On August 5, 2019, India revoked Kashmir's special constitutional status for complete absorption into Indian rule as a Union Territory. Living under siege-like conditions, Kashmiris are confronting a new era of settler colonialism. The current annexation, however, is just another blow in a long durée of diminishment and dehumanization as the Kashmiri people have been striving for self-determination and sovereignty for decades.
The roundtable brings together scholars from different disciplines and social locations to discuss how the forced annexation of Kashmir fits within India's Hindu majoritarian politics as well as how Kashmiris continue to resist the military siege and India's settler-colonial interventions within the context of a protracted communication black-out. Including both Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri scholars deeply invested in and knowledgeable about Kashmir, we offer mediations on Kashmir in an effort to dislodge statist and geopolitical imaginaries. To put "breath back" into Kashmiri bodies (Sharpe 2016), we come together to pay attention to Kashmir's weeds (Tsing 2017) and wildflowers (Ulmer 2018), and the weather (Sharpe 2016). We ask: What does it mean to put "breath back" into those who have died, been killed, maimed, survived, or are living through violence? How can we think, write, and stand in solidarity with those who continuously face world annihilation? What does it mean to put your body on the line?
Dean examines how narratives of Kashmir's past are used to further Indian nationalist agendas. To counter such hegemonic projects, Kashmiris articulate alternate political histories, such as in the aftermath of the 1990 independence movement, explains Junaid. Following the revocation of Article 370, Tahir shows how digitally networked Kashmiris circumvent state propaganda while battling newer forms of censorship based on misinformation, distraction, and coordinated harassment. Using metaphors of ruin and dust, Mona illuminates the politics of mega-infrastructure projects in settings of occupation, and asks infrastructure for whom? Khushdeep demonstrates how Sikh and Muslim co-religionists maintain communal harmony despite everyday violence through a process of "consensual equilibrium" (Oommen, 2008). And, Omer reminds us of the impossibility of friendship across relationships of coloniality and asks: is friendship, in essence, a demand for sovereignty?