Society for Cultural Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
In Indian-occupied Kashmir, the most militarized place on earth, the psychiatric clinic has emerged as a site where radically different social, political and ideological projects of care—including Indian military and counterinsurgency efforts, pastoral public health care, and international humanitarianism—collide. This paper asks: What does it mean for a militarized state to care for a population, which it deeply mistrusts, and what does it mean for trauma and mental health to emerge as “matters of care” in this contemporary moment? What happens to care when it becomes imbricated in military and humanitarian logics?
Drawing on fieldwork from a police-run substance abuse clinic, this paper captures the “layered undoings” (Pinto 2014) produced by encounters with military and humanitarian care regimes. Through the life of Inayat—a young man whose life is profoundly misshapen by overlapping encounters with public health, humanitarian and military apparatuses—we see how Kashmiris find themselves caught between two regimes of care. Though singular, Inayat’s life reveals the ways that being a subject of military and humanitarian care produces irreparable fissures in language, kinship, and the social.