While the story of conflict in Kashmir might be familiar, the story of how women have experienced the conflict is not. A more complete picture starts by challenging the assumption that peace and security ‒ and ideas on how to manage them ‒ can be framed and discussed by a limited demographic of men.
Both Ezabir Ali and Atia Anwar are researchers, by profession and by vocation. Ali has been documenting and publishing on the psychosocial impact of conflict on women in Kashmir for decades. Likewise Anwar, having grown up in a village along the line of control, returned to conduct research on women’s perspectives of living on the front line of conflict. But despite the fact that women are by no means immune to the conflict, managing security is still seen as a male-only domain.
After seventy years and three wars between India and Pakistan, the disputed Kashmir region is still a byword for conflict. Decades of events, decisions, developments and setbacks have touched multiple generations. Women, men, young, old, rural, urban, financially stable and financially insecure, people in Kashmir have experienced conflict and violence in a multitude of ways. The push for greater inclusion in prevention and peace efforts rests on the realisation that conflict, with its many sides and side effects in society, is a relative experience.
Ali and Anwar work in parallel on either side of the line of control, tailoring their action to the different conflict issues facing women in each context.