Nazir Josh

On July 8, 2011, renowned actor and King of Kashmiri Comedy, Nazir Josh, spoke to the Ladi Shah Project about his iconic role as Ahed Raza in the 52-episode television series Hazaar Dastaan (A Thousand Tales). Mr. Josh conceived of and produced the show-a political satire that became a cultural phenomenon in the 1980s-with his brother, director Bashir Budgami. Fans of the hit series won't want to miss Ahed Raza's guest appearance, and his important message for Kashmiris. The multi-talented Mr. Josh also demonstrates his parodying prowess with his unique interpretations of the English sonnet and rap music.

Bashir Budgami

On July 8, 2011, Bashir Budgami, producer and director of the acclaimed telefilms Habba Khatoon and Rasul Mir, provided the Ladi Shah Project with a behind-the-scenes glimpse into early Kashmiri cinema. Mr. Budgami also spoke about his experience directing the popular television series Hazaar Dastaan (A Thousand Tales), and the robust tradition of Kashmiri folk theatre from which it evolved.

Fida Hussnain

On June 17, 2011, the Ladi Shah Project interviewed Fida Hussnain, Director of Archives, Archaeology, Research and Museums for Jammu and Kashmir from 1954 to 1983. The author of more than thirty books on Kashmiri history, Dr. Hussnain spoke about the region's rich heritage, including intriguing archaeological discoveries such as the Lolab Caves and the Tiles of Harwan, as well as manuscripts dating from 1724 that are preserved in the state archives. A Sufi, Dr. Hussnain also discussed the influence of eclectic religious traditions, particularly mysticism, on Kashmiri culture.

Haji Abdul Sattar Gagroo

A lifelong resident of downtown Srinagar, Haji Abdul Sattar Gagroo is one of the oldest milkmen in the city. On July 27, 2011, Mr. Gagroo spoke to the Ladi Shah Project about his experience growing up in the political and cultural hub of Kashmir during a period of tremendous transformation. A graduate of Islamia High School, Mr. Gagroo recalled how the historic institution - where, interestingly enough, many Kashmir Pandits taught - incubated numerous notable figures. Mr. Gagroo also spoke about how, following the footsteps of his forefathers, he learned his trade, and the dairy industry's dramatic departure from its pre-industrial roots.

Ali Mohammad Hajam

On July 26, 2011, the Ladi Shah Project interviewed Ali Mohammad Hajam from Sopore. A hundred years old, Mr. Hajam spoke about the changes he has witnessed in Kashmir over the past century. Mr. Hajam also talked about his youth—how poverty prevented him from going to school, his work as a barber, and the memorable boat ride that he took on his wedding day to meet his bride.

Kulsuma Kanihama

On November 20, 2011 the Ladi Shah Project interviewed Kulsama Kanihama, the manager of a workshop where Kani shawls are made. Mrs. Kanihama narrated the history of the exquisite shawls, also known as Jamavar, which became world famous after Empress Josephine received them as a gift from Napoleon. Few artisans now possess the extraordinary skill needed to weave a Kani shawl, which commonly takes three months to a year to complete (some masterpieces have taken decades). Mrs. Kanihama spoke about her efforts to revive this dying art.

Mirza Muhammad Saleh Beigh

On June 7, 2011, the Ladi Shah Project interviewed poet and paper mache painter Mirza Muhammad Saleh Beigh. Despite his lack of formal schooling, Mr. Beigh recalled how growing up in Srinagar's historic Khanqah Mohalla neighborhood, a center of learning and culture, provided him with a unique education. Coming from a family of artisans, he described his training in paper mache decorative painting, Naqashi, and the history of the craft. Mr. Beigh also recounted how the ghazals of renowned Kashmiri singer Ghulam Ahmad Sofi inspired him to begin writing poetry, and he read from his own body of work.

Triloki Nath Ganjoo

On October 3, 2011, the Ladi Shah Project interviewed Triloki Nath Ganjoo, a scholar of the Sharada script used in both Kashmiri and Sanskrit writings. Mr. Ganjoo discussed the origins and decline of the 2,200-year-old script, noting its use in such seminal texts as the Rajatarangini (Chronicle of Kings), an account of Kashmir's early monarchs written by the 12th century historian and poet Kalhana. Mr. Ganjoo also spoke of how Kashmir developed into a prominent center of theology, with various religious traditions becoming part and parcel of Kashmiri culture. Recalling his own childhood in the Sathu Barbarshah neighborhood of Srinagar, Mr. Ganjoo described how Kashmiris of different faiths lived side by side there, and recounted the shared experiences that shaped his community.

Bakshi Abdul Qayoom

On August 4, 2011, Bakshi Abdul Qayoom, a founding member of the Cancer Society of Kashmir, passed away after a yearlong battle with the disease, leaving a legacy of social service. His experience as a patient at the Mayo Clinic in the United States inspired him to work for the improvement of the health care system in his home country. Mr. Qayoom went on to found Kashmir's first blood bank, helped establish a cancer clinic in Chanapora, and organized medical camps and public health campaigns in underserved villages. Believing that all Kashmiris deserved quality medical care, he arranged financial assistance for those unable to afford life-saving treatments. Just weeks before his death, Mr. Qayoom spoke to the Ladi Shah Project about his life's work and his hopes for Kashmir's future.

Ajit Singh Mastana

The cataclysmic partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 uprooted the lives of millions, including Ajit Singh Mastana, whose family became internal refugees. On October 5, 2011, Mr. Mastana spoke to the Ladi Shah Project about his memories of Biawa, the village near Tangmarg where he spent his childhood; his family's displacement; and their eventual return. A Punjabi poet and novelist (though an engineer by profession), Mr. Mastana described the unique history and cultural heritage of Kashmiri Sikhism, as well as the kinship between Kashmir's religious and ethnic communities.

Ghulam Hassan Baba

A teacher for over 30 years, Ghulam Hassan Baba founded the Alamdar public school for orphans and the destitute in his hometown of Magam. On June 5, 2011 the Ladi Shah Project spoke to Mr. Baba about his own school days, the teachers that left a lasting impression on him, and some of the most memorable moments from his work as an educator. Born in 1935, Mr. Baba also described the dramatic changes he has seen in Kashmir over his lifetime—technological innovations from the gramophone to the internet, the standardization of time keeping, and shifting social mores. Remember the good old days when you could grab your neighbor's chicken if an unexpected guest dropped by for dinner?

Mohammad Yousuf Shahnaz

At the age of fourteen, award-winning actor Mohammad Yousuf Shahnaz landed his first major role as Lalaji, the 80-year villain of the well-received drama Tamah (Desire), performed at Srinagar's Tagore Hall in 1969. Over the next four decades Mr. Shahnaz performed in numerous Kashmiri plays including Gash Taruk (Shining Star), Ropye Rood (Raining Money), Kaej Raath (Silent Night), Be' Chadath Ne (I Won't Leave), and Shuhul Naar (Cold Fire) as well as on television and radio. On May 25, 2011, Mr. Shahnaz spoke to the Ladi Shah Project about his acting career and the evolution of theater in Kashmir.

Suraiya Parveen Javaid

On June 24, 2011 the Ladi Shah Project interviewed Suraiya Parveen Javaid, a writer of television serials for the public broadcasting channel Doordarshan (Far Vision). Ms. Javaid's serials address social issues such as the mistreatment of women and the poor, and they are aired throughout Kashmir. Recounting her childhood in downtown Srinagar's Nowhatta neighborhood, Ms. Javaid spoke about how her mother's determination to provide her daughters with the best education available, despite her own limited schooling, made Ms. Javaid's career possible.