In her introduction to Garrisoned Minds: Women and Militarisation in South Asia, its editor Laxmi Murthy writes: “As in many parts of the world, when underlying causes of conflict have not been addressed, there is no ‘post’ war harmony. Simmering discontent and bitterness in an uneasy ‘peace’ is most-often sought to be suppressed by aggressive troop deployment and repressive colonial laws … This everyday nature of occupation defines the rhythm of life in these margins.”
In the book, twelve journalists explore the impact of such militarisation on the lives of women in four conflict-affected zones in South Asia: Pakistan’s frontier provinces, which share a border with Afghanistan; Nepal during and after its decade-long civil war; Northeast India under the shadow of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act; and the Kashmir valley amidst the overwhelming presence of the Indian army.
The following excerpt, ‘Incomplete Revolution,’ is by the journalist Darshan Karki. It is set during the Maoist Rebellion, an armed conflict between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Nepalese monarchy that ruled at the time. The conflict was launched in February 1996, and ended in November 2006, when a peace accord was signed between the government and the communist rebels. Karki explores the issues that plague the Madhesis, who inhabit the Terai—the country’s southern plains—and who are marginalised by the ruling elite and kept out of mainstream politics. Karki writes about the lives of the women in the region, which are relatively untouched by the upheavals of the Maoist insurgency.