This first chapter of “Resist to Exist”—a Caravan Originals video series on Kashmir—examines the ongoing lockdown through the lens of the psychological siege on the minds of the Kashmiri population. Saiba Varma, a medical anthropologist, explained why the current situation is different from any previous imposition by the Indian state. “I think the abruptness with which it actually happened, and the totality of the communication blockade was not something we have seen before,” she said. “It’s about wearing people down, it’s about breaking their spirit, by not allowing them to share even the most basic level of information.”
Since 5 August, Jammu and Kashmir has been under an indefinite lockdown. The Indian state abrogated Kashmir’s special status by reading down Article 370 of the Constitution. It cut off all modes of telecommunication from the region, significantly increased the military presence and placed thousands, including Kashmir's pro-India politicians, under arrest. Though the communications blockade in Kashmir has been relaxed to an extent, its residents continue to live in conditions of fear, oppression and uncertainty.