Kashmir, renowned for its incredible beauty, is the site of a decades long military occupation mostly hidden from worldview. Adjectives like “intractable” and “protracted” often precede Kashmir. What do the Kashmiri people want? The answer usually is “Azaadi. Freedom.” Angana Chatterji, the noted scholar, in her essay “Kashmir: A Time for Freedom,” writes, “‘Freedom’ represents many things across India-ruled Kashmir. These divergent meanings are united in that freedom always signifies an end to India’s authoritarian governance. In the administration of brutality, India, the postcolony, has proven itself coequal to its former colonial masters. Kashmir is not about ‘Kashmir’. Governing Kashmir is about India’s coming of age as a power, its ability to disburse violence, to manipulate and dominate. Kashmir is about nostalgia, about resources, and buffer zones. The possession of Kashmir by India renders an imaginary past real.”
Mohamad Junaid grew up in Kashmir in the 1990s and witnessed the rise of resistance against Indian rule. He has written on Kashmir in various newspapers and magazines and is a contributor to the book Until My Freedom Has Come. He is a graduate student in anthropology at the City University of New York and he teaches at Lehman College.