In Their Own Words: Voices of Kashmir

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Zachary Bordas/ Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) 2021
contact email: 

This heuristic panel seeks to examine the lived reality and creative representation of the political and ecological crisis in Kashmir. Spotlighting the voices of Kashmiri writers will continue the long and delicate process of shedding light on the current human rights crisis happening in Kashmir, as well as its global significance. This panel, therefore, solicits academic research that brings the persecuted voices of Kashmiri writers out of isolation (respecting anonymity on an individual basis) and into humanist discussions. The purpose of this panel involves both understanding the description of the Kashmiri lived reality, as well as providing space for hearing the specific tenants of their calls for change. As a scholarly body who believes in the praxis of the Humanities, I invite research that empirically focuses on the current situation in Kashmir as delineated in non-fiction prose; resources might include newspaper articles, pamphlets, blog postings, interviews, municipal and census records, and similar. Equivalently, I call for papers concentrated on creative works published by Kashmiri authors that might include novels, graphic arts, poetry, film, and alike. The objective of this panel centers on connecting the threads between demonstratable facts and their artistic representation, which as humanist scholars may better inform our understanding, reaction, and pedagogical practices on how we teach our students about the gaps and absences of the marginalized Kashmiri voice.

With the revoke of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir on 8 August 2019, most communication from inside their borders has become increasingly difficult to access thus leaving many speculations and concerns about the daily reality of those living inside the lockdown. Grassroots projects such as Video Volunteers provides a space where marginalized voices may “tell their stories and create change campaigns,” which as one of the organization’s volunteers states, "When no voice is too small or unimportant to be heard, only then, can we be a democracy in the true sense of the word." Therefore, this session leans toward opening a rhetorical space to discuss the writings coming from Kashmir; specifically focusing on the appeals for social justice and global underrepresentation. This panel first and foremost concentrates on listening to the words of Kashmiri writers so as to let them speak in their own terms. This panel, therefore, welcomes papers from researchers around the world and writers living within Kashmir who, perhaps unable to obtain a passport or travel visa, may submit their paper (or short creative piece) that will be read by a stand-in on their behalf––maintaining anonymity per request.

This panel focuses on the crisis in Kashmir as understood empirically and represented creatively. How might empirical data inform our reading of creative texts coming from Kashmir, and vice-versa? What innovative practices are Kashmiri writers employing in making the voices of the marginalized heard? What are the dangers of assigning an author the burden of representation, how might multiple narratives intertwine so as to offer a borderer representation of the Kashmiri crisis, and most of all, how might we best let Kashmiri writers speak for themselves?

Direct link to this panel:

Please submit abstracts online via the NeMLA portal: