This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Sheikh Hussain. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Of Desolation And Silence: Kashmir A Year After The Revocation Of Its Autonomy

More from Sheikh Hussain

India of today is an absolutist saffron monarchy in the disguise of democracy where propagandist forms of religion and nationalism, both significant to gullible and frail minds, direct the entire mechanisation of the political power. Once this is understood, the constitutional degradation, usurpation of the legal system, and fervent propaganda currently galore are easy to comprehend.

Almost everyone is united in consensus that India has changed. For a democratic individual, a dangerous shift towards political Hindu majoritarianism and for Hindutva brigade, a dream suppressed from centuries is coming to the foreground. Much of the reasonable arguments get written on Kashmir.

Unfortunately, for those conditioned in the environment of hate for decades, it hardly matters since tools of logic and universal ethical sense are unheard by those ruled by superstition and emotions. The Sangh Parivar, at its core, plays cards of national identity and religion and it works like a charm with the majority. The charged pomposity has led elite institutions and courts to dance to the pied piper at the Centre.

Along with a perennial hatred for Pakistan, imperious nationalist pride and the Ram Temple, forceful and unconditional unification of Kashmir with India forms the backbone of Hindutva ideology that keeps the current regime running. With this in the background, the codicil of Article 370, the essence of Jammu and Kashmir, aggressively hollowed by the BJP government is an ingredient to keep up the popular support with the majority Hindu population of India.

A year has passed since Kashmir and the Kashmiris woke up to this changed identity. The most conspicuous impact is the loss of the already fragile trust that Kashmiris had on the Centre. Source:

A year has passed since Kashmir and the Kashmiris woke up to this changed identity. The most conspicuous impact is the loss of the already fragile trust that Kashmiris had on the Centre. The removal of axial article 370 and 35A marked another major milestone in the rugged political history of betrayals following 1953 and 1987. 5th August, 2020, was a blow to the aspirations of Kashmiris who, for centuries, have nurtured their regional sense of nationalism.

The abrogation of special status was justified through armed conflict groups, and lack of progress and development. However, if one has to go with the available statistics, both reasonings can be contested. On the contrary, the former state has nosedived into uncertainty, economic crisis, and an unending spree of clampdowns. What COVID-19 unleashed on the world, the Valley has been suffering for decades, only in more brute and violent form.

Eighteen months have passed without a democratically elected legislature. The entire entourage of pro-Indian politicians, including three former chief ministers languished in jails like criminals for almost a year, and others continue being incarcerated. In a region where Kashmiri Muslims are in around 70% majority, a lone Kashmiri name seldom flashes in the administrative and bureaucratic positions of the government departments.

The Jammu Kashmir Commerce of Chambers estimates an economic loss of Rs. 17,800 crores during the first four months of the humiliating clampdown that India enforced on the Valley. The tourism industry withered away in the storm. More than 180 people stand killed, and thousands have been thrown into poverty and ubiquitous psychological humiliation.

Despite full blown violation of basic human rights, the Indian mainstream media represented and owned by Hindutva sympathisers continues to look the other way. The number of internet blockades on redundant 2G speeds following the longest over internet shut down in history is without precedent anywhere else in our times.

But some outlets have incisively painted the real image of the deserted and militarised streets. Major global platforms did their bit to showcase the plight of Kashmiris with round the clock coverage. Regardless of all their efforts, the world kept mum. In our world, commerce and capital take precedent over concern for human rights. World leaders stopped at lip service despite the sufferings of seven million people.

Months preceding the fateful day of 5th August, 2019, airlines landing at the Srinagar Airport announced the shutting off of windows in compliance with the surreptitious government order. This year, amidst a veil of coronavirus, hundreds of non-resident Kashmiris arrive daily. It is atypical to witness the influx of non-local passengers in such high numbers.

Collective conscience of Kashmiris needs to prevail over sinister plans.

Who knows what is playing behind the curtains? After all, the demographic configuration of Kashmir is an eyesore to the Sangh Parivar. It may be soon that Israel’s style of colonisation becomes the archetype for Kashmir. Chinese ‘fixed’ the demography in Tibet with the Chinese Han population in a similar fashion to uproot dissent for once and all. Despots can go any mile.

Political setup is painfully absent and every voice that used to raise concern is kept silent by the  fright of incarceration. Bonds are the ticket to freedom. The series of great demotions by the fascist regime has silenced any kind of revolt. Utter a word and get set for detention. Write a word and await your turn to be called up for interrogation. Dozens of journalists are already under the watchful gaze of this panopticon.

The constitutional and administrative downgrading has not stopped at the scrapping of regional autonomy. Order after the order has systematically weakened the integrity of the former state to the point that the latest diktat from the Central throne gives the army the right to occupy any piece of land without a No Objection Certificate from the Home Ministry, as mandated by a circular from 1971.

At other places, these orders have bequeathed the absolute rights of Kashmiris in hands of the administration to dismiss ‘Kashmiri’ IAS and IPS officers if found guilty of any level of ‘transgression’ on national security and integrity as conceived by the political supremos in New Delhi.

The Kashmiri movement for self-determination is challenged by this most recent, egregious unfolding. The orientation of local political parties has been rattled by the very Centre in which they invested trust for decades. Separatists are nowhere to be seen. Their countenance and speeches have been suppressed and silenced.

Other fronts are alerted by the ambivalent intentions of the Centre. The Centre is trying to harbour sympathetic political agents who belong to the Valley and it is inevitable that they will find some. But collective conscience needs to prevail over sinister plans. In case of the Kashmir issue, the BJP is no different than the Congress. The latter has more blood on its hand. The radical change to political structures demands a radical shift in the Kashmiri movement as well. What face it will stand with is to be seen and waited for.

About the author: Sheikh Muzamil Hussain is an architect-planner and alumnus of CEPT University, Ahmedabad. He belongs from Srinagar, Kashmir.

You must be to comment.

More from Sheikh Hussain

Similar Posts

By Umer Wani

By Ali Qalandar

By Aheed

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below