Kashmir lives a life in the realm of global politics as a contention between India and Pakistan, and thus, becoming a site for so-called insurgency and counter-insurgency. And in the parlance of tourism, it lives as the ‘crown of India’ and ‘paradise on earth’. Stuck between these two monologues, the everyday life in Kashmir is often reduced to the dictates of the Indian state, and it’s sponsored intellectual narratives.
Blinded by the cartographic nationalism and state-sponsored narratives defined in the binaries of terrorism and counter-terrorism, terrorists and military- the larger populace of mainland India wishes to ignore comfortably the micro-narratives that defines and shapes the everyday life. How will an ‘ordinary’ life be under a heavily militarized zone? Can something be ever called normal in a situation where every aspect of life is under constant military/ state surveillance?
The everyday life in Kashmir under militarization is something that makes the George Orwell’s 1984 comes live. If in the Orwell’s work it was IngSoc; in Kashmir it is the Indian military, and it’s Unified Command HQ. A bird’s eye view of Kashmir may look quite normal. People move around, children playing, farmers cultivating in their field, tourists with their cameras and a bunch of paramilitary soldiers manning checkpoints almost every kilometre. Life moves around in a rhythmic fashion in Kashmir, but everything around the constant vigil of uniformed men, many with latest weapons imported from Israel. On micro ground narratives, speaks about a different view. People in Kashmir are not moving on in their life ignoring the constant presence of paramilitary and military eyes out of choice, as a choice is not a word that exists in the dictionary in Kashmir.
The explicit portrayal of the feeling of disliking towards Indian soldiers can invite anything from few bashing to awful torture to bullets, and a life lost without any question. Everything vanishes as if the person never even existed on this earth.
PHOTOS:© V. Arun Kumar
A backpacking to Kashmir in June 2015 that turned into photo documentation assignment,t capturing militarization and resistance in everyday life. Special gratitude to my friend Amreeta without whom this would have been impossible. Special thanks to Mir Suhail. Also the lot of thanks to Aamir Masood, Abid Hussain, Danish Yaseen and Nida Asif Iqbal.
(All photos captured using Mobile camera [8mp])
(Some photos were published in NewsClick.in)
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