Chhoti Azadi

Kashmir’s new public intellectuals must work towards freedom, not just seek redress for murderous acts of state extremism

01 July 2011
Until My Freedom Has Come: The New Intifada in Kashmir EDITED by SANJAY KAK, PENGUIN BOOKS INDIA, 328 PAGES, R299
Until My Freedom Has Come: The New Intifada in Kashmir EDITED by SANJAY KAK, PENGUIN BOOKS INDIA, 328 PAGES, R299

KASHMIR'S SLOW-BURN INTIFADA, which reasserted itself in the summer of 2008, is memorable in part because its style of mass resistance prefigured the development of the "days of rage" in the Middle East, a pre-play of the civil disobedience that toppled dictators.

So a year before footage of Neda Agha-Soltan, shot and bloodied, became the face of Iran's protests, Kashmir boiled over after the death of Shaheed Tanveer, a cellphone salesman whose death throes were captured on mobiles and broadcast over the Internet. While social media in 2011 is said to have launched a thousand demonstrations across the Arab world, Kashmiris had begun posting YouTube videos and creating Facebook pages to document state violence and inspire resistance years earlier.

Although information technology lent an emotional intensity to the protests that had been missing in recent years, what was familiar were the killings. Beneath snowy peaks that sawtooth the cobalt blue skies of Kashmir, English-speaking youth took to the streets with little more than stones in their hands and slogans on their lips. Last summer, 120 died in largely peaceful protests.

Randeep Ramesh was The Guardian’s South Asia correspondent from 2003 to 2009. He is currently the paper’s social affairs editor in London.

Keywords: Kashmir Jammu and Kashmir Sanjay Kak public intellectuals Randeep Ramesh Ira Pande Intifada
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