This is a strange photo essay to do. The objects the dead leave behind are often of highest personal value to those known and loved by the dead. In Zahid Rashid’s killing – attributed to war – the objects he left behind are not only of personal value but collective also. Zahid’s killing reminds us of a break in a young man’s life which will never be re-started again, but Zahid undoubtedly will live in the collective memory of his people – about whom he must have thought about, being a young Kashmiri. The series of photos in this essay somehow invoke a Shahid Ali couplet, but in a reverse order. The photo essay poses a question in the form of Tell me what was I like before I existed? and follows it with – by capturing the objects Zahid left behind and with which perhaps he was going to tell his story – If you leave who will prove that my cry existed. The objects in this essay, if we attribute life to them, are screaming this line of Shahid. Zahid may have left, but his objects will remind us of his eternal life in the arms of memory.
The photo essay is an attempt to reclaim the memory of Zahid of not just being one more dead youngster in the ledger of loss Kashmiris maintain all through the year. Zahid is to be found in the objects he left behind and in the bed he slept in - which is left untouched by his parents since the day he last woke up from it..
Zahid Rashid Ganaie was a twenty-two year old youngster who was shot dead by government forces on March 28 near an encounter site in Chadoora, Budgam. The government forces fired on the civilians resulting in the death of three youth including Zahid. The ambulance that was carrying Zahid's dead body was stopped by police in Jehangir Chowk, Srinagar.
Zahid Rashid was a jolly young Kashmiri boy. Wande Magazine publishes this photo essay, done by Sheikh Saaliq, perhaps as a way to imagine how Zahid would have liked the world to remember him: through photography, which he loved.