This article focuses on Kashmiri women and the gender politics underpinning the August 5, 2019 revocation of Article 370 in Kashmir. Reclaiming Kashmiri women’s property rights was among the justifications cited by the state for revoking Kashmir’s autonomy. Paradoxically, however, most analyses centered on its political implications. Kashmiri women’s opinions regarding the revocation, the state’s use of the women’s rights argument to justify the same, or Kashmiri women’s rights and experiences in the wake of the revocation were seldom the subjects of discussion or analysis. Beginning with a brief overview of Kashmiri women’s role in the Kashmiri struggle, I juxtapose the State’s claim as defender of Kashmiri women’s property rights against the legal and factual position of women’s property rights in Kashmir prior to the revocation, demonstrating the contradiction between the two. I subsequently foreground the gendered, misogynist sub-text of nationalist rhetoric unleashed in the wake of the revocation. The convergence between hyper-nationalist, masculinist claims to Kashmir’s territory on the one hand, and to Kashmiri women’s bodies on the other, is highlighted. This particular dimension, I maintain, symbolises the gendered edge of the Indian State’s policy of colonial and ethnic domination in Kashmir. In the final section, I use local Kashmiri reportage on Kashmiri women’s views, subjective experience, and collective resistance to contest (a) constructs of the apolitical, victimised, agency-less Kashmiri Muslim woman, and (b) state claims to Kashmiri, especially Kashmiri women’s endorsement of the revocation. Kashmiri women’s resistance, I conclude, is part of a Kashmiri struggle underpinned by the universal principles of justice and liberty; it symbolises the need for a just and peaceful resolution to Kashmir’s tragedy.
"Women, Gender Politics, and Resistance in Kashmir,"
Socio-Legal Review: Vol. 18:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://repository.nls.ac.in/slr/vol18/iss1/5