As we approached 200 days since the Indian state abrogated Article 370, continuing decades of violent control over Kashmir, the CSGS held a public reading of selected texts by Kashmiri students on 20th February, Thursday and organized a film screening later in the evening.
The film Khoon Diy Baarav enters the vexed political scenario in Kashmir through the lives of families of the victims of enforced disappearances. The film is a non-sequential account of personal narratives and reminiscences ruptured by violence, undermined by erasure and over-ridden by official documents that challenge truth. Made over nine years it explores memory as a mode of resistance, constantly confronting and morphing – from the personal to political, individual to collective. It looks at the ways in which those affected by violence have no choice but to remember.
Iffat Fatima is an independent documentary filmmaker, researcher and audio-visual designer from Kashmir. For many years now, through her documentary work, she has been exploring the overlaps between memory, history and violence. Her documentary film Khoon Diy Baarav (Blood Leaves its Trail 2015), explores issues of violence and memory in Kashmir and Lanka – the other side of war and peace is a journey through the history of overlapping conflicts in Sri Lanka. Read a review of the film here.
Her films include, Where Have You Hidden My New Crescent Moon, The Kesar Saga, In the Realm of the Visual, Boojh Sakey to Boojh. Her installation work Ethnography of a European city: Conversations in Salzburg, questions some of the assumptions in the east vs. west polarity/dichotomy/disparity.
The talk explored how citizenship is gendered through an analysis of the various legislations that have been tabled and/or passed in recent times. Through an examination of the CAA, Transgender Act and Surrogacy Bill, among others, the speaker looked at how these are connected. It probed into the imagination of the Indian Citizen that is being created by the State and examined at the exclusions in the process.
Diti is a transmasculine person and currently works with Sangat: A Feminist Network.They are pursuing their PhD in Women’s Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai on the subject of Queer Citizenship and Nationalism. Diti has been associated with queer, feminist and student collectivisations. They look at academics and activism as informing each other intrinsically. You can read some of their work at Economic and Political Weekly and Youth Ki Awaaz.
The talk traced women’s narratives of the political struggle in Kashmir through the realm of ordinary, scattered and everyday practices of resistance. It tried undoing the narrative that overlooks the complexity of women’s lives in the face of ongoing violent political conflict; and argued that women in Kashmir escape easy categorization into victimhood. This talk was embedded in the idea that there is something spectacular in the everydayness of lives embedded in violence; that the everyday is ruptured and layered like the memory of its people. In Kashmir, which is a historically and politically complex quagmire of violent protests, morbid silence and killable lives, it is through the barbed spaces of the everyday we see varied surging affects: of loss, of pain, of anger, of endurance, of fear and of silence.
The speaker located women as the protagonists of these circulating affects, inscribing new meanings to the ‘political’ through the politics of emotion.
Bhavneet Kaur is a research student at the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics. Her work is on people’s practices of remembrance of the freedom movement in Kashmir. Some of her research and literary work has been published in Kindle, Wande Magazine and Greater Kashmir.
The presentation will brought into conversation the two fields of gender studies and media studies in order to investigate how the central paradigms of feminism — autonomy and visibility — are re-envisioned when we take into account the performance of politics shaped by the affective workings of media technologies. How are the sensory workings of media — its materiality, textual forms, codes of address, and modes of circulation — intrinsic to contemporary modes of doing politics? How do the charged exchanges between media forms bring to the surface the performative dynamics of protests in different contexts in India? Political events from regional contexts in India, such as the Kiss of Love protests in Kerala, were used as anchoring sites to explore these questions.
These questions put forward the conception of the body as a porous and unstable site and allow for an engagement with scenography of protests in which resistance and embodiment is imagined anew.
Dr. Mokkil is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Women’s Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University; her work focuses on queerness, sexuality, the politics of visibility and media. She is the co-editor of Thinking Women: A Feminist Reader and author of Unruly Figures: Queerness, Sex Work, and the Politics of Sexuality in Kerala.