In the Indian national imagination, Kashmiri women have been reduced to the stereotype of being oppressed in society. The agency of Kashmiri women is erased, and they are cast as hapless victims of the male-dominated resistance. In recent years, some feminist literature in India has emerged that presents a more nuanced analysis of Kashmiri women’s experiences. However, the bulk of discourse, analysis and solidarity can be categorized as imperial or colonial feminism with its consistent focus on casting Kashmiri women as victims, who must be saved from their oppressive Muslim men.
This presentation will illustrate how gender has become a factor in discrediting and maligning the Kashmiri movement while focusing on women's role in human rights advocacy and the quest for Kashmir's political resolution. It will argue that very little is done by Indian gender advocates to address the military patriarchal occupation of the bodies and land of Kashmiris. Such feminist praxis results in becoming complicit in propagating the Indian nationalist project and appears yet another form of imperial feminism or specifically as imperial brown feminism.
About the speaker
Ather Zia, PhD, is a political anthropologist, poet, short fiction writer and columnist. She is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and Gender Studies program at the University of Northern Colorado Greeley.