Tuesday 18th June 2024,
HHR News
Kashmir : Terrorist Violence and the War on Life

Today the world faces existential threat from two sides: global conflict and ecological collapse. We are heading into double extinctions, of culture and nature. These twin interlocking violations are centuries long processes with a common history of settler-colonialism, neo-colonialism and industrial capitalism[i]. Settler colonialism is, as Patrick Wolfe (2006) stated, a “logic of elimination”. It is a biocultural process[ii] (Carroll, 2015; Carroll et al., 2017) that impacts human beings bodily, mentally, spiritually; destroys cultures, communities and the environment both immediately, and intergenerationally. The ongoing militant separatist conflict in Kashmir is a microcosm of the global macrocosm, an active fight against Abrahamic supremacism with patterns of power and control that underpin colonisation at a universal scale. There are many factors of commonality between the struggle of Kashmir Pandits and the fight of other indigenous peoples, including Australian, and global society can learn from both peoples about colonisation, how to end it, and why that matters. Here I explore commonality and differences in the shared experience of settler colonisation between Australian and Kashmir Pandit indigenous peoples.

The overlapping areas are four forms of genocide: indigenicide, cultural genocide, ecocide and femicide each of which instrumentalised theories of Abrahamic supremacism to obtain territorial monopoly. For an example, in the Torres Strait (Nakata, 2007, p. 19), of four responses to an alleged ‘cannibalistic massacre’ of already near dead crew from the Charles Eaton, MacFarlane overlooks extermination, expatriation and subduing the inhabitants:

…as all efforts to civilise, by merely introducing the arts of life, have proved either very tedious or absolutely ineffectual, there remains only one other plan, and that is, to introduce the Gospel among them by means of missionaries, and by translating the Scriptures into their language.

The logic of elimination in European expansion bound religion, culture and colonisation into a chain of hierarchical being that is impossible to disentangle (Zwissler, 2018):

In arguing that all cultures are on a continuum of development, with European civilization representing its culmination, cultural evolution justifies European colonial intervention and Christian missionizing as charitable means through which to speed up other groups of people along the universal track to civilization. If European culture is the apex of human striving, then the more swiftly other peoples can be encouraged and disciplined into emulating it, the more quickly they will reach their potential.

Similarities between Abrahamic religions of Christianity and Islam are noted in their emphasis on conquest and assimilation. There are however dramatic differences between portrayal of Islam, Christianity and Hinduism, especially in media reports on India. Weber (in Hawkins, 2012, p. 172) argues that Islamic Imperialists were “Arab warriors who transformed the original salvation doctrine into a quest for land”. Hawkins (2012) critiques Weber’s view as Orientalist in that he conceives of Islam as “a series of absences” and she cites Turner that “globalisation makes it very difficult to carry on talking about oriental and occidental cultures as separate, autonomous or independent cultural regimes”.

At the same time, on India, Hawkins (2012, pp. 179-181) refers to Hindutva in patronising terms as a cultural movement which is ‘sanitised’ rather than ‘legitimately’ Hindu. This relies on a preconception that culture is static, an accusation often thrown at India too when scholars criticise the alleged authenticity of Hindu revivalism during the Independence Era. To contrast, Hawkins is Australian. To compare representation, here is an example of how contemporary Australian academics of indigenous studies think of post-colonial culture, quoting from Zohl Dé Ishtar’s (2005, pp. 158-159) seminal work on black women’s law:

While their sacred rites may have taken a more dormant role during the greatest suppressions by the Catholic Church of the 1950s and 1960s, at no stage have Wirrimanu’s Indigenous peoples forsaken their culture. They have changed, adjusted, moved and shifted with the social and political environments with which they have been, and still are confronted…

Australian tertiary textbook representations of India do not apply a similar threshold. Whilst pointing out the secular democratic status of India, regular criticism is made of the allegedly contradictory inclusion into politics of pride in “Indian-ness” and Hinduism as a feature of National Identity. This is without similar concern over the inseparability of religion and state in theocratic Pakistan, its impact on Kashmir, sympathy with terrorism and the issues of mass conflict post partition, for which Hindus and Muslims are equally held accountable by Hawkins without mention of colonial actors. For Hawkins (2012) Hindutva promotes or at minimum condones violence. We find this stereotype littered through ecocritical readings on Hinduism too, for example that the Bhagavad Gītā “justifies killing” for those engaged in battle, a concept that seems truly remarkable even as the context of the entre text is an epic battle (Nelson, in Chapple, 2000, p. 141). The stereotype of the non-violent satyagrahi appears to be the implied basis of assumptions about Hinduism and so when indigenous Hindus are seen to show resistance today, to the culturally incompatible elements of Islam, such as killing cows, or forced conversions, or razing temples to build Masjids; it stands in contrast to expectation. This is not to say that criticism should not be made, however simplistic motifs reiterated become propaganda[iii]. And in a context of active Islamic Imperialism in India, such stereotypes can cost lives.

Hawkins’ argument alleges that the BJP incites violence. However, she had already cited from official BJP sources to the contrary, that they have no problem with Muslims in India, only with Islamic invaders, which would mean in context, terrorist attacks, however none of this information is mentioned. Hawkins (2012) summarises:

…it is likely that Non-resident Indians have placed a significant financial role in the funding of violence. For example, one Hindu, tax-exempt, non-profit organisation set up in the USA – ostensibly to raise money for Indian organisations involved in community development, welfare and the urban poor – has been alleged to be providing funds for further violence.

What we do not see, aside from the typical issue of Babri Masjid and the decolonisation efforts of Hindus from Islamic invaders, any incidents directly attributed to BJP or any references of what money went from whom and where. Nor is there a communal context to explain tensions between Hindus and Muslims, especially in the context of terror attacks and forced conversions. This is unfortunately a common story in representations of Indian culture, which I argue, is coextensive with neo-colonial ambitions that fail to demarcate where free trade or speech ends and where sympathising with terrorism begins.

 

Spiritual Violence: The Whole That Contains All Parts

Violence as a dynamic of power and control, rather than an event, is an established basis for Australian legislation with judicial guidelines in The National Domestic and Family Violence [DFV] Benchbook[iv] (Australia, 2018) which recognises these modes of violence:

Physical violence and harm; sexual and reproductive; economic; emotional and psychological; Cultural and spiritual abuse; Following, harassing and monitoring; Social abuse; Exposing children to domestic and family violence; Damaging property; Animal abuse; Systems abuse; Forced marriage.

All of these forms of violence are also conducted in the course of settler-colonisation, although it would be more accurate to exchange animal abuse with ecocide, which interlinks them and is, since human beings belong to the land in indigenous cultures, also vicarious violence inflicted upon the people. Of primary significance to the role of Abrahamic supremacy is the exchange of ‘heathen’ or ‘fakir’ religion with that of the colonising class. In their responses to animistic and pagan cultures, “Opposition to magic—both through missionizing and through colonizing—was seen as an appropriate Christian duty” (Styers cited in Zwissler, 2018, p. 4). In contemporary Islamic Imperialism in Kashmir (Ahmed-Ghosh, 2015):

The Pakistani secret service, military, and intelligence agencies invoke the notion of jihad as a holy war and use this as a training ethos and have historically relied on it as a metaphor for the struggle for the liberation of Indian-held Kashmir and against the communist occupation of Afghanistan.

This is not simply the erasure of one religion for another, for each set of indigenous peoples in this reading, the land is intrinsically bound with identity, way of life, economy, imbued with spiritual power (Chapple, 2000; Davis, 1994; De Ishtar, 2005; Kaul, 2018; Nakata, 2007; Warin, Kowal, & Meloni, 2019). Dispossession prevents customary caretaking of country through which bonds are forged between land, people, ancestral beings, historical persons, events, stories, and deities. This is what, for Aboriginal peoples ensures the law of the land is maintained, that ecosystems and spiritual spaces equally are ordered and, given an ontopoetic relation with world, the cosmos, is positively responsive, even protective of human communities and their needs (Davis, 1994; Moody, 1993). Spiritual violence is utterly destructive to indigenous cultures because their religions are only minimally transportable being unequivocally inseparable from the land. As an example in the Rajātaraṅgiṇī (Kaul, 2018, p. 75) on Kashmir:

In the three worlds, the earth, the producer of jewels is worthy of praise, and on it, the North, the direction of the Lord of wealth; there again the mountain, the father of Pārvatī [Himalaya] is praiseworthy and within it, the country of Kashmir.

And again, after Buddhist religious colonisation:

The country having drifted into confusion about the customary observances (viluptācāra), the nāgas, whose sacrificial offering had been cut off, caused loss of human life by heavy falls of snow.

Senior Kuku Yalandji man, Jackie Friday (in Davis, 1994, p. 21) a cultural custodian from Bloomfield River, is charged with passing on the story of Captain Cook’s arrival in Australia and presents a contradictory narrative, also demonstrating how deferral from law impacts both people and country:

                Captain Cook listen to Aboriginal people.

                But now everything change…

                Now nobody ask.

                Other white people not like Captain Cook.

                We got to tell him white people,

                Tell him Aboriginal people from other place too…

                Not to touch turtle, fish, fresh water.

                Don’t break our laws…

                If you break our laws…

                Our people die.

                But nobody listen now.

Here we see indeed that nobody does listen. Aboriginal people are dying from their laws being broken, whether by correlation or cause, and directly due to the imposition of Parliamentary law or more to the point, the failure to accommodate indigenous cultural requirements [not listening] or to apply Federal laws equally for non-/indigenous peoples. ‘Tell him Aboriginal people from other place too’, explains how Aboriginal cultures are plural, in the same way as Indian cultures are plural and cannot be centralised under a single text or oral tradition since traditions are regional and local. Encroachment from within and without is problematic in colonised spaces.

Although there are commonalities of understanding across Hinduism, just as with Aboriginal Lore/Law, they are expressed differently, partly due to this relationship with place. Islam and Christianity too are plural yet have universal issues, one of which is their common approach to convert or colonise indigenous peoples throughout history (Hawkins, 2012; Jacobs, 2009; Jalata, 2013; Masango, 2019; Moody, 1993; Plumwood, 1993; Wolfe, 2006; Zwissler, 2018). Generalisation is necessary to speak of universal issues and difference when specifics are needed. One size fits all approach to the global colonisation of indigenous peoples is to stop it on every level, and specifically, to listen to each community individually since they each have their own experiences and necessities.

 

In Australia, severance from land is linked to industrialisation, a neocolonising force of incremental unfoldment, present in the seed of frontier and expanded in todays continued extractive industrial approach to land management:

Through its ceaseless expansion, agriculture…progressively eats into Indigenous territory, a primitive accumulation that turns native flora and fauna into a dwindling resource and curtails the reproduction of Indigenous modes of production. In the event, Indigenous peoples are either rendered dependent on the introduced economy or reduced to the stock-raids that provide the classic pretext for colonial death squads. (Wolfe, 2006, p. 395)

Vandana Shiva’s work exemplifies pragmatic solutions to issues of neocolonialism facing by her efforts to protect Traditional Knowledge, indigenous seeds, opposition to GM crops and legal challenge to patent applications of Monsanto. Her critique of the “catch up development model” highlights the necessity to avoid intractable debt raised for ecologically dubious developments such as those funded by the International Monetary Fund (O’Brien & Williams, 2010). Combined, neocolonialism is a deadly mix of abuse of the land, severance from ancestral homes, denial of access to spiritual and cultural practices, denial of economic benefit or capability from the land, an attack on traditional knowledge and knowing with culturally genocidal outcomes (Shiva & Mies, 1993 [1988]).

Here it is vital not to conflate indigenous conceptions of homeland or country for the notion of ‘wilderness’ found in western models of environmental ideology. This is a remnant from Abrahamic culture. Utilising scriptural authority to justify territorial monopolisation, European conquest ensured that the Old Ways were buried, or co-opted into Christianised customs by selective cultural appropriation. The connection between the wild and uncivilised to nature, indigenous peoples and their polytheistic deities is spelled out by Snyman (2019, p. 3) in relation to the exile of Cain in the Bible:

Thus, wilderness appears in the heart of a human being, manifesting as insanity, sin or evil, in short, reflecting a falling away from God. The archetypes of wildness are rebels against God, for example Cain, Ham and Ishmael. In Hebrew thought, they are men who have fallen even below the condition of animality itself and can be killed with impunity. Thus, when a human being lost God’s blessing and fell into a condition of accursedness, his or her spiritual condition manifested in terms of wildness (cf. Snyman 2008 :395–426). The community’s relationship with the accursed was clear: they are to be exiled, isolated and avoided (White 1987 :162).

Langton (2012) reminds us that the concept of “wilderness” in environmental activism relies on the outdated view of Australia being Terra Nullius and ‘native’ people being incapable of managing it without the intervention of well-meaning colonists on their behalf. Additionally, it should not be thought that insensitive development in the neocolonial model is the only form of industry and that Aborigines would not want to employ industrial models of their own on country. To do so is to re-shape contemporary regional and urban cultures into a single category, then infantilise as too ‘primitive’ to plan futures past Rousseau’s ‘noble savage’ framework.

Aboriginal cultures have millennia of knowledge about country, what to do, or not to do, how to caretake and not to pollute which can be applied to participation in the global economy via smart, future minded industry. This concept, according to Langton (2012) is apparently impossible for those bound in Romantic indigenous stereotypes to imagine. According to this view, and eco-critics who reinforce it, respecting country or re-indigenisation automatically means stepping backward into an anti-technological golden age. This prevents the embrace of re-indigenisation as movement toward living integrally with one another, nature and the cosmos in ways that respect one another as kin, and with all life. A similar argument could be made of Europe’s present pagan revival being a digressive pathway, when those inside the movement feel it as inherently natural and part of their own DNA. This should not be conflated with ethnonationalist ‘terrorism’, nor can the claims over ‘indigenous terrorism’ be taken seriously when imposed on First Nations peoples defending their lands from encroachment. Activists like vegan terrorists are a popular new trope in Australian media aggregating the release of chickens with, and thereby diminishing the difference between, animal liberation and the systemic, sustained and brutal genocide of First Nations peoples under Imperialism.

Far from digressive, the shift toward re-indigenisation as a worldview as much as integrative lifestyle, conforms to systems theory approaches from quantum physics to ecology and the application of network theory in politics, environment, economics and governance. Now more than ever we live in a globally and locally interconnected world where one small change in one system can have exponential impacts in another. Understanding ourselves as a human family, part of nature, in this respect is viable and necessary, which we can learn from indigenous peoples by reframing perceived dichotomies (Capra, 1982; Chapple, 2000; Moody, 1993; Timalsina, 2014; Warin et al., 2019).

There are a number of alternative knowledge systems [to neoliberal values] circulating in the global political economy. One set of understandings centres around indigenous knowledge…Rather than being masters of information or abstract models these systems draw upon experience with nature and the wisdom embodied by elders or passed down through generations. (O’Brien & Williams, 2010, p. 397)

Stereotypes that indigenisation means devolution, harm contemporary first peoples, particularly in education by generating ambiguity between a false notion of static cultural puritanism and the reality of contemporary cultures as hybrid, adaptive to change, resilient to adversity, without loss of authenticity. Nakata (2007, p. 223) summarises:               

We do not serve them [students] well if we conflate our understanding of the ‘here and now’ with an imagined distant past that can be brought forward to reconfigure a future embedded in our traditions and bounded off and separated from the global.

For an example of a progressive reclamation of Homeland, Rakesh Kaul of the Global Kashmir Pandit Diaspora (2019) gives the vision for Kashmir Pandit futures:

In addition to a zero-tolerance policy against terrorists, there has to be a punitive policy against those who are threats to the miniscule Kashmir Pandit minority in the Valley. This must be the foundation over which other measures can be overlaid. Kashmiri Pandits can be the poster children of the state empowering displaced people through skill training so that they can take their rightful place in society…

The end game of the Kashmir Pandits is to live in a secure, smart, sustainable area within their homeland in the Valley. A glide path can be formulated with milestones…When this is initiated, then and only then can the Government of India take comfort that it has discharged its responsibility to its citizens in the state.   

To this end, GKPD have prepared a submission for the United Nations outlining records kept of over 1,397 murders, exile of 450,000 Kashmir Pandits, leaving behind all that could not be carted or carried, desecration of 347 temples and 217 dharmshalas, land theft and encroachment (GKPD, 2019; R. K. Kaul, 2019). None of this signals a return to wilderness, but to restorative justice, inclusive of ways of life formerly lived with adaptation to the globally recognised need of the times.

Masters, Handmaidens and Victims: Identity and Abrahamic Colonisation

Severance from land where the identity of a people and from which all aspects of life are forged from the natural environment is not only economic, but cultural and spiritual violence. It bears commonality as the societal application of the same forms of abuse present in family violence (Australia, 2018):

  1. Belittling the victim’s spiritual or cultural worth, beliefs or practices;
  2. violating or preventing the victim’s spiritual or cultural practices;
  3. denying the victim access to their spiritual or cultural community;
  4. causing the victim to transgress spiritual or cultural obligations or prohibitions;
  5. forcing on the victim spiritual or cultural beliefs and practices that are in conflict with their own;
  6. manipulating spiritual readings and practices to justify abuse.

Both Kashmir and Australian examples of Abrahamic colonialism centred the authority of religious institutions to inflict violence on the target populations of indigenous cultural custodians by normalising in the general society a view that the ‘othered’ was inferior and required reform or effacement, to be executed by religion/State. This ensured polarisation within the community, converting them into actors found in DFV: perpetrators, enablers and victims.

Enablers are convinced, as we know from cases of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, of the authority of the perpetrator as ‘pillar of society’ or ‘good person’ who establishes the normative conventions to be followed, whether they are complicit via acts of omission such as denial and silence, or active engagement in commission of crimes; or construction of propaganda around them. This process of structurally reinforced oppression intersects physical violence with psychological, systems and social abuses via expansion across multiple actors. Institutionalised violence – whether it is the institution of family, corporations, religious organisation, the workplace, the State – repeats the motif of the many reinforcing the primary perpetrators’ actions rather than speaking up for the victimised. This is part of ‘fitting in’ that is conditioned into cognitive processing from childhood. Individuals form core beliefs from their surroundings, which induce them to act in certain ways as much as they might employ individual agency (MacGill & Research, 2018):

Because we are interconnected, there are constant flows (Csikszentmihalyi 2004) across the boundaries linking ‘separate’ people; flows of food, conversation and dialogue, emotion and affection are necessary to maintain wellbeing [and also impact negatively through shared flows of violent modes of being]. Ideas are exchanged that may become integrated into the other person’s core beliefs.

Religiously justified ‘evangelical’ terrorism shares with DFV, patterns of power and control similar in dynamic, but exponentially more violent, and exercised by numerous perpetrators. It is inflicted upon a group, targeted because of shared identity, through individual and group acts of violence. DFV is “characterised by a pattern of abusive behaviour involving a perpetrator’s exercise of control over the victim, often for an extended period” (Australia, 2018). In settler-colonisation, the duration and persistence is vital to securing permanent dominion. Structural oppression means that colonial legacies are born out through sustained legislative, administrative and executive oppressions.

Detailed reports on the terrorism inflicted on Australian First nations people began in earnest around the Bicentennial of 1988. Heinous crimes and their absence from a contorted narrative, are since being exposed through truth telling including First Nations activism, indigenous studies, auto/ethnographies, art, literature, public address, institutional and lobby pressure, and other works. This has not yet led to structural reform sufficient to end the loss of life and heritage. In Australia the United Nations have declared this a cause of ‘slow genocide’.

In Kashmir we read a similar experience of betrayal from Dr. K.L. Chowdhury (GKPD, 2019):

…the only reason for the governments to decline setting up of an impartial commission of inquiry is that many ugly truths will be uncovered and many actors in the perfidy will be exposed to their utter dismay.  

From Rakesh Kaul (GKPD, 2019) we hear:

On 12 August 2016, Prime Minister Modi stated at an all-party meeting on Jammu and Kashmir, “It is also a fact that Kashmir Pandits have been displaced from their centuries long ancestral dwellings in Kashmir Valley. Such an atrocity against a particular community is the misdeed of terrorists trained and armed with weapons by Pakistan, and their sympathisers…”

By 14 April 2019… “The [Congress] Party and its allies witnessed the atrocities committed against Pandits but they paid no heed…”

Till now, Kashmir-centric policies have been about managing people towards predetermined outcomes through proxies who have commandeered public resources for great personal gains…

Kashmir Pandits have had their share of saints and their sinners, their collaborators and complicit compromisers…

Similarly, in Australia, government funds have been distributed ineffectively, stolen by corporations acting on behalf of First Peoples. Official admission of the crimes committed, including genocide, and reparations, are far from forthcoming. In 2018 when the Uluru Statement of the Heart was submitted to the Government, it was rejected. The Prime Minister refused to consider an indigenous voice to Parliament arguing that he did not want to favour one group over another. This, however, was due to his confusion that this land and sovereignty was ever ceded to begin with. The offer was, without a treaty, effectively to make an alliance with Federal Parliament under the Australian Constitution, which would bind sovereign peoples into the legislative bonds of the colonisers. It was a compromise that gave more than it would take. Unfortunately, the government didn’t see it that way.

The title of this essay refers to Patrick Wolfe’s powerful statement: “Settler colonizers come to stay- invasion is a structure, not an event” (2006, p. 388). Systems abuse is a DFV term that means using the system to reinforce oppression. Structural oppression correlates closely. Systems abuse upholds the power and control dynamic between perpetrators and victims by preventing access to justice, replacing Traditional Knowledge and language with the education of the coloniser; replacing the village economy with one that centres the Master; replacing food production, religious practice, access to services and resources etc; by making indigenous peoples subordinate to and dependent upon their colonial Masters.

In practice, this is not to say the model is watertight. As post-colonial literature and language teaches us, subordinated peoples decolonise, take their lands back, and can subvert authority over time, like water on stone. For example, by refusing to use the language, or producing from the language of the colonisers, satire, new terms, meanings and adjustments that reclaim power over voice, and dismantle conventions to alter the vernacular. Gabriel Okara (in Ashcroft et al., 2008 [1989], p. 41) puts it succinctly “your teaching words do not enter my inside”.

In violence studies there are normally victims and survivors. Rakesh Kaul proposes a third category: “The idea of India should be an inspiring India where every Indian stands tall. As a winner and not a victim” (GKPD, 2019). A winner is one, like both sets of indigenous peoples who has suffered but not been conquered. Self-determination demands a positionality of confidence that what occurred in the past had nothing to do with the inherent value of the victims but is a projection of the mentality of the perpetrator. The relation set down by the perpetrator of victim, in this sense, cannot be allowed to subsume the future too. Survivors have conquered oppression. Winners have attained mastery over it. These are the qualities evident in the literatures of Kashmir Pandits and in the voices heard of First Nations Australians. From a DFV survivor perspective, this may not mean that the structures of oppression are conquered in practice but they are fully understood in principle and actively challenged as the inferior model, not the superior one. Change is, however sadly, most often left to former victims to enshrine in law, such as occurred with abolition and suffragettes, and in the Catholic Church. In this sense, under the current system, necessity falls on the shoulders of the violated to act, since perpetrators are unlikely to forfeit unearned privilege or incriminate themselves voluntarily.

This stage, of winner, is vital since it reverses the power dynamic. It is when one’s personal identity ceases to be confined. It is obtained by personal decolonisation: casting off one’s self-definition of toxic relation with the superiority/inferiority projection of the perpetrator. What others do, when they are violent, is not a reflection of the value of their victims. The clarity of having attended to process, sorting truth from fiction, directing action concisely to maximum effect and refusing to be subverted – to “grow stronger with time” and “to spread wings around the globe” (R. K. Kaul, 2019) speaks of resilience, a positive reclamation of selfhood. It is the small reward of managing in difficult circumstances with one’s dignity intact and with one’s mind centred on justice as many indigenous leaders around the world have demonstrated. To get to this point requires sound insight into the dynamics of violence and its impacts, which the GKPD prove. What colonising classes do not understand is looking from the outside renders their xenophobic flaws visible and therefore the patterns of oppression are made clear. It is from the sub-altern voice, the battered wife, the beaten child, the survivor of sex trafficking, that the profile of the perpetrator is given shape in violence studies, rather than from their own self-image.

Women’s studies, especially when empirically evidenced in social science and criminology, explain the system of andro-centric oppression metered out in settler colonialism by what Val Plumwood (1993) calls the Master Model. The Master Model relies on static parallels between the ‘masculine values’ (Euro-, Andro- and Anthropo- and Abhrahamo-Centrism) which stand at the epicentre of control; and the emasculated, ‘weak’, effeminised ‘othered’ pushed to the periphery/margins. The periphery includes nature, women, indigenous peoples and Traditional Knowledge. This is built on the following basic premises explained in Ecofeminism but detailed at length in Plumwood (1993).

To legitimise the development of these arts of destruction, women, nature and the colonies had to be robbed of their ‘human quality’, their soul. They became spiritless, raw material…Thus white people are considered more valuable than brown and yellow and black people; men are considered more valuable than women…Everything considered as less valuable was defined as ‘nature’; everything that was valued higher was defined as human. And the human being par excellence is the white man; he has the right to rule over all ‘nature’ and to promote his own creation ‘culture’ (Shiva & Mies, 1993 [1988], p. p.178).

Although the above quote refers to the colonising processes of European Imperialism, the same values are seen in Islamic supremacy, where male authority is the epicentre and culture is defined by him as a singular, and which must conform with the absolute scriptural authority, also male. In this way, jihad as an activity of terrorists relies on similar ideological basis and modes of power and control as we see in European Imperialism. These two are historical counterparts which have interacted and shaped one another over millennia, which adds some context to their similarities.

The extent to which colonised subjects assimilate to the centre, and their men, women, ways of life and knowledge become subordinate to their new Master, is the extent to which their lives and identities are valued by the overlaid culture and its ruling class. Settler colonialism “controls to replace” (Wolfe, 2006, p.388). Under the Master Model, the more violently oppressed, tortured, or coerced into compliance, or at times, willing to trade one’s position at the margin with the position of the centre, the more power and control peripheries can access under the Master Model (with caveats) over their own lives and within their communities.

It isn’t this simple as a game plan though, since indigenous peoples are far from the weak, effeminate entities establishment stereotypes claimed. Australian Aboriginals are frequently Christian and that is complex, not the dynamic referred to here. This discussion is on forced, coercive and non-consensual imposition of religion which is still occurring all over the world in various ways and which leads to cultural genocide. Post-colonial readings of appropriation and abrogation as power dynamics in decolonisation find (Ashcroft et al., 2008 [1989], p. 103):

The ‘marginal’ and the ‘variant’ characterise post-colonial views of language and society as a consequence of the process of abrogation. The syncretic is validated by the disappearance of the ‘centre’ and with no ‘centre’ the marginal becomes the formative constituent of reality.

Contrast this with the aims of the colonists:

…Settler colonialism has both negative and positive dimensions. Negatively, it strives for the dissolution of the native societies. Positively it erects a new colonial society on the expropriated land base (Wolfe, 2006, p.388).

This is a kind of chosen people syndrome. Actors are led to believe that they have a burden, which we call ‘white man’s burden’, to ‘civilise the savages’ (Nakata, 2007).

One of the more important findings of post-colonial literary theory is that whatever came before colonisation in terms of culture, will not be restored in a ‘pure’ form, but this distinction relies first on a category of cultural purity that does not belong to traditions themselves. It is imposed from without. A colonising force may have not destroyed a culture but forced it underground or shaped its expressions into abstract or symbolic rather than liturgical activities. Secret societies for example are no less authentic and for some Kashmiri Pandit and Aboriginal traditions secrecy was for certain aspects mandated. In this way, it cannot be assumed that a community externally colonised would refrain altogether from private practice, even under immense risk to their lives. Externally too, shifts occur, for example in the role of women in Hindu scriptural production, in temple, scholarly and yogic cultures [v]. These examples defy the concept that being colonised automatically equates to total loss of tradition since there are kinds of losses. Continuity of culture is a way of life rather than an ingredient list.

The Master Model of values dualism (Plumwood, 1993) builds upon an identification matrix superimposed on First Nations people called relational definition. This requires a sharp distinction, which Plumwood (1993, p. 70) calls radical exclusion:

Accounts of the mind/body and reason/nature relation associated with the Platonic, Aristotelian, Christian rationalist and Cartesian rationalist traditions exhibit radical exclusion as well as other dualistic features.

The supreme identity is the Master, and those qualities the Master denies in himself are clearly projected onto the ‘othered’ who belong, due to their proximity to nature and therefore distance from culture, in the lower realms, with animals. For example: primitive, barbaric, sinful, impure, ignorant are all qualities imposed on indigenous peoples who are non-conforming. Due to this refusal they were tortured, massacred, their women kept as sex slaves or reproduction controlled with children stolen and educated into the ways of the colonisers. In Pakistan, and with their radicalised counterparts in Kashmir, the requirement is conversion to Islam. To this end, women and girls are routinely stolen from Hindu families to be converted and forcibly married.               

The distinctiveness of the colonising centre is therefore only able to think itself superior because it has subdued its perceived inferior othered.

In its positive aspect, therefore, settler colonialism does not simply replace native society tout court. Rather, the process of replacement maintains the refractory imprint of the native counter-claim (Wolfe, 2006, p.389).

Kashmir is now known as a site of conflict. It is represented in the media as “disputed territory” which draws into its regional identity multiple sets of actors. Attempts to reduce the identity of Kashmir to a Theocratic State have failed. In the same way, the British and Christian colonists failed to make the Australian Nation a White Australia to be under the omnipotent gaze of the Monarchy. Even though the Queen remains both Head of State and the Head of the Church of England, her authority is no longer imposed.

In Australia, First Peoples were instrumentalised to shape National identity via relational definition. Initially it was by incorporation of the distinctiveness of the new Nation from the Motherland by fetishisation of indigenous culture in “ostentatious borrowing of Aboriginal motifs” (Wolfe, 2006, p. 389). At the same time, First Peoples were rejected as entirely different from English settlers. An example of relational definition via shared icons of identification in Kashmir, is the dispute over religious origins of poetess, Lal Ded, who is regarded as Kashmir Shaivite by Hindus and as a Sufi mystic by Muslims. She is borrowed as an icon of Motherland, a bridge between worlds, and yet, those Sufi worlds have participated by enablement in desecrating the genuine religious matrix of Lal Ded’s teachings in Kashmir Shaivism, participating in the ethnic cleansing of Hindus from the valley. Now Lal Ded is a mother in a land without her children.

Representation as Iteration

From an outside view, terrorism and genocide appear alien and abhorrent. Media representations of terrorists as “Monsters” carve out special worlds where the subhuman, savage, brutish impulse toward violent crime happens in the mentally impaired, the sick or damaged, far removed from ordinary minds. Unfortunately, in the same way as child sexual abusers or domestic violence perpetrators are perceived as different to us, the reality is that all of these forms of violence are insidiously present within families, institutions and the general community.

Islamic Imperialism since the medieval era ran throughout the crusades and inquisitions which were part response to that, part excuse to genocide those who did not comply with a singular Papal authority (Read, 2001).The same structure of settler colonisation was imposed during European Imperialism on indigenous peoples who were called heathens, pagans and idolaters. Each ‘Master’ conceived of themselves and their aims as good, for washing away from the face of the Earth the sinful and replacing them with those of one true faith. To this end, the general populous have to be mobilised either through cash, or propaganda, to believe they act in the interests of Nation State, or God; or they are intimidated and coerced, for example by selective assassinations or torturing, to become informants and enablers. This pattern is the same since the witch trials. Today, mobilising the masses through social media and relentlessly repetitive tropes secures the comfortable space in which geopolitical actors can maintain the conflict, the sale of arms and trade/aid deals and avoidance of accountability that inevitably flows on from failing to address matters directly.

The pattern continues as Islamic fundamentalists tighten their demands from merely Islamic conversion to increasingly rigid models, which erase even the traces of residue imprinted into Muslim folk beliefs by their cultural exchanges with Hindus, such as the traditional custodians of Kashmir. Events since 1990 have left no space inside the dominant culture where Hinduism can co-exist. On one side is Pakistani erasure, in the middle are the militant separatist Azaadis fighting for independent status apart from India, and on the other side is the Indian Army facing stone pelters, suicide bombings and continual rain of bullets even during ceasefire. Where the Kashmir State administration stands is ambivalent, at times appearing to enable and promote terrorists and others to co-operate with Indian government, to whom they are supposed to be ultimately subordinate.

International media representations have reinforced the relational definition of the Colonial Master by ambivalently presenting Pakistan, Kashmir and Azaad as amorphous, alternately dominating and subjugated. Overall the colonising Master is ascendant since representations of Kashmir as a “disputed territory” denote fragmentation rather than the fact of ancestral Hindu land subjected to sustained colonisation by Abrahamic supremacists since the 14th Century. The contrasting representations of PM Modi, Hindutva and India are homogenised behind puzzling tropes like Saffron Terror.

In today’s world, maintenance of settler and complex neo-colonisation is reinforced not only through systems abuse, but through the balkanising efforts of fourth and fifth estates. Global media moguls have since reduced narratives into virtual monologues of contempt for India, Prime Minister Modi, and all who represent the values of the 84% of Indians who are Hindu. This is perhaps most visible in the Orientalist portrayals of India as a rape capital which it isn’t, being positioned at no 94 in countries on rapes per capita, well behind the west, with Australia at number 11. This is a stereotypical trope of exoticisation, where on one hand the teachings of Tantra in the west are elevated as sexually empowering, even as they are reduced to barely concealed pornography, whilst on the other hand, the East is a culture of sexual depravity. This arises too in academic literature which conflates Tantra with a cult of ecstasy rather than an intensely sophisticated philosophical system that includes everything from aesthetics, to body-mind relation, to cosmological and quantum conceptualisation of matter, consciousness and spirit.

In contrast, representations of the west who are presently some of the worst offenders per capita of sex crime and violence against women, there are no reports of the culture being pervaded by ancient texts that mandate rape despite 52% of Australians identifying as Christian, and the Catholic Church being empirically evidenced as chronic enablers and perpetrators of offenses against children. Countering this are responses from Hindus, academics and journalists inside and outside the country who attempt to correct fake news, re-contextualise the cultural representation issues inside a post-colonial context, and return the critique of power and control back to the oppressing operatives who work for, or spread the agendas of multinational moguls with an economic interest in maintaining the subjugation of India. This is an information war compounded by schisms within India that are magnified and reinforced in turn by the same sources.

As part of neo-colonial erasure of indigenous Hindu peoples of India, there is a noticeable attempt to diminish and then reconstruct the constitutional authority of the State over arguments on Hindutva versus secular democracy. These are founded on the misunderstanding that secular democracy is a western construct, and for it to be successful in India, it has to erase a pluralistic religion like Hinduism. Secular Democracy arose prior to western models, from Hinduism in the Rg Veda, not from Christianity. Greece was actually a syncretism of East and West (Tathagatananda, 2005, p. 97) with trade and cultural exchange dating back prior to 327 BC with India:

Greek civilisation was actually a turbulent admixture of Asian, Egyptian, Cretan, Mycenean, Archaean and Doric cultures, coming from the Mediterranean, Alpine, Nordic and Asian countries over the centuries…The Greeks inherited scientific and spiritual knowledge, knowledge of architecture and the arts, knowledge of building cities, and expertise in many forms of enterprise from each civilisation they contacted.

This point has been argued extensively for decades, and was made in Ecofeminism (Shiva & Mies, 1993 [1988], p. 177) :

…it was not, as is often claimed, European ‘brain power’ that was more advanced than Asian. There must, therefore, have been something else which, at the beginning of the development of modern European science, gave it an advantage over other civilisations. This something was the use of human (male) brain power for the arts of destruction and warfare.

The diversity of Hindu views, the multitude of secular and non-secular texts and their overlap in hybrid literatures is routinely erased in the media by over-simplification and a distinct focus on the most outdated, cherry picked tracts from texts like the Manu Smriti, which are already reformed under the Indian Constitution. Further decontextualising these rules without comparing them to similar rules or laws in European cultures at the same time Manu Smriti was written, then assuming they are practiced unchanged since the Manu Smriti was written, infantilises and essentialises India once more by relational definition: ancient Indian laws, apples, versus contemporary Western laws, oranges.

The stereotypical pattern is evident in academic texts, even here in Australia and passed onto communications and culture students through politically biased accounts. For example, in the chapter, Religion, Secularisation, and Fundamentalisms (Hawkins, 2012) as discussed earlier. Professor Sthaneswar Timalsina calls this “knowing the other by representing the other” (2014) and says the institutionalisation of cultural studies have:

…functioned primarily as an instrument for the subject to interpolate his own preconceptions and misconceptions. As a consequence, a disturbing trend of mis-reading so-called ‘marginalised cultures’ has cultivated a binary of the culture and its reporter, thereby subverting human experience in the course of its self-objectification

Protections in the Indian constitution for minorities and scheduled tribes fall into the category of secularism, not the cultural domain of scriptures. Land encroachment is one aspect of this, and which impacts on Kashmir Pandits. Another aspect is that Kashmir Pandits are not accorded their status by legal definition. They are internally displaced peoples from a culture that is a minority in their own State, but a majority in the Nation. Instead they are called migrants. Rights are then denied on the basis of not being recognised as refugees in their own country. They are indigenous peoples prevented from reclaiming ancestral land. Due to a reluctance by the High Court to have the case properly adjudicated, the genocide is not recognised, and the massacres, rape, murder and crimes against humanity silenced. The United Nations have instead focussed on the crimes alleged of the Indian Forces, turning a blind eye to the more serious offences inflicted on Hindus of Kashmir and unrelenting religious persecution in Pakistan. Failure to report these points in the media has slowed the path to reparation and justice.

Jihad is a feminist issue

When Vandana Shiva said “This is a war on life”, it should be remembered that she also said that it is a problem of “masculinist mentality” that devastates the entire earth community through “corporate warriors” and “military warriors” who threaten to annihilate us all (Shiva & Mies, 1993 [1988]). In 1990 when the Kashmir Pandits were ethnically cleansed from the valley the demands of radical separatists were blasted from the mosques and in the newspapers: “Kashmir Pandits: convert, leave or die, and leave your women folk behind” (Raina, 2019). The threat is instructive: cultural genocide; ethnic cleansing; genocide and femicide were the only options. They had no choice and both men and women were subjected to each category, but only the women were considered property, not the men.

The tools of the Master in the case of Kashmir Pandit genocide were terrorism, militant violence, vigilantism, selective murder, massacre, sexual violence, torture, psychological violence, propaganda, deprivation of medical treatment, desecration of property and sacred sites, forced religious conversion. Ongoing issues for Hindus in Pakistan also include deprivation of liberty, religious persecution, kidnapping girls into effective sex slavery, forced conversions and civil liberties violations such as corporal punishment for journalists. Issues for women and children in Kashmir under Azaad include the use of children as militant combatants, the indoctrination of children into jihad, the oppression of women under Islamic fundamentalism, and the employment of women as co-operatives in terrorism.

In 1993, in Ecofeminism, Mies and Shiva (1993, p. 15) wrote:

Never have we seen so clearly the connection between nuclear escalation and the culture of the muscle men; between the violence of war and the violence of rape. Such is the historical memory that women have of war…But it is also our experience in “peace time” […] It is no coincidence that the gruesome game of war…passes through the same stages as the traditional sexual relationship: aggression, conquest, possession, control. Of a woman or land, it makes little difference.

Applying this observation to issues facing Kashmir Pandits today, there are three overarching problems:

          The continuities of women’s sexual oppression in peacetime and war.

The dynamic of power and control within interpersonal relationships being mirrored in the geopolitical.

The continuity between conquest of women and conquest of land.

Given the brief nature of this essay, it is important to clarify that such a study requires a project of its own. The aim here is to provide a clear framework that identifies actors and their roles in violence which can be applied by scholars investigating and reporting on terrorism to avoid making the mistake of scapegoating victims by failing to identify primary and secondary perpetrators in asymmetrical mutual violence incidents.

Physical violence includes corporal punishment, acid or ‘kitchen’ attacks, hitting, slapping, the use or threat of weapons, inflicting pain onto the body or a proxy victim to induce vicarious pain and fear. Psychological abuse is coercion, verbal abuse, diminishment, minimisation, denial and blame for actions of the perpetrator, gaslighting to induce doubt in the mind of the victim, stalking, threats, using the children to relay messages of threat, leaving unwanted gifts, unsolicited ‘help’, and lying. Sexual abuse includes acts of sex slavery, trafficking, rape, threats, molestation, forced marriage, child marriage, child abuse, genital mutilation, the notion of honour and its protection, possessiveness over a woman’s body including what they wear, taunts and sexual harassment, vilification over assumed sexual transgressions. Economic abuse is controlling the money, preventing women from accessing it or owning property, denying women inheritance, dowry crimes, preventing women leaving the house or engaging in social activities by keeping her penniless. Systems abuse is using laws to restrain women, to falsely vilify them, paying bribes to authorities to avoid prosecution, preventing access to services including medical, complicating family court processes to delay or use of proxy perpetrators to control or revictimize women. Social abuse is controlling the role of women in their community, preventing them from full and free engagement in society, controlling other’s perceptions of the victim, gossip and slander, alienating the victim from contact with friends, family and support networks. Other aspects include preventing women’s access to education and employment, locking them into repeated pregnancies to keep them from fulfilling their own potentials and denying them positions of authority within business, institutional or political settings.

What we know about societal responses to violence, however, is that there are institutional patterns and different types of offender and victim. Whilst terrorist violence is inflicted on a group, in the case of Kashmir Pandits it was also in cases of one to one, interpersonal violence, where victims were singled out to act as proxy targets for the entire community. This is reflected in the poem of Ashima Kaul (2019) which I reproduce here in full:

                Reshvaer – English Translation

                They ushered them in with both hands

                Snakes were indulged with freedom

                In the garden of the sages

                Mirthful, thriving homes were ravaged, emptied

                To be gnawed by the jaws of time

                They lavished shrereen on the streets

                With every blow of the knife

                The bloodstains endured

                And yet they feasted within those tainted walls

                Who could say what transpired

                They planted nettle in the soil

                That once held the fragrance of saffron

                These caustic leaves can’t soothe your wounded soul

                Seeking relief in the sting of the nettle

                Is futile

           

To induce fear in a group, it is only necessary to torture, maim or murder one. Sexual violence is one way this is obtained. It is the same principle as the perpetrator of DFV who tortures a kitten to torture the partner. It is the same as cutting the tongue of an alleged witch, hanging one man in the proximity of a village. The aim is to instate a nervous system response of terror in the masses to obtain power and control over the entire population and to claim territory. Whether this claim is over the bodies and minds of women and men, as Shiva (1993) has pointed out, or to steal land; it is still, as Wolfe (2006) says, ultimately about territory.

In western countries women’s rights movements have ultimately forced the Church to comply with secular legislative protections for women and reform is therefore made good incrementally by actions if not entirely the word of the Bible. Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815 to 1902) wrote The Women’s Bible with a “scathing attack on the role of Judeo-Christian religion in the oppression of women” to “bring about a fundamental shift in beliefs and institutions”(O’Brien & Williams, 2010). It is easy, two centuries after her birth to forget that the first women in the world to vote were New Zealanders in 1893, followed by Australia in 1902 (Curtin, 2019). Other countries slowly followed, up to a century behind in the case of Islamic States.

It took women since the renaissance to obtain that privilege now enjoyed all over the world. The point being that a) women are frequently pioneers in leading change on the intergenerational transmission of oppression and violence, and b) when one group works for emancipation, it benefits everyone as what was overcome becomes rapidly widely unacceptable. It is the same now with terrorism. It is widely condemned by all, including the majority voices of the religious institutions from which it has been traditionally authorised as jihad. What differs between religious institutions is degree, kind and duration and it is because of those differences that simply marking one form of terrorism off against another, whilst fabricating others, to avoid political discomfort, cannot work. We are forced to face the details or risk blanketing out reality for a scene where all evils are equal, all genocides are just genocide. One of these details is the diverse roles that women play as perpetrators, enablers and victims in the structures of violence under jihad. As mothers, there is an important place for women by deciding to break the cycle of violence, and for women to support other women who are willing to prevent the transmission of enculturated ideology leading to acts of violence in communities. This can be by abstaining from raising children to become indoctrinated into martyrdom and can bring rapid social justice.

Whilst secular democratic States, including India, are built around the notion of freedom, particularly since the integration of liberal philosophies such as those of John Stuart Mill (1957 [1910]) there seems presently little hope for Theocratic states to protect Human Rights against pervasive religious and sexual persecution. Recognising that this is not the view of all, and that feminist movements of the Middle East arise in their own contexts (Ahmed-Ghosh, 2015) of which I am not speaking, the concern of western women for others, need not be cast as Orientalist when issues like rape as a weapon of war, sex trafficking to fund jihad, and genital mutilation are universally recognised as a Human Rights violations worthy of external criticism and lobbying.

Val Plumwood (1993) carefully argued a framework of ‘western values dualism’ to unpack the power and control relationship in this war on life under which a category of ‘nature’ in this reading, contains three sets of historical victims: indigenous peoples, Traditional Knowledge and the biosphere. Her defence drew from extensive critique of western philosophy, Abrahamic religion, and scientific reductionism[vi] all of which have actively promoted the oppression of alleged ‘primitive’ cultures, women, and nature. Eisler (2017, p. 96) explains:

This superior/inferior view of our species is a central component of inequitable, despotic, and violent cultures. It provides a mental map that children learn for equating all differences— whether based on race, religion, or ethnicity— with superiority or inferiority. This ranked view of our species also manifests itself in a skewed system of values. Along with the ranking of male over female comes the ranking of qualities and behaviours classified as “hard” or “masculine” over those classified as “soft” or feminine. “Heroic” violence and “manly” conquest, as in funding for weapons and wars, are valued more than caring, nonviolence, and caregiving. These “feminine” values and activities are relegated to women and “effeminate” men and given little policy support.

This argument against the dominant dualistic paradigm, appeared in early works too of sustainability studies such as Fritjof Capra’s The Turning Point (1982), another influential attempt to unite East and West with quantum physics and systems theory to express the limits of western dualist thought. Capra (1982) referred to feminism and pointed similarly to certain omissions from atomistic knowledge production, such as subjectivity, holistic epistemology, and he, like many others into contemporary theory, rebuked the assumption of objective academic authority over traditional, non-dual and creative methodologies[vii].

Massacres stain the Earth and human memory as cultural and National wounds. The cost of collective amnesia is that it is not forgotten but buried as imprints without the associated names that could grant justice and closure. This unnamed historical spectre, left without a body of knowledge, deprived of the utterance of its truth, haunts future generations in many more ways that we normally think. Blood really is thicker in this case, than water. Epigenetics shows that trauma caused by exposure to violence, passes in cellular memory from parent to child, becoming part of the biological organism, shaping personal experience, and integrating into the collective psyche of the affected community (Warin et al., 2019). Trauma is not limited to individual victims, but to all those who are present and experience intense fear whether directly or vicariously. Terror is contagious. The torture of one member of a community as a means to instil fear in the others is an established method of maintaining power and control over the whole. The use of torture as an example to others is prevalent in the victim’s accounts from each culture from which this work unfolds. Terror and genocide turn landscapes into crime scenes, sites forever marked by violence. If truth is told, violent sites can become spaces that confront oppression, that subvert authority away from perpetrators, to grant recognition and to honour the victims instead. Memorials can become educational sites, where descendants of the fallen teach humanity across time, what not to repeat.

Too often, however, in the absence of honesty, crimes are not named. History remains fragmented. In such cases, brutalised bodies without proper burial become ghosts seeking out the light of day. Given epigenetic findings, historical silencing through failure to accurately document crimes against humanity, may attempt to erase from written records, but oral history continues, and the internal transmission of memory remains as if under the skin, in the blood, waiting for truth, justice and healing. Negating historical injustice similarly buries it into the collective unconscious to arise in time. Remembering can help to prevent the cycle repeating, so that the children of perpetrators and of victims can enter a new destiny. It follows then that you can take the person out of the terror, however it cannot be taken out of the person, until one cohort makes the decision to devote their lives to healing that familial wound, to break the cycle of violence and ensure the next generation carry peace forward.

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[i] For geopolitical and theoretical analysis see: (Ashcroft, Griffiths, & Tiffin, 2008 [1989]; Capra, 1982; Crang, 1999; Eisler, 2008; Gieseking, Mangold, Katz, Low, & Saegert, 2014; Hawkins, 2012; Jacobs, 2009; Jalata, 2013; Moody, 1993; O’Brien & Williams, 2010; Plumwood, 1993; Snyman, 2019; Wolfe, 2006; Young, 2018; Zwissler, 2018)

[ii] …cultural processes are rooted in the biological necessities of the human life cycle: specifically, human forms of birth, growth, survival, mating, parenting and sociality. Conversely… human biological processes are constrained, organised, and developed by culture, which includes technology, culturally specific socioeconomic and political structures, religious and ideological beliefs, and artistic practices…(Carroll et al., 2017, p. 1)

[iii] For more on Cultural Representations of Hinduism in the media and academia, please see Hinduism and its Culture Wars: How Secularism Lost its Way to Hinduphobia (Juluri, 2014)

[iv] This text is selected due to its clarity on Domestic and Family Violence by internationally recognised standards rather than as a legal tool.

[v] For examples, see (Ahmed-Ghosh, 2015; Brown, 1992; Madhavananda & Majumdar, 2008 [1953]; A. Tyagi, 2014; J. Tyagi, 2014)

[vi] This work was built upon two centuries of western women’s struggle toward self-determination and although the Romantic Era began the critique of modernity setting up this discourse, and feminists (De Beauvoir, 1971 [1952]; Wollstonecraft, 1992 [1792]) since have decried the arbitrary confinement of women inside gender roles with a-priori association with nature (the primitive, instinctive, irrational, uncultured etc); indigenous women’s association with nature coincided with men’s (Davis, 1994; De Ishtar, 2005; Moody, 1993), but with recognised differences, and did not delimit their knowledge or power on that basis given the positive, rather than negative value placed upon nature-culture as opposed to civilised-culture. According to Plumwood (1993), the approach to collapse men’s disassociation with nature, to re-evaluate each side of the binary pair from non-dualist values systems, and to celebrate our mutual connectedness, shared but different roles as a familial unit (as earth-kin) without denying  individuality, would commence a process, which she moved toward in later works, of re-indigenisation.

[vii] Here we must distinguish western conceptions of femininity from those of similarly dual narratives of India. In Taoism, for example, yin is considered yielding, whereas yang is active although the I Ching system provides for their intermixture so as not to curtail dynamism like the static parallel of western values dualism. In Hinduism, the feminine is Shakti, which is power and active, whilst masculine Shiva is consciousness and still without shakti. Both are contained in the highest representations of deity. In Kashmir Shaivism pure consciousness has intrinsic qualities of each gender to explain a-priori self-reflexivity. Further Hinduism has the polarities switch roles, like Taoism, with one force subsiding while the other arises, or each becoming the other in tandem. Therefore, this system in acknowledging polarity, does not by extension bioculturally imprison one sex in a stereotype from which one cannot defer. In contrast, for western dualists, women were since ancient Greece the product of men’s minds who saw in the ovarian homunculus’ (Greece), the clitoris as small penis (Freud), or in active sperm and passive egg (early medicine), the explanation for women’s inferior evolution and justified subjugation. De Beauvoir (De Beauvoir, 1971 [1952]) surveys Aristotle, Hippocrates and two centuries of anatomy to summarise with the same from Hegel: “Thus man, in consequence of that differentiation, is the active principle while woman is the passive principle because she remains undeveloped in her unity”.

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