design. With additional contributions from Parvaiz Bukhari and Uzma Falak.
Critical writing and related media about the work is collated here.