ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Graffiti in Kashmir

Politicising the Street

As the Kashmir conflict entered a low-intensity armed phase and saw greater street protest in the 2000s, new expressions of political dissidence have emerged in the Valley. Political graffiti has found resonance, across urban and rural areas, as a form of resistance against state narratives whilst also shielding participants from direct persecution. After initial concessions, the state has now begun to respond with counter-graffiti.

Inqilab (Revolution) , a universal slogan painted by Kashmiri graffiti artists. Image credit: Al-Horiah Group

Modern conflicts are complex. They not only involve armies and weaponry from two sides fighting each other, but also entire landscapes and populations. What is remarkable and terrifying about these conflicts is the affect they have on civilian populations (Kaldor 1999, 2013). In most cases, reluctant civilian populations become targets, beyond just collateral damage, in a war they would not have necessarily wanted to participate in at all. However, as they become participants, they develop mechanisms of survival and possibilities of resistance. Thus, in a place like Kashmir, the past few years have seen a burgeoning growth of writers, musicians, and other artists, who have tried to produce art and literature which can be essentially placed in a broad scheme of resistance and political protest.

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Updated On : 7th Apr, 2018

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