Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A contrast on nostalgia for life in Kashmir with experiences of re-establishing social and political relationships after displacement

How do communities facing protracted displacement deal with the experience of migration and place-making? Second, how do notions of home mediate this relationship? 
An article from Contributions to Indian Sociology approaches these questions by taking the case of Kashmiri Pandits, the upper caste Hindu minority of the Kashmir valley, who were displaced due to the outbreak of conflict in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989–90 and a significant section of whom were located in displaced persons’ camps during 1990–2011.

Due to the breakdown of law and order and a series of selective assassinations of Kashmiri Pandits by militants, most of the community fled their homes, relocating to the city of Jammu in the southern part of the state and different parts of north India. Since then, the Kashmiri Pandits have come to constitute one of the most visible groups of internally displaced persons in the region
The article draws upon discussions with Pandits who contrast nostalgia for life in Kashmir with experiences of re-establishing social and political relationships after displacement. Place and migration here are both treated as contexts and products of social activity that involve considerations of objects, physical environment and communal relationships.

The article engages with experiences of settlement of displaced Kashmiri Pandits in the city of Jammu, their memories of past lives in Kashmir and experiences in forging a new relationship with the local inhabitants. The article also discusses the experience of uncertainty among Kashmiri Pandits and whether a possible future can be imagined in the current place of habitation. Through an engagement with nostalgic recollections of home in the past in Kashmir and challenges of rebuilding life and settlement in Jammu, the editor also shows how the Pandits find themselves caught in a tension between the objective conditions of migration and displacement and their desire to seek a stable/secure location.

There are layers in the engagement with place in the present, as some Kashmiri Pandits try to construct a claim and connection with Jammu. The relationship that forced migrants, such as the Kashmiri Pandits have with place—the place where they are from and the place where they find themselves in the present—involves dealing with memory, affection and sentiment and their lived social and political contexts. However, the ability to relate to a place is complicated by a dual process of observing everyday life and habitation, and yet constantly feeling that the next moment of migration or move may come anytime and that one will have no choice in the matter.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Domestic Violence — an issue so serious, yet ignored and so little understood!

With an effort to fortify the millennium development goal (MDGs) of gender equality and women empowerment (UNO, 2002), many legislations and policies have been formulated and implemented. It is apparent, that over the past few decades, a host of issues related to women are discussed and vigorously debated on various platforms. One of the most important aspects of this discourse has been that of violence against women and within that area close attention is being paid to domestic violence, that is, violence that occurs within the victim’s house or by members of the family.  Despite the enactment of laws, formulation of reformative legal processes, provision of legal aid to the needy, extensive use of the provision of Public Interest Litigation, conduct of Family Courts, Women/Family counselling centres etc., women in India have a long way to go in concretising their Constitutional goals into reality as the problem is embodied in socially and culturally.

An article from the journal, Social Change, hopes to draw the attention of readers to the causative factors of domestic violence and its impact on the victim, her family and on society as a whole. Domestic violence is a global issue reaching across national boundaries as well as socio-economic, cultural, racial and class distinctions. This problem is not only widely dispersed geographically, but its incidence is also extensive, making it a typical and accepted behaviour. Its cost to individuals, health systems and society is enormous. Yet no other major problem of public health has been so widely ignored and so little understood.

Domestic violence is perpetrated by, and on, both men and women. However, most commonly, the victims are women, especially in our country as women were always considered weak, vulnerable and in a position to be exploited. Violence has long been accepted as something that happens to women. Cultural mores, religious practices, economic and political conditions may set the precedence for initiating and perpetuating domestic violence, but ultimately committing an act of violence is a choice that the individual makes out of a range of options.

Violence not only causes physical injury, it also undermines the social, economic, psychological, spiritual and emotional well-being of the victim, the perpetrator and the society as a whole. It has serious consequences on women’s mental and physical health, including their reproductive and sexual health. These physical and mental health outcomes have social and emotional sequelae for the individual, the family, the community and the society at large.

Gender-based violence is entrenched in the culture of developing nations; hence it is the time to change that culture. There is lot of awareness programmes conducted regarding the issue. In almost all the awareness programmes the contents are legal issues, counselling facilities and measures to take the support of the police. In large majority of the cases the audience is women. There is a need for change in this way of thinking and believing. The men and women are integral part of the society and there is a need for the change of attitude in three ways: Attitude of men towards women, Attitude of women towards men and Attitude of women towards women. Apart from this, what is required for a healthy society is not merely the absence of violence but the presences of positive emotions towards their female counter parts.

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