August of 2019 became a month of insomnia, despair and nightmare-ridden sleep for most Kashmiris, and particularly for those who were stranded away from home while Kashmir was put under a media, telecommunications, internet, broadcast news and public transport blockade unshy from being a complete lockdown and siege. Kashmiri poet and writer Omair Bhat presents his personal log of the first two weeks of such restless nights and tiresome days, when desperation competed with grief and anger to suffocate people like him in an endless uncertainty.
Help Kashmir with Covid-19 Relief
On August 5, 2019 the Indian state abrogated Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution to make Kashmir a permanent territory within the Indian Union without prior consent or consultation with the people of Kashmir. For months, the Kashmiri press, television, media, mobile, telephony, internet and other essential services and institutions were shutdown under government order while dissidents, activists, and even government-sponsored politicians were put under arrest.
It became meaningless and practically impossible to keep this journal — dedicated to contemporary culture from Kashmir and around the world — running while Kashmir was put under unprecedented siege and lockdown. This special section of the journal was born out of necessity, to compile and directly cite various articles and sources from recognized media and academic institutions about what was unfolding in a Kashmir placed under complete blackout, siege and lockdown while millions of people were kept silent. None of the content referenced on the subject was published in-house and was simply linked to their orginal and verified sources in a bibliographical and citational manner.
The curated selection presents Kashmiri voices and offers a perspective on such impositions from members of the Kashmiri press, academia, independent Indian and international media through proper citation and bibliographical reference. It also includes a variety of accounts from those whose basic freedoms were taken away.
All the articles, videos, media, academic articles, and other such content are cited and linked to their original sources, since Inverse was intended to be a space of cultural engagement in the arts and humanities, with a dedicated focus on academic thinking and contemporary cultural production, and not a press outlet, nor a source for news. All of such editorial plans became impossible, blockaded by the collosal shifts enforced upon Kashmir and its peoples.
In memory of these events — and their ongoing impact on Kashmir and its peoples — this section has become a permanent part of this journal. For legal concerns, see the Editorial Disclaimer at the bottom of each page on this platform.
Majid Maqbool curates a list of 20 must-read pieces on six months of the Kashmir lockdown. Readers and members of the Kashmiri press are welcome to send us their own suggested readings using the form at the end of this curated list.
Professor Hafsa Kanjwal, who teaches South Asian history at Lafayette College and completed her doctorate specializing in contemporary Kashmiri history and women’s studies from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), has been a prominent voice on Kashmir under siege over the last 100 days. Here is an aggregated list of articles, interviews and media and television participations by Dr. Kanjwal, including a basic bibliography of resources pertinent to her work concerning Kashmir and its history. All media embedded/linked directly from their respective sources. As more material is published in the public domain with Hafsa’s participation on different platforms, we will keep on updating this “visual bibliography.”
On October 22, 2019, the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on human rights in South Asia with a special focus on Kashmir. Here is the video of Professor Angana P. Chatterji’s expert testimony before the US Congress, along with a cited biographical profile of her professional, academic and research experience and the written submission that the three speakers on Kashmir were offered to make. Her submission is a 31 page document that is concise yet meticulously detailed to provide the proper context for her testimony as an expert with decades of research, academic and professional experience in multiple intersecting fields that have Kashmir as a core focal point. Professor Chatterji is also the Co-Chair of the Political Conflict, Gender and People’s Rights Initiative, and Research Anthropologist at the Center for Race and Gender at University of California, Berkeley, and the Founding Co-chair of the precursor, Armed Conflict Resolution and People’s Rights Initiative at the Center for Social Sector Leadership, Haas School of Business (2012-2015). She has worked extensively on Kashmir from multiple angles, producing a notable and highly referenced body of academic work and research material that has had a profound impact on scholarship and human rights activism. As such, we include references to some of her academic publications and other resources here in the context of Kashmir to bring greater attention to her extensive work. Note: all embeds are made directly from the source with each source cited.
Professor Ather Zia on Articles 370/35A and the Ongoing Siege, Lockdown and Blackout Imposed on Kashmir
Here is a list of Professor Ather Zia’s interventions in the global media regarding the Indian government’s abrupt and secretive decision to repeal Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution. Also included is a useful visual bibliography for our readers, scholars, researchers and journalists to become more acquainted with Professor Zia’s extensive work in multiple relevant and intersecting fields of knowledge centered on Kashmir, its past and its present, and above all, focusing on its peoples.
Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) and member of the politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML), Kavita Krishnan presents a series of logical, rational and measured counterarguments against the Indian government’s decision to scrap Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution. Krishnan approaches the abrupt and contradictorily unlawful shift in the Indian government’s new order from the logic of federalism, placing particular emphasis on the simple fact that other territories governed by India maintain similar property and self-governance laws as Kashmir had been constitutionally held under for seven decades of Indian interjection in the disputed Himalayan territory. Kavita Krishnan is accompanied by other notable Indian leaders and members of India’s civil society at a peaceful protest held at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Articulating their views within the Indian legal and constitutional framework, the members of Indian civil society unanimously observed the illegality of the government in indefinitely dissolving the democratic process in Kashmir, as yet again no consent whatsoever from the Kashmiri people has been sought in repealing Articles 370 and 35A. According to the speakers, the Indian state has established the groundwork for a complete colonial occupation that is projected to create a massive shift in the demography and culture of the region. Prior to this event, Kashmir has seen over thirty years of military rule, with 500,000 to 700,000 troops placed in close proximity to civilian habitations, reducing the Himalayan territory to a police state. Kavita Krishnan’s speech is in Hindi.
Professor Mona Bhan on Kashmir and India's Revocation of Articles 370 and 35A (BBC World News) — The Polis Project
Professor Mona Bhan (Syracuse University) provides much needed perspective on India’s revocation of Articles 370 and 35A, and what it entails for the future of Kashmir. This video from BBC World News is captured by The Polis Project and sourced from their Facebook Page.