Palestinian Resistance Through The Lens Of Kashmiri Women

How Kashmiri women have become the symbol of Palestinian resistance.

Across the areas of War and Conflict, women’s resistance in Kashmir and Palestine has immensely contributed to defying the iron-fisted occupational regimes.

Women in Indian Occupied Kashmir, continue to extend their solidarity with Palestinians, defying the colonial regimes in response to the violence perpetrated by Israel in Gaza strip.

“Kudhaya Falasteenan keyan musalmaanan kar azaad , Teym che Heyman zaleyman legameyt (O Allah, grant freedom to the Muslims of Palestine. They are being suppressed by those tyrants, O Allah, free, them from the Clutches of those tyrants),” prays an elderly Kashmiri woman for Palestine’s freedom.

Earlier this week, a video of women went rounds on the internet; she was seen making dua for the Palestinians suffering under the occupational regimes of Israel, post-Eid – celebrations, shot by Zainab Fatima, a visual and a writer based in IOK.

Fatima a photographer based in the valley documented a young boy marching on the streets of Srinagar, hand clutched with a hurling Palestinian flag.

Likewise, Gazal Qadri, a young Kashmiri women artist, based in Srinagar, practiced design as a part-time hobby and gradually began her autobiographical figurative illustrations on an Instagram account widely popular by the name of Alif. Currently, she is one of the very few illustrators known for exemplary work.

My comics are nothing but my personal experiences. I make no bones to admit my ineptitude for going political in my artworks. But then the compassionate side of me fails to tolerate the excuses committed on fellow humans anywhere on earth, more so when kids lose their parents in the bombardments. Its triggers my emotions, and in the case of Gaza it’s actually enticed me into expressing my solidarity with the Palestinians,” says Qadri.

Source: Instagram/Gazal Qadris art

Poetry is another part of political activism, in Kashmir which helps prevents the whitewashing of the forged massacres and custodial killings by the colonial states.

The continuous airstrike and bombardments in the Gaza strip made poet Zabirah Fazili numb, an English postgraduate from Kashmir University – she feels everything was falling apart as the world becomes a mere spectator of the mass genocide in Palestine. To react to the political situation in Kashmir she uses her poem, to speak against the oppressive regime, her writings are a reflection of Kashmir and Palestine; Fazili writes a poem expressing; her verses, to extend solidarity for the besieged state of Palestine, and links the struggle of Kashmiris vocal past mutated present, through Palestine.

As reported in the inverse journal, “The tenancy of these verses is a testament, to self-determination, characterizes two peoples, two lands and two struggles, with poet documenting seeing both as one”.

Here are some experts from her poem;

As I open my eyes, to the world, I see those carrying stones, just stones in their prayer rugs inside the Qibla-e-Awwal.

In the meantime, a boy in the lanes of Batmaloo makes a farewell call home and tells his family what paradise smells like.

These handsome men and brave women smile through their handcuffed hands and look the devil in the eye.

Back home in KaniKadal, the boys make sounds through their targets aimed at the Ruckshaks telling them that we’re very much alive.

They fight in blood but don’t lose an inch of Al-Aqsa to the bastards. I pray we shield Jamia Masjid (A historic mosque in Srinagar) and break its shackles and become one- in courage with the Palestinians”.

Sarah, 24, also wanted to protest against the atrocities happening in the Gaza strip. She felt restless and constantly desired to revive something through her paintings, as Kashmir and Palestine’s demographics is at a critical juncture.

People like pretty and sugarcoated visuals, they don’t prefer to read long pieces either, so I had to use my art to convey the message. It’s very sickening to see a lot of well-educated people choose to stay neutral and apolitical when it comes to human rights oppression, says Sarah.

Sad state of affairs that it had to come to this that we have to decorate our struggle to make it look pretty and inviting, but that’s the ugly truth, she added.

Several women from the valley continue to dissent, against Israeli’s aggressive colonial tactics imposed in the Gaza strip. India too is following the footsteps of Israel, through its attempts to colonize Kashmir, making Kashmiris feel resented and helpless, subjugated to their indigenous citizens as a minority in their homeland.

In a journal Their wounds are our wounds; a case of effective solidarity between Palestine and Kashmir as stated by Ather Zia, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado, Palestine and the Indian Occupied Kashmir are the hallmarks, manifesting of a postcolonial siege with the presence of heavy militarization, illegal occupation, and human rights violations, excruciates related sentiments of solidarity and resistance.

Art is my way to be with the world. While food, water, keep my body alive, art my soul”, says another Fozia Bhatt, 21, an artist based in Kashmir. Like several other women artists, she too believes in resisting occupation and attempts to decolonize the exotic narrative of Kashmir, by neo-orientalist through the use of archival images, and using art.

With an Instagram account of 1K Followers, she uses digital media to raise awareness about Kashmir and Palestine.

In the world filled with darkness and unbearable grief, my art keeps the fire of hope in the hearth of my soul, from dying out. I carry my brushes, pencils, inks, Qalam, like a soldier would carry his guns and ammunition, to resist the occupation and the tyrants. Resistance through my art, may not drill holes into the tanks, arms, of the occupiers but it surely would keep fanning/bellowing the ambers of hope, memories of injustice, loss, of the desire to keep resisting, with a will of fire, that simply refuses to die out,” says Bhat.

Today’s time people have been increasingly inclined towards the internet, I use my paintings largely to speak about political issues,” she added.

Over the years India and Israel have established a relationship, based on domination and persecution of the oppressed populations. Both of them are the oldest disputes on the agenda of the United Nations. Kashmiris over decades have exhibited solidarity with Palestine and found resonance in their struggle for dignity and justice.

The pieces drawn by these women, speak a lot about the whitewashing and misrepresentation of colonial narrative in Palestine. It raises significant questions of colonial hegemony being executed in Kashmir and Palestine in the form of laws.

In times of the digital age, as people increasingly rely upon the internet, these women are attempting to decolonize the exotic narrative of Kashmir and Palestine, by bringing into the limelight the Western mainstream media’s representation of the two oppressed states. In an attempt to answer this, these arts throw light on the sufferings of Palestinians.

The art depicted by them doesn’t fit the rigid mono casual narrative as depicted by the regular traditional media. It makes us contemplate the way media shape discourses in context to colonial regimes.

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