Let civil society flood Kashmir


In a September issue of The Asian Age, social scientist Shiv Visvanathan, quotes one of India’s great activists, Ela Bhatt – ‘Global Elder’ and founder of SEWA – the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India, a sort of trade union plus. 

She propounds a housewife’s theory of politics and globalisation.

Security, as Ms Bhatt once claimed, does not understand domesticity, the household economy and its connectivities with the globe and the cosmos.

“A housewife understands what continuous violence can do to the men and her children. She understands the sanity of livelihood and the normalcy of continuous work in sustaining a community.”

 He continues: “A housewife, I was once told, is too shrewd to think that a suspension of hostilities is the beginning of peace. Peace for her, whether in Kashmir, Palestine or Darfur, is an everyday drama of hope in everydayness, where life demands the restoration of the normal, the flow of gossip and hospitality, the restoration of livelihoods and dignity.”

Shri Visvanathan proposes that to resolve the Kashmir impasse parliamentary delegations be forgotten:

“Allow women to travel across, listen, share and celebrate. Let civil society flood Kashmir so we hear the diversity of opinions, complaints and grievances.

“Security and intelligence are abortions of storytelling. Forget bandhs. Let us declare state mourning for the children we have killed. A housewife understands pain and grief. She knows how to mourn.

“Let the housewife and the civil society take over. They will demonstrate the ridiculousness of security, terror and the politics that haunts Kashmir.

“A housewife’s theory of peace may out-think the politicians by erring on the right side of simplicity.“


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