Dr Khalid Wasim Hassan (The Charles Wallace India Trust Visiting Fellowship at SOAS, 2016/17)

Date: 15 March 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 15 March 2017Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B102

Type of Event: Seminar


In the context of resistance movements, the spaces as well as the spatial conditions of resistance are always changing as conceptions, perceptions and lived experience change. The unequal power relations between resistance movements and hegemonic states leads to the shrinking of such spaces. This article will explore the relationship between public space, resistance, and the hegemonic Indian state in Kashmir where the distinction between the symbolic label of IAK and IOK highlights the politics and re-production of public space in this state of exception. In his work on the nature of Public Spaces, Lefebvre (1991) emphasises that space is a constant process of social production, and he points out three forms –  conceived space (space where power relations are fixed), perceived space (space of social practices) and lived space (space of resistance).

It is the lived space where the people through resistance re-produce the spaces with new innovations and imagination. Public spaces in ‘Indian Administered’ Kashmir (IAK) have been transformed in the last three decades. The post-1987 period witnessed the re-emergence of the self-determination movement when many religio-political groups challenged the sovereignty of Indian rule in Kashmir.

Calling this movement as null and void, the Indian State further asserted a state of exception by enforcing its legitimacy through heavy militarisation and employment of ‘special’ laws. The restrictions on public gatherings through curfews and laws which gave impunity to Indian armed forces became a deterrent for people to use public spaces or transformed them into gendered ones. The public sphere in the form of coffee shops, libraries, canteens or the public parks started disappearing. As a response to this, people in IOK have utilized and subverted the public space resulting in new forms of everyday resistance and existence under occupation. Thus, the gendering of spaces under ‘administration’ has been met by gendered forms of resistance under ‘occupation’ which have re-produced and subverted the use of public spaces.

This paper will focus on one public space in detail – Jamia-Masjid (Big Mosque), which is the main public space in the city of Srinagar in the IOK. Jamia Masjid is a historical mosque where men and women used to congregate for prayers, particularly Fridays and important dates in the Islamic calendar. However, since post-1987 it has become a highly gendered but living space. This paper proposes to look at the interaction between the resistance movement and the state through the politics of public space by using the works of Giorgio Agamben and Henri Lefebvre.

Speaker Biography

Dr. Khalid Wasim Hassan is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Politics and Governance of Central University of Kashmir. Previously he was working as Assistant Professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (2013-16). He has also taught at the P.G Department of Political Science of St.Josephs College, Bangalore (2012-13) and School of Undergraduate Studies of Ambekar University Delhi. He has also taught a short-term course at University of Muenster, Germany under DAAD exchange programme. He completed his PhD from Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) in which he worked on the Islamist and Secular Discourses in post 1988 Self-determination Movement in Kashmir.

He has also been working on emergence of Multiple Public Spheres in a conflict zone like Kashmir.  In a collaborative research of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and London School of Economics on Violence against Women (VAW), he contributed his research onState Violence against women in Armed Conflict of Kashmir.His research area includes:Post-colonial Theory, Ethnic and nationalist movements in South Asia and Human Rights. He has been teaching the courses on Political Theory, International Politics and Indian Politics at graduate and post-graduate level.  Presently he is Charles Wallace Fellow at SOAS, University of London.

Organiser: SOAS South Asia Institute

Contact email: ssai@spas.ac.uk

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4390


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