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

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Gendered Politics of Funerary Processions

On 8 July 2016, Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani was killed by the Indian army, setting in motion unprecedented funerary processional grieving. Using accounts of funerals of militants and civilians, gendered funerary processions and the transformation of gendered cultures of grieving in Kashmir have been analysed. It is argued that women’s participation in the militant and civilian funerary processions is a feminist political formulation in the Kashmiri context. This is understood through a review of the politics of funeral attendance and two specific actions that women undertake: publicising grief by bringing the private out into the contested public realm, thus outdoing religious law, and resisting the state’s sovereignty by grieving for lives that the state deems “non-grievable.”

Dimensions of Sexual Violence and Patriarchy in a Militarised State

Enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, and sexual violence have characterised Indian military operations in Kashmir. Of these, sexual violence has been used widely to “break” individuals and communities, and as a tool for punishing resistance against violence by the Indian state. The discourse around sexual violence, however, has always revolved around women with very little focus on men and transgender persons, given the patriarchal understanding of sexual violence and power relations. A critical part of this discussion is also looking at how the patriarchal structure of the society acts as a facilitator for the effective use of sexual violence as a tool against the people. The sexual violence that is propagated and implemented by a masculine patriarchal state can be resisted well with a deeper understanding of gender dynamics.

Home as the Frontier

In conflict zones, the home–outside binary is often erased in practice as violence enters people’s lives and personal spaces, diluting any distinction between combatants and non-combatants, even as the international humanitarian law and Geneva Conventions highlight the distinction. In Kashmir, a popular armed rebellion against the state, since 1989, has been met with brutal force. Making use of militarised masculinity to inflict violence on bodies and psyches of the people considered to be the “other” has been a norm. In extending the understanding of the front line from the border to homes, actions, bodies, and the everyday trauma that women face, the victimhood narrative is problematised by placing women as frontliners as they witness, survive, and resist.

Moving from Impunity to Accountability

In the aftermath of the Balkan Wars and the Rwandan genocide, international legal policy on sexual violence in conflicts saw a major shift towards stronger international accountability mechanisms. The establishment of criminal tribunals and the development of the conflict-related sexual violence paradigm were some of the institutional and policy changes that occurred as a result, with both acknowledging that women are targeted in conflicts not only because of their gender, but also due to their ethnic identity. The applicability of the conflict-related sexual violence paradigm to the Kashmir case is explored, thereby underscoring the bigger questions regarding the state’s responsiveness towards such human rights abuse, and its commitment towards ending impunity for sexual violence in conflicts.

Women in Resistance

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.

Maximum Sustainable Yield

Some scientific concepts are accepted and sustained by policymakers not because they can accurately explain or predict the state of natural resources, but because they can be used to legitimise certain forms of resource control. Taking the concept of maximum sustainable yield as an example, how it was originally developed in the context of scientific forestry, but entered marine fisheries management and became a part of the “accepted wisdom,” has been analysed. The consequences this has had, for marine fisheries globally and also in India, and the critiques it has spurred have been explained. The msy’s persistence is unpacked to suggest that debates on resource management need to be attentive to context, in order to understand how science may get enmeshed in efforts to enclose and appropriate resources.

Indian Agriculture

Sustainability of agriculture depends on soil management systems that ensure food security, healthy soils and ecosystem services, and prevent resource degradation. Globally, conservation agriculture has provided a common thread for the application of five sustainability principles—efficient use of water, reduced use of agrochemicals , improved soil health, adapt to climate change, and doubling farmer income—in order to tie the mix of interventions with local needs and priorities of the farmers. For food and ecological sustainability of Indian agriculture, the state’s interventions must be on the basis of the conservation agriculture approach.

Bovine Politics and Climate Justice

Caught between deepening ecological, climate, and economic crises, marginal and small farmers in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have been systematically pushed out of dairy and other livestock livelihoods. The growing political environment in India, openly supportive of cow-related hate crimes in the name of upholding anti-slaughter laws, is further destroying farmer livelihoods. Smallholder farmers are organising in creative ways, radically opposed to the dominant policy recommendation, in order to counter this situation and build climate and economic resilience that is socially just.

Agroecological Farming in Water-deficient Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is confronted with a water crisis that is adversely affecting agriculture, industry, services, and households. The principal crop in Tamil Nadu is rice, which is water intensive. Millets, in general, are less water intensive and more capable of withstanding drought conditions. An agroecological system of farming millets ought to take into account not only water use, but also the whole gamut of political and ecological issues that are connected to farming such as public procurement, land reform, minimum support price, subsidised credit, agricultural extension services, and so on. The publicly procured millet output may be distributed through the public distribution system, government schools, and through the network of Amma canteens in the state.

State, Community and the Agrarian Transition in Arunachal Pradesh

Following the rapid and uneven integration with the capitalist economy, the local economies and institutional mechanisms of the indigenous communities of Arunachal Pradesh have been transformed in multiple and complex ways. With the commercialisation of agriculture and the gradual emergence of private property rights, the community-based institutions for natural resource management and conflict resolutions are undergoing a multilevel transformation. This is mediated through the interactions among community, market and state institutions. With the expansion of the non-agricultural economy, a powerful class of local elites has attempted to extract rent through a variety of means, often using their membership of local communities and access to state institutions to safeguard their interests, against the backdrop of the ethnic competition between different ethnic groups.

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