This second chapter of “Resist to Exist”—a Caravan Originals video series on Kashmir—examines how living continuously under siege has impacted the Kashmiris’ response to India’s decision to read down Article 370. “If my political will and my even everyday capacities are eroded to such an extent, there is a kind of rage, an existential rage,” Saiba Varma, a medical anthropologist, said. But Kashmiris have only become resilient in the face of oppression, Varma added. “Any time there is a kind of siege that happens, people know how to live,” she said. “The restraint that Kashmiris have learned to exercise is a mark of strength.”
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, amid a startingly dense presence of security forces.