ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Jinn, Floods, and Resistant Ecological Imaginaries in Kashmir

How Kashmiri women experience and narrate questions of resource sovereignty and dispossession within the context of Kashmir’s long-drawn-out military occupation, and India’s investments in mega hydroelectric dams on Kashmir’s rivers have been discussed. The devastating floods in 2014 led Kashmiris to increasingly challenge perceptions of nature or natural disasters as apolitical. Dams are an integral part of border-making processes, and gender, space, and borders are continually co-produced through militarised infrastructures. Women’s resistant imaginaries, which combine political and ecological metaphors, and rely on conceptions of jinn and other non-human agency, offer a way to rethink Kashmir beyond its securitised geographies.

In a popular cartoon by the Kashmiri artist, Mir Suhail, the map of India is drenched in the golden hue of electricity, while Kashmir, hanging precariously on the map, is suffocated by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation’s (NHPC) noose, turning it ominously dark (Suhail 2015).

The NHPC is India’s premier hydropower generation corporation, which, Kashmiris assert, has been “stealing” Kashmiri resources to power the Indian economy for the past several decades (Bhan 2014). In April 2013, Jammu and Kashmir’s (J&K) National Conference (NC)-led state government asked New Delhi to pay Kashmir for its water resources and stop depriving Kashmiris of their most valuable resource and their prized economic asset (Parvaiz 2013). This was not the first time that Kashmiris had demanded ownership over their waterbodies, or recognised that the control of economic resources was key for India to maintain its political control over Kashmir (Hakeem 2014). In 2011, Taj Mohi-ud-din, a senior politician from the Congress party, had accused the NHPC of acting like an imperial power and thwarting local industry and entrepreneurship (Umar 2011). According to a Right to Information application filed in 2016, J&K was the “second largest buyer of electricity produced in its own territory” (Parvaiz 2016). Even as Kashmiris have frequently drawn meaningful connections between territorial and resource sovereignties, tropes of electricity theft, resource misuse, and hijacking of Kashmiri rivers gained even more traction after the floods of 2014, making questions of resource control and ownership critical components in the Kashmiri fight for azaadi (freedom) from the long-drawn out military occupation in Kashmir (Junaid 2013; Kaul 2013; Duschinski and Bhan 2017; Duschinski et al 2018; Suhail 2018).1

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Updated On : 8th Dec, 2018

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