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574 Feminist Studies 45, no. 2/3. © 2019 by Feminist Studies, Inc. Nosheen Ali, Mona Bhan, Sahana Ghosh, Hafsa Kanjwal, Zunaira Komal, Deepti Misri, Shruti Mukherjee, Nishant Upadhyay, Saiba Varma, and Ather Zia Geographies of Occupation in South Asia Occupations are foundational to the making and reproduction of many “modern” nation-states. They are not exceptional forms of state power, but rather, constitutive of state-making in several South Asian nation-states such as in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh , where the hegemonic meanings and definitions of national security and national community have come to be refracted through occupation and war.1 Recent events across South Asia suggest that geographies This statement is the result of our conversation at the feminist pre-conference of the Annual Conference on South Asia at the University of Wisconsin , Madison in October 2017. Since the year 2012, the Critical Kashmir Studies Collective, comprised of Mona Bhan, Haley Duschinski, Deepti Misri, Hafsa Kanjwal, and Ather Zia, has attempted to mobilize academic conversation around the Indian occupation of Kashmir through a series of published articles, books, talks, and conferences. In this vein, and building on several prior pre-conferences, the Collective organized the 2017 feminist pre-conference around the theme of “Gender, Sexuality, and Occupation ,” bringing us together to think collectively about state occupations and their gendered legacies across South Asia and its diasporas. 1. Haley Duschinski, Mona Bhan, Ather Zia, and Cynthia Mahmood, eds. Resisting Occupation in Kashmir (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018); Nosheen Ali, “Grounding Militarism: Structures of Feeling and Force in Gilgit-Baltistan,” in Everyday Occupations: Experiencing Militarism in South Asia and the Middle East, ed. Kamala Visweswaran (Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), 85; Deepti Misri, Beyond Ali et al. 575 and logics of occupation can travel inward toward the center, disrupting the binaries between war and peace, center and periphery, as well as between national territories and their margins. This has become chillingly obvious in the recent annexation of Kashmir by India, a move that intensifies the subjection of Kashmiris but also subjects Indians to the arbitrary power of the state. On August 5, 2019, the Indian government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution of India, a provision that had maintained a semi-autonomous status for the state of Jammu and Kashmir since 1954, shortly after India’s independence from Britain in 1947. The repeal, conducted by presidential decree, was not only unconstitutional , but also preceded and followed measures that have implications for all Indians.2 Only a few days after this abrogation, in the floodhit Kolhapur district of Maharashtra, the Indian government imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which prohibits public assembly of more than four persons. Often imposed in Kashmir to contain anti-government protests, Section 144 was seen as playing a similar role in Kolhapur—minimizing accusations of government inadequacy leveled by flood-affected populations. This is not an entirely new move—for instance, in the “peaceful” Bengal borderlands, Section 144 is imposed every night along the border roads and fence, by an order that the District Magistrate routinely renews every month. Still, the imposition of Section 144 in the hinterland may augur an increasing normalization of the emergency structures of occupation. Similarly, the quick amendment of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act empowered the government to designate individuals, rather than just organizations, as terrorists. This had the dual effect of criminalizing dissent within India even as it further strengthens the government’s chokehold on Kashmir . Therefore, attention to zones of occupation compels us to think not only about occupations “in” or “of” Pakistan and India in regions such Partition: Gender, Violence, and Representation in Postcolonial India (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014). 2. Akshay Deshmane, “Kashmir: Scrapping Article 370 ‘Unconstitutional,’ ‘Deceitful’ Says Legal Expert A.G. Noorani,” Huffiington Post, May 8, 2019, -expert-reacts-noorani_in_5d47e58de4b0aca341206135. 576 Ali et al. as Kashmir or Balochistan, but also to theorize how modes of rule at the center and periphery are connected.3 Occupation is not just what happens when state power gets out of hand, but rather, it is frequently a central principle of both nationalism and...


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