Ather Zia is a political anthropologist working on militarization, gender and Kashmir. Currently she is a faculty at the Anthropology and Gender studies program at the University of Northern Colorado Greeley. She is also a poet, writes short fiction and is the founder-editor of Kashmir Lit at www.kashmirlit.org.
The level of defiance in Kashmir is at an all-time high. Even if the Kashmiris have seized their power through laying down their lives and limbs, they have a clear agreement that their fight is for Azadi and nothing less. This uprising once again drives a nail into the coffin of those Indian narratives that undermine Kashmir's resolution by the ahistoric, nationalistic and myopic analytics such as "underdevelopment," "mismanagement," "unemployment," "alienation," and "failure to integrate."
This summer uprising of 2016 is an important moment in Kashmiri resistance because it once again makes explicit the failure of the Indian government's machinations to curb the demand for independence. It especially showcases the utter waste of the Indian regime's intense focus on the Kashmiri youth.
In the Kashmir Valley, a heated debate is on about Kashmiris joining the Indian administrative services. For a people who resist the Indian yoke, every time a Kashmiri qualifies for the Indian or even the Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS), it becomes a point of acute reflection. So how does one comprehend Kashmiris entering the civil services, which in Kashmir has become tantamount to being hand in glove with the Indian state? Among my several professional avatars, I once also qualified for the KAS...
As far as my memory goes, the Indian team was never supported by Kashmiris. The few people who cheered India were seen as aberrant rather than allegiant. The desire for India's loss, and a win for the contesting team is a leitmotif of Kashmir's cricket-politics; or in simpler words a placeholder for the desire of liberation.
After the sedition fracas, Kanhaiya Kumar, president of the JNU student union, finally reclaimed his patriot status by reiterating that Kashmir is an integral part of India. This statement is the mother of all gold standards for proving one's patriotism in India. In addition to its shorthand use, this statement also becomes an analytic for many Indians to understand Kashmir. It is nothing new. Here, I want to trace the Kashmiri body in Kanhaiya's speech after he was released from jail.