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CWGE Spring 2021 Book Club: Chapter 7 and Conclusion

CWGE Book Club

Batoul Hammoud (she/her/hers), CWGE Volunteer
May 11, 2021

*Content Warning: As we conclude this book and final blog, we want to recognize that both the book and blog include some graphic content relating to sexual assault and violence. For support and resources, please contact and/or visit the Assault Survivors Advocacy Program (ASAP) and/or the Counseling Center.

Chapter 7 discusses the violence in Kashmir that is caused by militants using and abusing their power of authority. Stories of the notorious army camp, Parveena talks about her encounter with the hostile soldiers. The base is situated on a steep hill, and Shabir discusses how he has used the word "makarel" (Zia, 2019, p. 202) to describe the army's behavior in the circumstance of Operation Goodwill. Militants seem to cause many problems for Kashmiri’s, and this has caused individuals to suffer from severe PTSD and other traumatic incidents.

On page 205, it quotes, "We used to go to college, we used to look good together, the two of us. We were separated; me and my beloved. We began fighting; me and my beloved". Throughout chapter 7, people discuss their experience with militants and the abuse of authority that occurs. Many people were separated from their loved ones due to militant’s abuse of power.

“Mujahid-baet, which loosely translates to songs of/for the strivers/militants" (p. 205). These songs memorialized the Mujahids who died in battle, fighting for the Indian army. These songs were considered honorable however they are underrated because they are not highly talked about.

Human Rights Watch (1993b) has explicitly titled "Rape in Kashmir: A Crime of War." (Batool et al. 2016) This report assesses the detained men and drunken soldiers who committed mass rape of women from ages seven to seventy years old. These disturbing incidents are recognized in Kashmir and give the people the strength they need to fight for their rights against militants who use and abuse their power of authority. Several women suffer from trauma, depression, confusion, and anger due to these disturbing encounters. "Commemoration is alive but restrained” (Zia, 2019, p. 216).

In conclusion, this ethnography consists of political anthropology and shows us the viewpoint of Kashmir and their everyday lives. Hableh quotes, "this would alleviate the "scourge" (Tawan) of human rights violations by the Indian military occupation for good" (Zia, 2019, p. 238). This agency of everyday people can motivate those who are suffering and comfort them, knowing they are not going through such tragic experiences alone. This book talks about survival and how the situation is not mentioned in political history. The chaotic issues that occur in Kashmir are underrated, and it is a positive sign to address these issues within the book itself. Also, it’s worth noting that the experiences mentioned here and in the ethnography are individual experiences and don’t speak for the entire population of Kashmir. This ethnography is an amazing reflection of activism and how the status quo can be disrupted by individuals not conventionally heard or seen because of their identities.

This concludes our Book Club for this semester. We would like to thank everyone who was able to join us this semester as we read Ather Zia’s book Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir. We hope that those who were unable to join in processing the chapters found these blogs helpful and engaging. We would also like to thank Ather Zia for allowing us to read this book this semester and for joining us for two Q and A events. Please, visit the CWGE website for more information and ways to stay involved!

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