Gender emancipation and micro-conflicts in teenagers' subjectivity making

The Leviathan’s tale

It might be due to the irony of fate that the two main conceptual gatekeepers used in the last twenty years to frame what has happened in the recent history of Kashmir have been “dispute” and “conflict”. Both these words are related, more or less directly, with the India-Pakistan political and historical relation, aiming somehow to set a geometrical order over a context where complexities are hardly reducible to any dichotomy . For sure the partition, as an imaginary shaping narrative and policy implementing matrix, has played its role: we cannot avoid conceiving Kashmir as a scar in the Siamese twins countries plots, where Pakistan owned its right to exist as a separate nation due to the Muslim majority of its population. And we must realize the fact that there is a clear emotional link between Kashmiri separatism and Pakistani nationalism which compromises India’s formal aim to be a secular country. At the same time the 1947 partition’s genealogies have conveyed and nourished the seeds of Hindu ethnonationalism and Muslim fundamentalism, two forces that are somehow structural in keeping the microsocial sphere attached to the imagined community and nation building processes. The militancy upsurge Kashmiris have witnessed during the 90s needs to be located in this emplotment, as well into the wider frame of the cold war era’s end, then the end of Russian-Afgan war, and a transition decade where the Kashmiri dispute seemed to be the right spot to park the Jihadis’ potential, waiting to be encapsulated in a new a geopolitical pattern.

Now, the dispute, recognized by United Nations and the conflict, the small scale insurgency fueled by Pakistani army, are almost historical events belonging to the past. What we need to understand is what these two macro-concepts, deeply interrelated into each other, have become in the local people’s imaginary, how the related symbolic capital has become a device for local self presentations, identity making, practices, social poetics and tactics. We need indeed to invert the classic interpretative pattern, which has allowed us to feed that double headed Leviathan which has become the Indo-Pak dispute with the fragments we witness in the daily life, and try to focus on the way these fragments reshape the holistic dimension of the dispute trough metonymy strategies, trying to reformulate the macropolitical novel from its basic grammar: emotions, face to face relations, embodiment, paradoxical narratives. We need hitherto to dispute the dispute, and try to find the conflicts laying under the accommodating surface of these interpretative keywords themselves: a surface where too many stories and theories are floating, disallowing outsiders to see through it.

Following this interpretative pattern in this article I’ll present two ethnographic tales involving teenagers subjectivity and gender making through an interpenetration of local moral economy and macropolitical frames. The theoretical aim here is to understand and highlight what is moving and revolving under the formal political layer discourse, whose diachronic path seems almost monitored and conveyed by the dispute’s structural powers, finally focusing on an informal type of resistance, which owns its ideological potential from its apparently apolitical features.

Cricket fruition and female’s side effects

During April 2011 the twenty-twenty cricket world-cup was under the media highlights all over the subcontinent. The coming match, the semifinal, was scheduled to be India- Pakistan, something involving the relevant nationalism with a strength that has allowed Appadurai to speak about slightly dissimulated wars.

In Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, the government had already decided to ban the assemblage of more than four people in public spaces in order to avoid disorder. Chaiwallas and restaurants were made to shut down. Among the others I decided to accept Alia’s invitation to the match of the day: formally something unusual, a fifth-teen year old Muslim girl inviting me to watch a cricket match at her house. In fact I had been living in her house for a month during 2009, till I was forced to to leave due to the total lack of privacy. Notwithstanding some harsh arguments I had been keeping friendly relations with her and her parents, visiting their home for tea, bringing biscuits and chips for the four siblings. Alia’s family belonged to the low class society: their house was located in the Lone colony, a small illegal residential area drained by the government twenty years before and immediately occupied by those who were at the time in need. Almost all the families living in the Lone colony were Hanji (or Hunz), the local community whose activities are linked with the lake Dal and the river Jhelum: fishermen, farmers, and houseboat owners. Under any perspective being Hanji in Kashmir recalls a stereotype of backwardness, illiteracy, bad manners and language, dishonesty: a well drawn line (one among many others) which marks Kashmiri society internal border. In marriage strategies, for example, no one wants to marry Hanji people, even if the candidate’s family economical condition is pretty good: it’s a matter of reputation, basically linked to a cast system which appears to be deeply rooted in the local social structure. The Lone colony is one of those areas were Hanji have started their re-qualification process, mixing themselves with the land population, leaving work in the lake for other jobs, sending children to school and so on. In those areas some mixed marriages are actually taking place and new generations are denying their family’s roots perceiving the shame attached to them. Beside this, Alia’s family was living in an indigent condition: the father was occasionally working as a bus driver and most of their income was coming through their grandmother’s pension.

I had received the invitation almost a week before the match was scheduled, so that I couldn’t refuse. Alia had clearly stated that she was going to be the only Indian team supporter in the family and that having at least a neutral witness was absolutely important to her. Almost everyone I knew in town was going to support Pakistan, and the peculiarity of her position had definitely gained my interest. I had promised her that, beside being almost unaware about the game dynamics, I would try to stand on her side, just as a generic sympathizer of minorities. In the family, specially the mother, was claiming to be a “Bakra”, as her family belonged to the old town, near Rajouri Kadal, the heart of the separatist-Azadi sentiment and the native area of the Mirwaiz, one of the main separatist leaders. She was proudly keeping a Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq’s portrait hanging in the only room of the house. It was in that same room that we were going to watch the match on a Chinese branded TV.

The match was split in two innings: during the first, scheduled for the afternoon, India was bowling, meaning Pakistan was to score its points. Notwithstanding a good beginning Pakistan had scored just 231 runs, which were making the situation quite complicated. Meanwhile, during the afternoon, in the old town most of the shops had been kept shut, even if some of them were filled with people anxiously watching the screen, partially because of the match itself, partially scared about paramilitary troops patrolling the streets. According to some people a few small teenagers’ processions were witnessed moving in the lanes, shouting pro-Pakistani and pro-freedom slogans. Crackers were breaking the otherwise silent town’s sonic landscape. Someone had told me about small incidents like stone-pelting on bunkers, something usual when political issues arose. In the meantime on Facebook and Twitter storms of posts, pro-India and pro-Pakistan, were clashing against each other. Omar Abdullah himself, the Chief Minister of J&K, was involved as a formally impartial Twitter commenter, diplomatically concerning technical details. On the international level the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers, Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Gelani had decided to meet in Mohali stadium and amicably follow the match together. The media had then started to talk about cricket diplomacy, a chance of dialogue launched through the sport event itself: something similar had actually happened in the ’80s, during Zia’s regime, but nothing had actually come of it.

Around six o’clock in the evening I decided to move around the city to meet some of those friends who I knew were emotionally involved as Pakistani sympathizers. Imram was one of them: an amateur cricket player and ex Hizbul Mujahideen collaborator, coming from a Bakra background. I found him alone in his room, with all of his two meters in height, from feet to nose, folded in the Pheran, the traditional woolen cloak. His worried eyes were merely visible behind the cloth, while his ears where all for the radio reports and live interviews from the pitch. I tried to break the tension by asking innocently how the match was proceeding. He tried to snap out of his mood and answered:

“In the end it’s just a game…I really cannot understand why people are paying so much attention to this cricket match! And why are they supporting Pakistan? We are Kashmiris, right now nobody wants Pakistan! We have to celebrate that Asian teams are going to reach the final anyway, against Australia, South Africa and so on. Anyway I think i will not bother watching the second part…it’s cold and I have a fever…most probably I’ll go to sleep early.”

Melancholy was spreading from Imran eyes, so I didn’t dare to investigate further. He was in a deep state of grief looking almost like he had just lost a close relative.

I reached Alia’s house by nine o’clock: I was invited to dinner. I was carrying a bottle of juice and chips, a poor contribution to healing the forthcoming tragedy. Alia’s mother had prepared mutton and haak, which meant that in a low income family context they were holding a celebration. The second part of the match had already started and Indians were playing quite well: two Pakistani bowlers were out, and six runs had been scored. Jacob, Alia’s father was anxiously staring at the screen waiting for a pause in the action, with a fist full of rice hanging from his right hand waiting to reach the mouth.

In the mean time, Farooq, the almost eight year old son, was trying to express his innocent technical knowledge and till the very last minute he strove to convince his father that it was still possible to win the match. His father, who was much more experienced in the cricket field as well in maths, had already foreseen the inevitability of a bitter defeat. Alia’s mother and sister weren’t looking very concerned about the progress of the game and, if they were, it was through an emphatic support of Jacob’s and Adil’s (the elder brother) emotional anticlimax.

Alia was still trying to look satisfied about how things were going, being consistent with her previous statements. But the sturdy certainty she had been showing me during the previous days was progressively surrendering to some mysterious force, which was shading her pale face, slightly lightened up by the TV leds. Jacob placed the previously mentioned fist full of rice back in the plate and suddenly shouted to his wife to take it away. Farooq, feeling the atmosphere was getting tense, stopped eating chips waiting for his father to emotionally tackle the degenerating situation. “I can’t bare it anymore…I’ll get a heart attack!” – Jacob finally declared- “Farooq, come with me…we’re going for a walk.”

Only Alia and I remained in the room, both unable to speak, pretending to listen to the euphoric Indian speaker’s comments about the last insignificant seconds of the match. All the men had gone out, Alia’s mother and sister were washing pots in the kitchen. The match had ended: Pakistan had lost ingloriously. Alia made some attempts to hide her evident bad mood, at least paradoxical recalling her previous pro-Indian statements. As well as many others she told me that at the end it was just a game, and that she was sad just because of her father’s and brother’s feelings, and that in respecting them she wasn’t able to show her real happiness. She gave me goodnight at the gate, forcibly pushing herself to smile.

Alia’s metamorphosis had been unexpected, much more unexpected than Imran’s one and many others, who had formally abdicated their Pakistani faith trough something I might call strategic dignity, an attitude everyone has witnessed during the Fifa World cups and so on. Alia, at the apex of her teenage years, was actually the “rebel one” in the family context, many times I had watched her fiercely arguing with her father and elder brother. A couple of times I had noticed that she had some wounds on her face, and after unsuccessfully trying to explain to me that she had fallen in the bathroom, she had to admit she was being beaten by Adil. Her school was indirectly managed by the government and there she was obviously imparted with pro-Indian propaganda: Indian hymns, Indian nationalist history and so on. There was an obvious gap between that context and what she was facing in her family’s tradition, almost harmonized with the mohalla moral economy and a diluted separatist narrative: even if her family wasn’t directly involved with politics, all along the India-Pakistan match the separatist discourse had become the glue framing the micro social and moral layer into the wider Kashmiri imagined community.

Beside this, during 2009 political crisis I remember Alia telling me that her dream was to become a lawyer and join Dukhtaran-e-Millat, a female pro-Pakistani organization. But in this specific moment Alia had decided to use the cricket macro-event to play on her status into the family structure playground, actually emancipating herself in the gender and family scale power dynamics. If we think about her mother’s attitude, we will notice she substantially marginalized herself from the match fruition, leaving the technical competences to Jacob’s and Adil’s social space, and ancillary supporting them on the emotional side, just dissipating their tension through her Kashmir housewife’s duties. She had cooked the dinner, served it, she hadn’t complained even when Abdul had refused to finish the rice and when things had started to turn bad, after attempting to moderate the men’ frustration through some naive questions she had moved to the kitchen to do the washing up. A first Alia’s emancipatory move had been just to place all her strength into the cricket match fruition. She knew the rules, every single player’s attitudes and skills, the chances each team had to win during every step of the match. Even through this she was infiltrating her subjectivity into what we might formally consider a masculine symbolic arena.

A few times, during intimate conversations, she had confessed to me how hard and frustrating it was , for a girl like her to follow the Islamic-Kashmiri traditional rules . Through the cricket game performance she had found a way to openly express her hostility towards the gender hierarchic structure, as well as towards the rest of the family, mostly her father and elder brother, who used to tease her for being the“weird one”, always saying and doing the opposite to them. Supporting India during the match was framed into this “weird-labeled” attitude. Only her mother appeared to hide a secret pride for her daughter’s rebel behavior, somehow recognizing its implicit emancipatory strength, otherwise discredited by anyone else. She was not in the position to do the same for various reasons, but her “emotions manager” status was allowing her to indirectly support both sides.

Anyway, Alia’s decision to support India wasn’t considered political by anyone, beside she had declared that there was no ideological contradiction between being Muslim and Indian, as India was a secular country. In a wider perspective everybody was aware of her pro-separatist positions, beside her poorly influential pro-Indian schooling background. The secular ideology and the political itself, even when translated into the cricket performance, were somehow a device, located into a disputed symbolic playground, enabling her to act inside an otherwise rigid configuration of power. The macropolitical landscape, always highlighted by the media discourses was then at the margins, while into the microphysical power/gender structure, a small scale revolution was going on.

At the end Alia’s emotional attachment with Pakistani nationalism and family tradition had then emerged, almost silent and invisible, strategically hidden from the men’ sight, a dissimulation strategy formally justified, at least in her words, by her traditional female role: respecting her father’s and brother’s feelings. But at the end Alia had won her match: she had negotiated her female subjectivity broadening her potential influence through a diplomatic but effective social poetic strategy: she had faced all the match emotional anticlimax, developing a progressive closeness towards Pakistanis when it was clear they were going to lose, mostly when all the men had left the room to avoid baring the final tragedy. All this had started from a banal cricket match, whose intimate implication had got subliminally interwoven into the Hanji family structure of Lone colony, Srinagar. On the opposite, the cricket diplomacy issue, the so much discussed meeting between Gilani and Singh at the Mohali stadium, had no other consequences than ineffective gossip.

I walked home across the silent lanes, feeling somehow disappointed and sad, probably due to an unavoidable emotional contamination conveyed by Alia. I was passing by a huge army camp, and I could hear the Indian soldiers singing and shouting behind spirals of barbed wire. They were drunk and happy Indians loudly celebrating the victory, surrounded by depressed Kashmiris, speaking or thinking about their beloved team’s technical mistakes, about Afridi’s late age, about Indian supremacy, in politics and in cricket. The Army’s noisy celebration kept going on all night: I still remember that as one of the most unmistakable signs of what most of local people consider an arrogant foreign occupation. That night Pakistan , the idea of Pakistan, was extraordinarily close to me.

But just the morning after, walking near by the same army camp, and seeing a guard wearing the celebratory uniform I couldn’t help my self going straight to him to congratulate for the wonderful match, of a game which I found definitely boring and which rules were still not completely clear to me. Much more I had got out of its intimate implications: Pakistan, at least as an emotion, was still solid and strong in Kashmir.


Stone age politics: a masculine partition


The last Friday of Ramadan, Juma-ul-Vida, used to be marked by a huge gathering of Kashmiri Muslims at Jamia Masjid, in Downtown Srinagar. This area is well known as a separatist stronghold in the city, as the mosque itself is a traditional stage for one of the main Hurryat leaders, the Mirwaiz, who is at the same time a political and religious authority in the valley. Anyway, during August 2011 the situation in Kashmir was calm, after 3 years of almost continuous unrest, where more than 200 protestors were killed, and thousands injured or jailed. Most of these killings, had happened during stone-pelting actions against the local police and Indian paramilitary troops, a popular resistance practice locally know as Kanijung, literally “stone-war”. But in 2011 the intensity of 2008-2010 riots, the tightness of curfews, the brutality of Indian troopers seemed to be a lost-in-the-past memory: Indian tourists were coming back in the valley, the separatist sentiment had gone underground, and Kanijung itself was randomly performed by 10-15 year old kids, mostly politically unaware, probably just innocently trying to emulate their elders.

At the entrance of the mosque, while I was taking some pictures of the crowd, I accidentally met Tariq, one of the closest friends I had in Kashmir: he was walking with his father, a local entrepreneur, wearing a brand new white khan-dress. We exchanged greetings and arranged a meeting after prayers. After the Mirwaiz sermon, a choreography of thousand people performing Nimaaz outside the huge Mosque took place with geometrical harmony: elders and children, poor and rich, separatist and pro-Indian standing close each other, equal under the sight of Allah. Slowly the people started to move back to their daily duties. Not all of them actually: a few hundred people started to assemble following the Mirwaiz. Shouting pro-freedom and anti-Indian slogans a small procession started moving towards the “civilians areas”, those which are usually known to belong to pro-Indian parties supporters. But after a few meters, in the square in front of Jamia Masjid, the procession progressively split: groups of youngsters started taking a different direction, wearing cloths over their faces, shouting pro-Pakistani slogans, walking and jumping excitedly towards the next police station. That was, since 2008 the historical stage of Kanijung, the place where tons of stones had been thrown, hundreds of teargas shells and bullets had been shot, where litres of stone-pelters’ blood had been shed,. Adrenaline rushes were flowing across the teenagers brains, their tense bodies were moving everywhere, assembling, shouting, hugging each other. They were again in hundreds, as it used to be one year before, and even if there was no specific issue to fight for, except the everlasting Azadi utopia, the moral precipitate of the Islamic festival appeared to be enough to justify a stone-pelting afternoon. Army men, as local shopkeepers were already aware of that.

I was roaming along with the crowd, shooting videos, when I noticed Tariq standing few meters away from me: he was basically watching his co-aged fellows preparing for the protest, almost like I was doing, looking like a detached observer, just indirectly involved in the situation. He was an observed observer, not an actor in the protest, like he had many times claimed to be when speaking with me. Tariq was actually belonging to upper class, he was, I would say, an “intellectual type,” while those whose corpses and voices were reshaping the atmosphere of the Jamia Masjid surroundings, transforming a dusty shopping road into a small warfare theater, were mostly lower or middle class teenagers, enjoying the tense collective mood, informally conveyed by a well known cocktail of politics and religion. The noisy mob proceeded along the road, as I had previously witnessed so many times, while shopkeepers, already acquainted (I would say even annoyed) with the Kanijung routine, suddenly started rolling down their shutters, women were quickly finishing their shopping and running along the lanes intersecting the main road: the space was clear, ready to be signified as a border making ritual, a social drama where teenagers, temporary and fictionally representing the entire Kashmiri civil society would have gained again a chance to express their irreducible distance from the Indian State, here, as almost in local daily life, represented by the Indian army forces.

Apparently, it uses to start almost as a kind of request: the protesters go close to the bunker and start hurling stones at it, shouting insults, often involving soldiers mothers and sisters and their sexual activities, or even Hindu religion. The police and Indian forces also hurl abuses at the protests. As tolerance and secularism use to be two key features in Kashmiris self-presentation, the usage of communal abuses lead us to think about a more clear link between the Partition’s ideological frame, the moral economy and the micro-social border making enabled by Kanijung, where the Indian becomes a Hindu and the Kashmiri is openly allowed to shout pro-Pakistani (or communal) slogan.

On the other side the second type of abuses, those directed towards mothers and sisters, leads us to think about an interpenetration between the communal and the masculine aggressively: the two emotional and symbolic forces seem to melt and regenerate as conflict activating device at the core of separatist protest. When the soldiers start coming out of the bunker the game is open, the gap between the two factions becomes largely meaningful: the Indian State is going to show its real nature: the way is keeping its sovereignty in the valley is based on brutal force, on violence. The real performance begins with teargases and stones, but the former is the most effective device to communicate the daily routine which permeate the same space where Kanijung is taking place is now suspended. The smell of tear-gas and the noise of shell explosions are syn-esthetically related on conflict and protests memories, re-activating what seems to be buried in everyone’s past.

On the stone-pelters side a deep masculine conflict permeates the inner bodily interaction, where a major strength is measured through one’s bravery to stand in front of the collective and pelt stones from there without showing any fear. That’s the apex of status in Kanijung, at least if we are looking at the performative leadership. Going back towards the back stage the tension is progressively weakened: guys throwing stones from a safe location, those providing material to the formers, those simply watching and enjoying the atmosphere from the backyard. Standing in a line, near by the Jamia Masjid, we are often able to find elders, usually keeping their hand joined behind their back showing a complete non-involvement in the protest, but somehow emotionally partaking, maybe as previous stone pelters, maybe just as simple spectators, or simply police infiltrators. The axis of a mounting masculine aggressiveness, seems to get at its lowest point here, where males are just safely watching whether it increases its strength on the border of the “disputed area”, the front stage were the “Kalkharab” (rotten heads) are facing teargas shells, bullets, lathis and the chance to be captured, beaten, arrested by the police. That’s the border, that’s the place from were the local community metaphorically ends and needs to be protected by the outsider, the invader, the Indian State: that’s the place were the young men have to prove their bravery, to show that Kashmiri Muslims aren’t dominated due to cowardice, that their generation is no less brave than the previous one, the one involved in the armed struggle of the nineties.

3There’s a basic interactive device, emotional as well embodied, that seems to be the core of Kanijung dynamics: that’s “Chagh”. Chagh means literally stampede, rush, retreat, and that’s what happens when the army decides to shift the border and attacks the protestors’ side with the help of a jeep or another vehicle. That’s basically what the protestors like to get from the soldiers, as some of them have explained to me: the real adrenaline flow, the anarchic collective rush along the small lanes, the embodied and sensorial experience of what India is, something dangerous, poisonous, to be tackled with care, but to be teased on the front stage. Here no fear must be displayed through body language, facial expressions, voices: only a clownish aggressive acting towards the armed forces is allowed. Every emotional weakness has to be dissimulated: the Indian State has to be distanced from the Kashmiri intimate self, now self-shaped as a tricky “homo ludens,” nourished by a “miserable and brutal Indian alterity”. They, the soldiers, have just weapons and power on their side and nothing else allows them to rule and be feared. Through the chagh, politics and emotions, masculinity shaping and Partition doctrine, structural powers and local moral economy, violence and enjoyment get interwoven into the teenagers’ body and soul. And from there, from the martyrdom-politics-machine built on Kanijung and Chagh embodied experience, the dispute and the conflict structures and narratives gain their micro-physical strength.

But let’s recall the events of the last Friday of Ramadan 2011. I was moving along with Tariq, who was basically observing the situation from behind the front line, almost as I used to do. His self-proclaimed Kalkarab status was not implemented as expected. Suddenly, I met his younger brother, Nissar, rushing back from the main stage breathing heavily: just escaped from an army charge, fully involved in a chagh. I asked him about his brother: smiling, he declared that he was not one of those risking his life in Kanijung. Just coyly pelting a few stones from behind, sometimes even hitting his fellows on the front.

Here we need to take a look at the background: in the family context Tariq was the good son: perfect student, intellectual, writing poems, involved in activism, good Muslim with a touch of Sufi. Nissar, the opposite, was the lazy one, wasting his time on Facebook and watching TV. The Kanijung social drama, thanks to the daily normative structure suspension and the overwhelming corporal and emotional intensity had enabled Nissar to revert the hierarchy, to be the leading brother for at least one afternoon. But Tariq didn’t surrender to this new order. When I met him at the end of the afternoon performance he didn’t spare to claim that his brother Nissar was a backyard stone-pelter and that that day he had preferred to stay behind to observe and analyze the Kanijung practice.

In fact in a few days he managed to elaborate his own sociological theory, apparently miming my interpretative work: Kanijung space and role structure were based on generational structure. Small children below of ten are guarding the side lanes, checking where the police is and providing stones and bricks to the elders. Then slowly, when they become confident with chaghs, they start pelting stones from behind, progressively coming to the front, finally becoming Kalkharab when closer to their twenties. Then after finishing the apprenticeship, once it’s clear to everyone they’ve been able to risk of their life for the Kashmiri cause, they can slowly go back to safer spatial layers, until reaching the Jamia Masjid, turning into innocent spectators, or commentator as he used to say, and finally being mere Mirwaiz’s elder audience during Jamia Masjid Fridays. That’s the storyline of a Kashmiri political subject, according to him. What’s interesting in all this is that Tariq, understanding that his reputation as a stone-pelter was in danger, at least in front of me, had switched the context and the code of his masculine subjectivity making, choosing to leave the embodied performance of Kanijung to compete along another axis, a different hierarchy: the intellectual, interpretative one. The competition was also played in a broader range than the dusty and crowded Kanijung playground, as the contender, at least during that conversation, was a literate angreez.

The leviathan’s tail

I have presented here two ethnographic accounts from Kashmiri microsocial context, trying to represent the way teenagers use the broad political landscape to create subjectivity and gender, how they recycle symbolic material from political and historical narratives to develop micro-disputes and micro-conflicts that enable them to expand their agency range, to experience new ways to place themselves in the interactive ground. At the same time we must assume that this is the way the dispute and the relevant structural powers, conceived as the imaginary double headed Leviathan I’ve been previously speaking about, encapsulates emotions, bodies, personal stories and so on. The dynamic is dialectical, and it’s not easy to find out where the balance between daily oppositional practices, or resistance, and different established powers is located: it’s a day to day struggle, where new dissimulation and distancing strategies have to be deployed. For sure, in Alia’s and Tariq’s stories we found that an emancipatory process has taken place, but still we don’t know if this progress is merely confined to a micro-scale, face to face relation layer or if it’s going to modify the wider context of Kashmiri politics, their entangled narratives and genealogies ramifications. Probably, at least in the two discussed cases, just because this is supposed to be a long term effect, which still belongs to these teenagers’ future lives and will.  

The names of people have been changed in this essay.


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of gardens and graves by suvir kaul

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