Hindutva, Misogyny and Kashmiri Women

Image : Swarajya

After the abrogation of Article 370, we have not only observed the celebration over the right to buy land in Kashmir but a hoopla is observed among social media users to marry white skinned  Kashmiri women. It must not be overlooked that how those in power right now have also put forth the same proffer. BJP MLA from UP, Vikram Sain, told karyakartas, “Now marry the white skinned women of Kashmir.” Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar, has also said, “Now we can bring Kashmiri girls for marriage.” Rather than condemning the misogyny and racism which is all pervasive, those who are in power have chosen to back it.

Misogyny and racism are deeply rooted in the Hindutva brigade who are leaving no chance to exacerbate the psychological trauma of Kashmiris. This patriarchal mindset does not manifest as uncontrolled sexual desire but rather as an ostentatious display of exertion of power, dominance and installment of fear in the minds and hearts of Kashmiris.

The frenzied sloganeering ‘Kashmir humara hai’ and deluded idea of marrying  Kashmiri women, are talked about in the same breath which highlights how the hyper nationalists view women as property and a prized possession which as per them can be sought and won by muscle power exercised by majoritarian state. The commodification of women is harrowingly regressive which leads to the dehumanization of women.

Hypernationaists have always been irked by the fact that Kashmir is the only Muslim majority state. The fervour with which they are talking about marrying Kashmiri women is launched by them as an attack to destroy an ethnicity. The problem here is not inter-ethnic marriage but the intention of using it as a weapon to wipe out an ethnicity is problematic. Their intentions are deeply entrenched in patriarchy.   They feel that attacking Kashmiri women will emasculate   Kashmiri men. The male nationalists are trying to revive and recuperate their machismo which make them see women only as a ‘womb’, and according to them reproduction is the only role women are capable of playing. Therefore, the ’womb’ from other the community must be sought to dilute that ethnicity.

In a patriarchal society, women are treated as a repository of honour, values and family traditions.  This is exemplified by the narrow vision of hyper nationalists asking to marry women belonging to a different community in order to dishonour the woman’s family.

The deliberate attempt of Hindutvadis to castrate  Kashmiri men demonstrates  how they view and understand  the existence of a woman by her relationship with  a man. A woman exists only as a man’s daughter/sister/mother and not as a human being irrespective of the relationship and associations with men, and in order to castrate men, women related to them must be exploited.

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