2013 NESSA Event Explores Life in a Militarized Zone
On Friday, February 8 Syracuse University’s South Asia Center
will host an afternoon focusing on Indian-Occupied Kashmir, the location of one
of the world’s most long running conflicts as part of the on-going series of
talks organized under the aegis of the Northeast Scholars of South Asia
(NESSA), a group of faculty members at nearby colleges and universities.
Indian-Occupied Kashmir has been a contested site between
the Indian government and those who want independent Kashmir for over 50 years.
Armed conflict, the imposition of curfews, and the constant presence of an
estimated half a million Indian military and paramilitary forces has resulted
in the insinuation of violence into Kashmiri people’s everyday lives.
The South Asia Center will explore the implications of this
militarization from the perspective of average Kashmiris living in this
militarized zone. Our keynote speaker is an expert on the situation in
Indian-occupied Kashmir, Haley Duschinski, Associate Professor of Anthropology
at Ohio University. Her research has focused both on violence within Kashmir
itself and the ways in which militarization has far reaching impacts on the
lives of Kashmiris living outside of Kashmir.
Following her talk, we will screen In Shopian, a short
documentary by former SU graduate student and independent filmmaker, Chris Giamo
(SU MA ’11) and Kelsey Kobik (SU BA ’10). Filmed in 2010, In Shopian focuses on
the double murder of two Kashmiri women amidst the social unrest in the capital
Srinagar. It features rare on-site interviews with separatist leaders Syed Ali
Geelani, Yasin Malik, and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, as well as street battles
between local youths and security forces. The film provides a contextualized
example of the plight of ordinary Kashmiris, and an aesthetic portrait of
present-day Kashmir as a war-torn paradise.
The event will culminate in a roundtable discussion that
will include Duschinski, Giamo and Kobik as well as Wajahat Ahmad, a graduate
student in the Department of Anthropology. Ahmad has lived and worked in
Kashmir; he plans to focus on Indian-occupied Kashmir for his dissertation
research. The discussion will be moderated by Christopher Lee, (PhD ’02) and
Associate Professor at Canisius College. In presenting this event, we hope to
begin a dialogue about the issue through the experiences of common people who
live their lives within this highly militarized space with the hopes that it
might foster a just and lasting peace in Kashmir. We hope that it will be of
interest to scholars of South Asia as well as those who want to learn more. The
event will begin at 2:30 pm on February 8 in 060 Eggers. A reception will
follow the discussion in 204 Maxwell. The event is free and open to the public.