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

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After Pulwama: War Widows and the Construction of Veer Nari in India

India has the highest number of war widows in the world, and yet there is little research on the lived experiences of war widows in India. Upon the death of an army officer, his wife is ensured a pension only if she remains unmarried within the family or marries the living eligible heir of her deceased husband’s family. The widow of an armed forces member who has laid down his life for the nation, whether in war or in a military operation is termed a “veer nari”. This essay looks into the state’s oppression through its influence on the family, and an ultimate control over a war-widow’s agency and sexuality.

Masculinities and Hierarchies in Haryana

Gender, Power and Identity: Essays on Masculinities in Rural North India by Prem Chowdhry, Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2019; pp vii + 288, ₹ 795.

Dimensions of Sexual Violence and Patriarchy in a Militarised State

Enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, and sexual violence have characterised Indian military operations in Kashmir. Of these, sexual violence has been used widely to “break” individuals and communities, and as a tool for punishing resistance against violence by the Indian state. The discourse around sexual violence, however, has always revolved around women with very little focus on men and transgender persons, given the patriarchal understanding of sexual violence and power relations. A critical part of this discussion is also looking at how the patriarchal structure of the society acts as a facilitator for the effective use of sexual violence as a tool against the people. The sexual violence that is propagated and implemented by a masculine patriarchal state can be resisted well with a deeper understanding of gender dynamics.

Corrosive Impact of Army’s Commitment in Kashmir

The army has had an extended deployment in Kashmir. While it has enabled operational experience for its members, there is a danger that the advantages of this can make the army acquire a stake in the disturbed conditions. This makes the army part of the problem in Kashmir. Its deployment is not without a price in regard to the internal good health of the army.

India's War for the Empire

India's War: The Making of Modern South Asia 1939-1945 by Srinath Raghavan, New Delhi: Allen Lane, 2016; pp xvii+554, ₹699.

The Politics of Mourning

The burden of grief for victims of regime-sponsored repression and state atrocities is compounded by the public denial of their loss and suffering. The Supreme Court's decision on the writ petition filed by Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association Manipur and families of persons extrajudicially executed by security forces in Manipur is a milestone in the struggle for truth and justice. The judicial response has refashioned the law, responding to the suffering and pain of the aggrieved and tempering the law with justice.

Witness to History

Trumpets and Tumults: The Memoirs of a Peacekeeper by Major General Inderjit Rikhye; Manohar, Delhi, 2002; pp 266, Rs 500.
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