A hard place

Kashmir is a tough place to be a woman. Seema Kazi, who has worked with women’s groups in India, researched women and laws in the Muslim world, and has also written extensively on Muslim women and human rights has a new book coming out in 2009: Between Democracy and Nation, Gender and Militarisation in Kashmir from Women Unlimited.

"This book focuses on the militarisation of a secessionist movement involving Kashmiri militants and Indian military forces in Jammu and Kashmir. In contrast to conventional approaches that distinguish between inter-and intra-state military conflict, this analysis of India’s external and domestic crises of militarisation is located within a single analytic frame: it argues that both dimensions have common political origins.

Highlighting the intersection between the two the author maintains that the heaviest and most grievous price of using the military for domestic repression and for the defence of Kashmir is paid by Kashmir’s citizens and society. Drawing on women’s subjective experience of militarisation, she examines the relationship between state military processes at the ‘national’ level and social transformations at the local/societal level.

By way of conclusion, she maintains that Kashmir’s humanitarian tragedy—exemplified by its gender dimensions—underlines why militarisation has failed either to ensure ‘security’ for the state, or security and justice for Kashmiris. A decentralised, democratic state with a plural concept of nation and identity, she believes, is the best safeguard against using the military for domestic repression within, and extraordinary military and nuclear consolidation of the Indian state, without."

Will soon appear in our Gender and Strategic Affairs sections. Hardcover, 256 pages. Rs 375. ISBN: 81-88965-46-4