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Abstract

This paper examines the social and political context of aggrieved mothers in Kashmir through personal narratives collected by the author. The theme of motherhood as a counter-piece of feminist analyses has re-emerged in recent years for example in the works of Ellen Ross (1995), Elleke Boehmor (2005) etc. Studies on motherhood, as Ellen Ross (1995) contends, are in the process of moving from the margins to the centre of feminist discussion, the mother increasingly a subject rather than a distant, looming object2. The context for this analysis is contemporary Kashmir positioned precariously in geo-politics. The paper attempts to reconstitute the meaning of motherhood within the context of the ethnic culture of Kashmiri Muslim society. At the same time, it seeks to explore how mothers deal with the political situation that is responsible for the early and violent deaths of their children and offers a discursive theoretical framework to demonstrate how mothers find the meaning in their own motherhood. The paper explores, through two case studies, the degree of choice mothers may have in either restraining their sons from joining the current violent political situation through militancy, or in their active resistance to these engagements. The article concludes with reflections on how mothers make sense of their sons’ militancy by uniting the political with the emotional intimacy of mothering following the death of their sons.

Note on the Author

Shazia Malik is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Women’s Studies and Research, University of Kashmir. She has also worked for two years as a Research Officer at the State Resource Centre for Women. She completed her Ph.D. in Women’s Studies from Aligarh Muslim University on ‘Women in Kashmir in Post-Independence period: A Socio-Cultural study' in 2013. She has presented approximately 30 research papers at national and international seminars/conferences in India and has published over 20 papers and articles in various newspapers, magazines, and journals within India. She is also the author of the book Women's Development Amid Conflict in Kashmir: A Socio-Cultural Study.

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