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

A+| A| A-

Women in Resistance

Narratives of Kashmiri Women’s Protests

Media framings of street protests by young women in April 2017 projected them as “poster girls” of women’s resistance to the Indian administration in the region, thereby invisibilising the largely undocumented past of women’s resistance as well as daily acts of survival and dissent. Comparing women’s street protests across two time periods in Kashmir—1964 to 1974, and April 2017—women’s role in the narratives of nationalist and anti-colonial struggles is analysed. The struggle for “self-determination” in Kashmir provides women with a space for active political participation. However, as seen in the creation of women’s protests as “spectacle,” it denies women the opportunity to participate as genuine political actors and decide the terms of their participation.

The author would like to thank Shrimoyee Nandini Ghosh for her valuable feedback on the first draft of this paper.

In late 1973, Chandi Prasad, pioneer of Chipko Andolan, the Indian forest conservation movement, witnessed Kashmiri women standing on rooftops and throwing stones at the police in central Srinagar during a period of intense and valley-wide anti-India agitations sparked off by students of Srinagar Government Womens College (Guha 2009). He describes it as a majedar tamasha (humorous spectacle) (Guha 2009). Four and a half decades later, in April 2017, young female students chanting anti-India slogans took to the streets across the towns and districts of Kashmir to protest against police brutalities. These young women, photographed in moments of aggression and rage against the state, became hyper-visible on digital media platforms.

Responses to these images from both within and outside Kashmir expressed surprise, disapproval, and resentment at the emergence of the female stone-pelter and more generally at the presence of young women on the streets demanding azaadi (freedom). From Chandi Prasads laughing dismissal, to the contemporary characterisation of these protests as unprecedented, the history of Kashmiri womens participation in the resistance movements against the Indian state in the region has often been invisiblised or treated as insignificant.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

INR 59

(Readers in India)

$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Published On : 29th Nov, 2018

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.