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Granted Under Fear

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In the early days of the freedom struggle, reflecting on state violence and the suppression of freedom, Gandhi wrote, “What is granted under fear can be retained only so long as the fear lasts”( Hind Swaraj, 1929).

A hundred years later Sonia Jabbar examines what Gandhi’s statement might mean in an India that won its freedom through non-violence but now counters a violent rebellion in Kashmir with militarism and extreme violence, which includes the shameful practice of enforced disappearances used by rogue states and juntas, including Nazi Germany.

Originally exhibited in Detour (2009) a show curated by Ranjit Hoskote at Chemould Prescott Road, marking the centennial of Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj, this two channel video work juxtaposes images of the orderly army parade, replete with sounds of the bugle and the bagpipes– images that ordinarily evoke pride in the citizen at the discipline and valour of its army– with contradictory images of the families of the victims of enforced disappearances in Kashmir. The victims and their families are all citizens of India. The army is the Indian Army sworn to protect its citizens. The rebellion has been controlled through fear. 

Autumn’s Final Country

‘Autumn’s Final Country’ records the life stories of Indu, Zarina, Shahnaz and Anju, four women who suffer displacement in the conflict-ridden State of Jammu and Kashmir. Originally shot as testimonials for the South Asia Court of Women (Dhaka, August 2003), the film explores the lives of each woman as she relates the circumstances leading to her rootlessness, and reveals an intimate dimension of the Kashmir conflict, raising questions about patriarchal values and power, communal identities, patriotism and war.

(Text taken from

Sonia Jabbar

I spent many years as a writer, journalist, photographer, filmmaker and peace activist in Kashmir trying to understand why wars exist. At the close of that 15 year period I thought I had some idea. Now that I have a child I realise I have understood nothing at all.

–Sonia Jabbar, 2014.

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