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Fictions of social repair : chronicity in six scenes Aijazi, Omer 2018

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FICTIONS OF SOCIAL REPAIR:  CHRONICITY IN SIX SCENES  by  Omer Aijazi  M.A., Community and Social Planning, The University of British Columbia, 2010 B.B.A., Strategic Management, The University of Toronto, 2007  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Educational Studies)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)   September 2018  © Omer Aijazi, 2018   ii  The following individuals certify that they have read, and recommend to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for acceptance, the dissertation entitled: “Fictions of Social Repair: Chronicity in Six Scenes”   submitted  by Omer Aijazi  in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies  Examining Committee: Dr. Shauna Butterwick Supervisor  Dr. Pilar Riaño-Alcalá Supervisory Committee Member  Dr. Erin Baines Supervisory Committee Member Dr. Vanessa Andreotti University Examiner Dr. Renisa Mawani University Examiner  Additional Supervisory Committee Members:  Supervisory Committee Member  Supervisory Committee Member iii  ABSTRACT    This is a study on  flourishing amidst the pahars (mountainscapes) of Northern Pakistan and Kashmir. It is on radical and incremental engagements through heartwork against the undoings of epistemic harms. It is an attempt to see and feel the multiply situated and unbounded labor, desires, and relationalities needed for some approximation of the social to allow life to flourish despite the violence it bestows. The research does not seek to sustain a singular narrative; its arguments are kaleidoscopic and elliptical. It weaves texture, color, pattern. It experiments with form and content to adequately accommodate complexity, non-linearity, ambiguity, and the openness of life.  It is organized around the lives of non-normative subjects elaborated in six interconnected scenes. Their stories were gathered and nurtured during conversations around the fire and in the kitchen; while circulating in the landscape; cooking and eating together; being vulnerable, and “percolating” in “data.” True to form, each scene frames a compelling and urgent condition of life as shared by my research interlocutors. Read together or apart; the scenes offer plural readings of repair. The scenes are accompanied by poetic interludes which offer to take the reader’s pulse as modest expressions of accountability (and love). Together, they form the “fictions of social repair.”    The research explores chronicity; the convergence of multiple forms of violence in the body, sociality, and subjectivity. It is about bruising, blisters, and chafed thighs. It is on sweat, tears, and being out of breath. The study embraces analytical indeterminacy and inconsistency to understand the present as durative, the past as malleable, and the future as unstable. It encourages reparative reading and writing to glimpse life’s willfulness and iv  insistences. This is a work of restraint. It is about feeling, not just looking. It holds the reader and author accountable - to each other, to the text, and to research interlocutors.   These stories are burdensome and demanding. They do not provide instructions for landing or guidance on how they should be read. They are the work of wounds, heartbeats, and heartaches. They will break your heart and ask you to fall in love.  v  LAY SUMMARY    The study attempts to see and  feel the “work” needed to maintain and extend life in the mountainscapes of Northern Pakistan and Kashmir. It presents heartful and heartfelt stories of marginal and marginalized subjects and how they render life hospitable despite multiple intersecting forms of violence. This includes the violence of natural disasters, conflict, colonial and military occupation, and other structural forces.  The research examines the dual nature of the social, how it elaborates as well as constrains. It experiments with form and content to adequately accommodate life’s complexity, non-linearity, and ambiguity. The study relies on heartwork which combines fieldwork with homework. Heartwork encapsulates processes of data collection as well as their emotional entanglements. Supported by photographs and poetic expression, the dissertation encourages multiple readings of text and works against categorical thinking. It does not seek to provide definitions or easy solutions. These stories will break your heart. vi  PREFACE    This dissertation is the original intellectual property of the author, Omer Aijazi. But it is also the blood, sweat, and tears of my research assistants. Without their patience and dedication, this research would not have materialized. They are: Nusrat Jamal, Shahzad Aslam, Ambreen Khan, Mubashir Nawaz Khan, Muhammad Shoaib, Fawad Aslam, and Saeed Khan.  I am also indebted to Aurangzeb, Shahzad Aslam, and Abdul Shakoor for their driving skills and assistance in navigating the mountainous region. Fieldwork was supported by two community organizations: Haashar Association (Northern Pakistan) and Sukhi Development Foundation (Kashmir). Amongst other things, they offered me guidance, logistical support, and protection.  Except where noted, photographs were taken by the author, research assistants, and research interlocutors. Their names are included alongside each photograph. I have obtained permission from my interlocutors to use their photographs in this dissertation. The author holds the copyrights for these images.  Chapter titled “scene one: Movement and Multitude” was published as follows: Aijazi, Omer. “Kashmir as Movement and Multitude.” Journal of Narrative Politics 4, no. 2 (2018): 88–118. An earlier version of the chapter titled “scene six: Opacity” was published as follows: Aijazi, Omer. “Who Is Chandni Bibi?: Survival as Embodiment in Disaster Disrupted Northern Pakistan.” WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 44, no. 1 and 2 (2016): 95–110.  vii  The research received ethics approval from the UBC Behavioral Research Ethics Board (H14-01838, August 20, 2014). An additional pre-study was completed which also received ethics approval from the UBC Behavioral Research Ethics Board (H12-01295, June 4, 2012). viii  TABLE OF CONTENTS    ABSTRACT ....................................................................................................................... iii LAY SUMMARY ................................................................................................................ v PREFACE .......................................................................................................................... vi TABLE OF CONTENTS ................................................................................................. viii LIST OF IMAGES ........................................................................................................... xiii GLOSSARY .......................................................................................................................xx ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................................. xxi DEDICATION ............................................................................................................... xxiii PROLOGUE ....................................................................................................................... 1 HEARTWORK ..................................................................................................................25  Islamic ßàFeminist Heart(s) ....................................................................................... 27 …. of Islamic heart(s) ................................................................................................ 28 …. of feminist heart(s)................................................................................................ 31 Robots ............................................................................................................................ 33 Data as Gift .................................................................................................................... 35 Heartwork ...................................................................................................................... 42 Heartwork is Hard Work ................................................................................................ 45 What If We Let Those Awful Thoughts Persist? ............................................................. 50 The Ethics of Heartwork................................................................................................. 52 This Mess of Heartaches................................................................................................. 52 Some Further Reflections on the Reader ......................................................................... 56 A Brief Note on Sequence .............................................................................................. 56  ix  scene one  MOVEMENT AND MULTITUDE .................................................................60 Illaqa .............................................................................................................................. 64 “Azad” Kashmir ............................................................................................................. 65 Arrival ............................................................................................................................ 67 Welcome to Neelum ....................................................................................................... 72 As Always, Everyone in Really Concerned about Women’s Bodies ............................... 73 Neelum as Sculpted ........................................................................................................ 75 “Official” Pathways ........................................................................................................ 81 Bodies Opening Routes and Routines ............................................................................. 86 More-than-Human Bodies .............................................................................................. 88 Intimacies of food ...................................................................................................... 89 Animals in landscape ................................................................................................. 92 Open Yet Embracing, Closed Yet Expansive, Shrinking Yet Unfolding.......................... 99 Sweat, Tears, Blisters, Rashes, and Bruises .................................................................. 104 scene two  BETRAYAL.. .................................................................................................. 114 Worldings .................................................................................................................... 123 Dysphoric Disablement ................................................................................................ 132 Social DNA .................................................................................................................. 137 Affective genres of life .............................................................................................. 139 Humanitarian vomit ................................................................................................. 141 Home as a site of social disarticulation .................................................................... 144 Commodification of mutual assistance ..................................................................... 148 The Betraying Body ..................................................................................................... 148 What to Revive/ What Not to........................................................................................ 150 Muslim Futurities ......................................................................................................... 153 x  Betrayal(s) .................................................................................................................... 158 scene three  POLITICAL LIFE ...................................................................................... 163 Kashmiri as Political Subjectivity ................................................................................. 168 Scaffolding ................................................................................................................... 176 Reparative readings ................................................................................................. 176 Social repair ............................................................................................................ 178 Political life ............................................................................................................. 178 The “untenable” political lives of Muslim women .................................................... 181 Life and Times of Amal................................................................................................ 185 Chronicity ................................................................................................................ 188 Mir sahib ................................................................................................................. 190 Death is the Best Remembrance ................................................................................... 192 Is Social Repair the Affordance of The Political? ......................................................... 194 The Slightest of Gestures .............................................................................................. 197 scene four  MUSLIM POETICS ...................................................................................... 201 A Muslim Poetics of Sorts ............................................................................................ 205 Woh Cigarette Bhi Siraf Allah Sai Mangta Hai ............................................................. 208 Allah Ko Aajzi Bohut Pasand Hai ................................................................................ 212 Jawani Ki Ayashi ......................................................................................................... 216 Allah Ka Shukar Hai .................................................................................................... 217 Makkai Ki Roti............................................................................................................. 219 Dunya Yehi Hai ........................................................................................................... 226 Isi Tarah Kaam Laga Rehta Hai .................................................................................... 229 Musafir Ko Kon Poochta Hai? ...................................................................................... 230 Maira Muhaida, Allah Kai Saath Hai Siraf ................................................................... 235 xi  Khudi Khud.................................................................................................................. 237 Muslim Poetics, Chronicity, and Repair ........................................................................ 239 scene five  ANGER ........................................................................................................... 247 Anger and Non-sovereignty .......................................................................................... 250 Friendship as Method ................................................................................................... 255 The Cactus ................................................................................................................... 256 Panchis (Flight Birds) ................................................................................................... 257 We Are Not from India ................................................................................................. 259 Best Days of My Life ................................................................................................... 261 Everyone Keeps Score .................................................................................................. 263 Document Everything ................................................................................................... 264 Matters of Love ............................................................................................................ 267 Master Sahib Strikes Again .......................................................................................... 268 Abuka, the Conman ...................................................................................................... 271 See, Isn’t it Useful to Be in the Army? ......................................................................... 272 Changes ....................................................................................................................... 274 Non-sovereign Relationalities ....................................................................................... 275 scene six  OPACITY ........................................................................................................ 287 Who Is Chandni bibi? ................................................................................................... 292 Centrality of Home ....................................................................................................... 292 Relationships of Care ................................................................................................... 293 Comforting the Heart .................................................................................................... 295 Sabr .............................................................................................................................. 298 Allah’s Mysteries ......................................................................................................... 300 A Changed Life ............................................................................................................ 301 xii  Wayward Steps and Sideway Glances .......................................................................... 302 Opacity, Prognostic Uncertainty, and Open Normativities ............................................ 305 FICTIONS OF SOCIAL REPAIR .................................................................................. 311 BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................................................ 346    xiii  LIST OF IMAGES    Image 1.  Untitled (photograph by the author) ....................................................................... 1 Image 2. Gulab Jan (photograph by Saeed Khan) ................................................................ 11 Image 3. A shrine (photograph by the author) ..................................................................... 12 Image 4. Mubashir and Zakir (photograph by the author) .................................................... 13 Image 5. A wedding ceremony (photograph by Ali Akbar Shah) ......................................... 14 Image 6. Untitled (photograph by the author) ...................................................................... 15 Image 7. A sign board in Muzaffarabad (capital of Pakistan “administered” Kashmir) lists the city of Srinagar (the summer capital of Indian “administered” Kashmir) (photograph by the author) ................................................................................................................................ 16 Image 8. Untitled (photograph by the author) ...................................................................... 17 Image 9.  Remains of a monastery which was once a celebrated site of learning in the Himalayan region. These remains stand near the Line of Control which divides Kashmir between Pakistan and India (photograph by the author) ....................................................... 18 Image 10. Untitled (photograph by Rihanna Tahir) ............................................................. 19 Image 11. Untitled (photograph by the author) .................................................................... 20 Image 12. Naqsh Jan (photograph by Fawad Khan) ............................................................. 21 Image 13. Untitled (photograph by Rihanna Tahir) ............................................................. 22 Image 14. Untitled (photograph by the author) .................................................................... 23 Image 15. Qari Safeer (photograph by the author) ............................................................... 24 Image 16. The “female” robot (copyrights: SS MIRZA/AFP/Getty Images) ........................ 34 Image 17. Data from Star Trek (image obtained from Wikipedia) ....................................... 34 Image 18. People would often give me their choicest cucumber plucked from their gardens as a gift to take home (photograph by the author) .................................................................... 38 xiv  Image 19. Untitled (photograph by the author) .................................................................... 41 Image 20. Some of my "data.” There are perhaps not as profound as Imam Ghazali’s bundle of notes (photograph by the author) ..................................................................................... 42 Image 21. Teju Cole's provocation (screen shot taken from Teju Cole's public Facebook page) ................................................................................................................................... 46 Image 22. Underground bunkers provided refuge during periods of cross-border shelling. “Anticipatory structures” such as these are maintained to date in case fighting resumes. These exist side by side newly constructed homes, shops, and guesthouses (photograph by Nusrat Jamal) ................................................................................................................................. 64 Image 23. A sign in a government office in Neelum (photograph by the author) .................. 67 Image 24. The kitchen often generated the richest of conversations (photograph by the author) ................................................................................................................................ 69 Image 25. “Unofficial” pathways crisscross Neelum’s pahars, opening up the valley for its residents (photograph by Rihanna Tahir) ............................................................................. 71 Image 26. Maizescapes leading to a home (photograph by the author)................................. 76 Image 27. A community installed and maintained bridge (photograph by Shafiqa Butt) ...... 77 Image 28. Unique rock formations ideal for soaking and washing clothes (photograph by Shafiqa Butt) ....................................................................................................................... 78 Image 29. Freshly washed clothes drying on a rock (photograph by Razia Bano) ................ 79 Image 30. An unusual rock formation (photograph by Nusrat Jamal) .................................. 80 Image 31. An NGO supported cemented pathway, this one is in reasonably better shape (photograph by Rihana Tahir) ............................................................................................. 82 Image 32. A resident makes his way home via an “unofficial pathway” (photograph by Razia Bano) .................................................................................................................................. 85 xv  Image 33. Transient homes (beheks), en route to the malis (photograph by Mohammed Zaheer) ............................................................................................................................... 87 Image 34. Shirley: these are boiled and then cooked with a sauce of onions and tomatoes (photograph by the author) .................................................................................................. 90 Image 35. Bhagoray (cheese curds) prepared in the beheks, these are fried in ghee with spices (photograph by the author) .................................................................................................. 91 Image 36. Home-grown potatoes stored in a cavity for use throughout the year (photograph by Nusrat Jamal) ................................................................................................................. 92 Image 37. Bhala and Tani resting in the shade (photograph by the author) .......................... 93 Image 38. A woman tends her livestock. She challenges conventions of flatness and acceptable topography by expertly operating on a slope (photograph by Rihana Tahir) ....... 95 Image 39. An “unofficial” pathway leading to the malis. Different bodies work in the landscape to create routes and routines that do not depend on geopolitics (photograph by Rihana Tahir) ...................................................................................................................... 96 Image 40. An elderly man resting with his cattle on the way back from the malis (photograph by Farhat Shaheen) ............................................................................................................. 97 Image 41. A fan wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “Winner takes Kashmir” during a recent cricket match between Pakistan and India (image obtained from Facebook) ........................ 99 Image 42. Shahida bibi’s siblings pray at their mother’s grave on the way to school (photograph by Shahida bibi) ............................................................................................ 106 Image 43. The body in movement is a repository of data and theory (photograph by Abdul Basit) ................................................................................................................................ 109 Image 44. Dasterkhwan (“table cloth” or “great spread”) (photograph by the author) ........ 111 Image 45. Odd perspective (photograph by the author)...................................................... 113 Image 46. Niaz (photograph by the author) ....................................................................... 122 xvi  Image 47. An unusual tree formation. Landmarks such as these assist people in navigating the pahars and serve as sites of congregation. Niaz is precluded from embodying the landscape in these ways (photograph by Ali Akbar Shah).................................................................. 124 Image 48. Men transporting dowry to the house of newlyweds (photograph by Ali Akbar Shah) ................................................................................................................................ 124 Image 49. Sunshine is a sought-after commodity in the shaded Siran valley. Residents joke how they have to “chase the sun” and constantly circulate within the pahars to catch sunlight (photograph by Ali Akbar Shah) ....................................................................................... 125 Image 50. Niaz can only “chase the sun” from his courtyard (photograph by the author) ... 126 Image 51. The wall clock above Niaz’s bed (photograph by Niaz)..................................... 127 Image 52. This is Niaz’s uncle. Ever since Niaz’s accident, he visits him regularly even during the winter months when mobility is constrained due to heavy rain and snow. Niaz speaks very highly of him (photograph by Niaz’s brother) ................................................ 129 Image 53. This is Niaz’s cousin. He helped carry Niaz out of his home to the open maize fields during the earthquake (photograph by Niaz’s brother) ............................................. 130 Image 54. The roots of the sumbal plant are valued for their medicinal properties. Its skin is peeled, and the roots are dried before being grinded down to a powder form. Sumbal is known for healing broken bones and bodily pains. After his accident, Niaz’s mother made him regularly eat sumbal for over a year. It is combined with desi ghee (homemade clarified butter) and milk (photograph by the author) ...................................................................... 132 Image 55. The jeep needed to transport Niaz to the bazaar (photographs by Niaz’s brother) ......................................................................................................................................... 135 Image 56. The public bus that takes Niaz to the city (photograph by Niaz’s brother) ......... 135 xvii  Image 57. Men congregating on the flat roof of an older style house to offer funeral prayers. Newer constructions with sloping tin roofs can be seen in the background (photograph by Saeed Khan) ..................................................................................................................... 147 Image 58. Remains of Niaz’s exercise instruments (photograph by Niaz) .......................... 150 Image 59. Cookies being baked in a tandoor (photograph by Ambreen Nawaz Khan) ....... 152 Image 60. This is Arif’s father who disappeared from Neelum while working as a porter for the mujahideen.  The mujahideen only enjoyed the tacit support of the Pakistani military (in the form of training and weaponry), this meant the fighting was unregulated and guerrilla in nature, and that there were no diplomatic channels available to negotiate the release of prisoners of war. Many Neelum residents remain missing to date, either captured or killed by the Indian military (photograph by Arif) ........................................................................... 171 Image 61. Trout fish “illegally” caught from the Neelum river. Residents professed a certain affective attachment and pride in the local fish of Neelum. One boy remarked: “Once we caught a trout, it was huge, its bones were like stars, solid and sparkling, like diamonds or pearls” (photograph by the author) .................................................................................... 173 Image 62. Students dressed in “traditional” Kashmiri attire perform a skit in a school function in Neelum. Due to the expansive nature of the former princely state, there is no real consensus on what constitutes as a “traditional” Kashmiri dress (photograph by Saeed Khan) ......................................................................................................................................... 174 Image 63. Sonchal, a leafy spinach found in abundance in Neelum (photograph by the author) ......................................................................................................................................... 175 Image 64. The “basic health unit” in Neelum. It comprises of a series of small buildings which were gradually re-built after the 2010 monsoon floods with assistance from the United Nations system (photograph by Rafi Butt) ......................................................................... 186 Image 65.  Untitled (photograph by Farhat Shaheen, Amal’s daughter) ............................. 199 xviii  Image 66. Sattar Shah: “Dunya hai makhi ke par ki tarah (this world is as insignificant as the wing of a fly)” (photograph by Sattar’s nephew: Ali Akbar Shah) ..................................... 211 Image 67. After the earthquake, this location in the village became renowned for its rocks. Residents obtained rock from here to create tombstones for their loved ones who died in the disaster (photograph by Ali Akbar Shah) ........................................................................... 213 Image 68. Katcha (left) and pakka (right) houses next to one another (photograph by Ali Akbar Shah) ...................................................................................................................... 215 Image 69. Sattar Shah: “Hunger teaches one to do everything [even how to make roti]”  (photograph by the author) ................................................................................................ 219 Image 70. Maize being dried on a rooftop (photograph by the author) ............................... 221 Image 71. After the maize is cleaned and dried, it is stored in a wooden karand (photographs by the author) .................................................................................................................... 222 Image 72. Sattar Shah: “Even the donkey doesn’t come for free!” A donkey loaded with maize makes its way down the slope of a pahar (photograph by Ali Akbar Shah) ............. 222 Image 73. One of the three chakkis near the village (photograph by Abdul Basit) ............. 223 Image 74. Sattar Shah: “Previously, the atta (ground maize) was stored in small wooden boxes. But these were destroyed in the earthquake and the NGOs gave us canisters such as this” (photograph by Ali Akbar Shah) ............................................................................... 224 Image 75. Grass being dried for the winter months (photograph by the author) ................. 225 Image 76. Sattar Shah: “Eat! You are still young.” The humble makkai ki roti (photograph by the author) ........................................................................................................................ 226 Image 77. Sattar Shah: “Mussafir ko kon poochta hai? (No one seeks the traveler).” Sattar seated with his nephews (photograph by Ali Akbar Shah) ................................................. 234 Image 78. As we crossed the many check-posts leading into Neelum, the driver of my rented vehicle perhaps taking confidence in the fact that I too am a Pakistani man, repeated under xix  his breath: “Kashmiri ka baccha, kabhi naheen sacha (the child of a Kashmiri can never be honest [or trustworthy])” (photograph by the author)......................................................... 256 Image 79. As the flood waters receded, the Pakistani army eventually rehabilitated the bridge reconnecting the valley (photograph by the author) ........................................................... 260 Image 80. The signage on the left cement block reads: “Trees are our investment- Pakistan Army” (photograph by the author) .................................................................................... 271 Image 81. The noncommittal lighting in the guesthouse (photograph by the author) .......... 277 Image 82. The prized desi chicken (photograph by the author) .......................................... 278 Image 83. View from the windshield (photograph by the author) ...................................... 281 Image 84. A basic health unit near Abrar’s village which has been under construction for the last 7 years (photograph by Saeed Khan) ........................................................................... 283 Image 85. Pictured on the immediate right, Chandni bibi's home (photograph by the author) ......................................................................................................................................... 292 Image 86. Chandni bibi's space for deep contemplation (photograph by the author) .......... 297 Image 87. Untitled (photograph by the author) .................................................................. 312   xx  GLOSSARY    Pahar                 mountain Pahars               mountainscapes Pahari               mountainous Pahari log         mountain people xxi  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS   I am indebted to the following for their advice, support, and companionship:  My research interlocutors for tolerating my odd presence in their kitchens and courtyards. Baba and Abrar for your company in that lonely guesthouse. Dur-e-man for your kindness. Master sahib for the walking stick. It made traversing the mountains, so much easier.  My Supervisory Committee: Shauna for reminding me that all our ideas come from somewhere. And for being the Mother Goose. Erin for being my sounding board (for the good and the very, very bad). Pilar for your tough love, precision, and insistence on dialogue, not confrontation. Shauna, Pilar, Erin: For encouraging me to love the reader (though somedays it is difficult).  Veena Das for serving as the External Examiner, for your careful reading of the text, and gentle gestures for further thinking. But also for opening the world through your writings.  FKM: For all your life-saving: Erin, Julie, and Chrissie.  The Fam: Ammi and Papa for teaching me how to receive deeply and nurture my wounds.  Ishma and Ahmed for making my life miserable as I wrote this thing.  Mohammed, Huzaifa, Ismail, and Jannat for demanding chocolates on every visit to Pakistan.   xxii  Super Awesome UBC Folks:   Gabriella, Jeannie, Waged, Paulina, Pierre, Andre, Sara, Dilnoor, Mali, Ketty, Carla, Alison, Beth, Sharon, Kapil, Jo-Anne, Ricardo, Autumn, Vicheth, Roselynn, Neila, Rabia, Elaine, Elizabeth, Shayna, Sonia, Ee-Seul, Nora, Michael, Emily, Stephanie, and many others.  My PhD Cohort:  Marissa, Jim, Angela, Maren, Dwayne, Alejandra, Yao, and Lilach.  Without you, I would be very broke: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC); Pakistan Strategy Support Program (United States Agency for International Development, Planning Commission of Pakistan, International Food Policy Research Institute); International Development Research Centre (IDRC); Department of Educational Studies; Liu Institute for Global Issues; United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); The Bullitt Foundation; The Goethe-Institut; UBC Faculty of Education; and UBC Faculty Association.  Pushback: without you these pages would never get written (you are the banter of the gut and the heart)  Professor Phani Radhakrishnan for singling me out after class during my UofT days, just to point out: “Dude, you have to go to grad school.”  Misstree and Himtu, and their various incarnations as hummingbirds, geese, and moths. Jhumpa, the oddity.  And John, you know, for everything.  xxiii  DEDICATION  For Rakshanda and Mutahir   1 PROLOGUE  "Life should be presented as it is, not how it was, how it will be, or how it should be." - Saadat Hasan Manto1  Image 1.  Untitled (photograph by the author)  This is a study on flourishing amidst the pahars of Northern Pakistan and Kashmir (Pakistan “administered”). It is on radical and incremental engagements through heartwork against the undoings, unravellings, and extrications of epistemic harms. It is an attempt to see                                                1 Manto was a playwright, author, and literary critic from India/Pakistan known for his interest in “atrocious” truths.  He is best known for his stories of betrayal (typically in intimate relationships) during the communal violence of Partition. Manto was harassed and undermined by both the Pakistani and Indian state which scrambled to ban and censor his writings.  2 and feel the multiply situated and unbounded labor, desires, and relationalities needed for some approximation of the social to allow life to flourish despite the violence it bestows. It weaves texture, color, pattern. The study does not seek to sustain a singular narrative; its arguments are adamantly plural,  “kaleidoscopic,”2 and elliptical.  It does not provide a singular place of landing nor guidance towards any one destination. It offers no easy solutions. It experiments with form and content to adequately reflect the complexity, non-linearity, and ambiguity which characterize the openness of life. In this way, it hopes to work against categorical thinking. This research is the work of wounds, heartbeats, and heartaches. It holds the reader and author accountable - to each other, to the text, and to research interlocutors. It does not provide instructions on how to read this text or arrive at conclusions. In these ways, the stories contained in this dissertation are burdensome and demanding. They will break your heart and ask you to fall in love. The dissertation explores chronicity- the confluence of multiple forms of violence in the body, subjectivity, and sociality.3 I examine how chronicity unfolds in everyday life, is particularly situated, localized, and contextual, and how people make incremental and/or radical adjustments in relation to each other and their social worlds. In other words, the research explores the social labor needed to maintain and extend life despite continuous diminishment and world-annihilation. I term this work as social repair. I ask: How can we understand social repair in settings of chronicity, if we bring to the forefront the analytical and philological opportunity and risk-taking made possible by a genuine devotion to lived and felt experience?  Therefore, the research is equally devoted to feeling as it is to looking and seeing, and approaches theory in a similar way. While this may appear to be an                                                2 Gert Biesta, The Beautiful Risk of Education (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2013), xi. 3 In the context of this work, multiple forms of violence include natural disasters, cross-border conflict, military and colonial occupation, state-making, and other structural forces.  3 exploration of coping,  I am more devoted to flourishing - a state where survival is not the ultimate desire for life.  The research takes place in two “sparsely populated” and relatively “remote” Himalayan valleys: Neelum (Kashmir) and Siran (Northern Pakistan).4 The people of Northern Pakistan and Kashmir articulate place-based citizenships- pahari genres of life- that afford us important entry points for re-imagining these expansive pahars. While both locations are distinctly shaped by historical and ongoing processes of state-making, coloniality, erasure, and infringement, I approach them outside their geopolitical boundedness. I understand the pahars of Kashmir and Northern Pakistan as a conglomeration of lived landscapes and situated intimacies, stitched together by heterogeneous movements and flows. This is my attempt to circumvent the normative truths of the sovereign (the “adjudicator of knowledge”) as the only valid complement to life and politics. This in part, is also informed by the daily struggles of the people of Kashmir and Northern Pakistan for political self-designation, self-description, and subjectivity, and how they frustrate the very essence of a Pakistani citizenship.  My entry into these pahars was relatively uneventful. I slipped past the various security check points that dot the region without raising any considerable alarms. Since I “look” and “act” Pakistani, nor the border, provincial, or military police deemed my entry into either valley as suspicious. Most likely, they assumed I was a tourist. With the help of two community organizations who offered to provide me protection (should I ever need it) and logistical support, I eventually managed to hire a team of locally residing research assistants. Next, we secured a vehicle. This was an old beat-up jeep with no seatbelts which over time proved its reliability and worth. On our first day, in anticipation of fieldwork, we                                                4 For a discussion on how Pakistan’s north is constructed as “remote” to justify various forms of conscription, see, Shafqat Hussain, Remoteness and Modernity (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2015).   4 drove to the nearest Bata Shoes to purchase new hiking boots. Even the driver wanted new shoes even though he wasn’t going to hike. He felt that the numerous times he will be hitting the brakes at every bend of the pahari road, will surely grind down his slippers. On our second day, we decided to draw a list of “vulnerabilities” that we thought will be helpful in identifying potential participants. Back then, the “language of vulnerability” was the only tool that was present in my conceptual repertoire. I did not know how else to find research participants. We asked some people in the village to help us locate those who corresponded with the “vulnerabilities” on our list.  This led to much debate and argument amongst the villagers who felt it was impossible to define people this way without full knowledge of the nature of their embeddedness within their families. They insisted on the relational and contextual nature of vulnerability. We tried to incorporate these considerations into out “list.” After much refinement, we managed to get some names. We decided to visit potential participants in their homes. This is how our journey in the pahars started.   These initial visits were the most awkward. This was mostly because I did not have the right language to communicate my intent, and potential participants had little interest in who I was, where I came from, and what I wanted to study. It took numerous cups of chai, hours of awkward small-talk, countless clumsy questions, and false starts before we reached some agreement on the importance of my research and their participation in it. Slowly, the awkwardness paved the way for more sustained and sincere engagements. As my circulation in the pahars increased, I went from being a stranger to a spectacle. I elaborate this transformation in later chapters.  My initial motivation was to study social repair and recovery with marginalized survivors after natural disasters. Both valleys were disrupted by a massive earthquake in 2005 and unprecedented monsoon floods in 2010. This decision was in part inspired by my experiences as a humanitarian, working in disaster recovery across Pakistan. I was also  5 dissatisfied with the schematic and definite ways contemporary disaster recovery literature approached disaster survivors. As my research began, I found that my interlocutors spoke very little about the disasters themselves. I also did not insist. Instead, they chose to share heartful stories such as those of betrayal, the roub (fear and hold) of the military, or just the sheer boredom of being young in these pahars. I attempted to listen quietly. Our conversations helped me consider that while the disasters were substantial events, they did not encapsulate the entirety of their experiences nor represented the full range of the violence at play. Eventually, I came to understand natural disasters as just another blow in a long durée of violations, diminishment, and dehumanization. I decided to focus my research on only those details of life which my interlocutors themselves deemed as urgent and compelling, and which they chose to share. Just like that, I threw out my interview questions and discarded my research proposal which I had spent the last six months perfecting. Surprisingly - or unsurprisingly, just a few weeks with my interlocutors overrode the many months I had spent reviewing literature and conceptualizing the breadth and scope of my project. Even my research questions became inadequate. I am grateful for the education imparted by my interlocutors. Noting the multiple forms of violence that foregrounds their stories, I shifted the focus of my study from disasters to chronicity.  Over repeated trips to the pahars, I have developed strange friendships and entanglements with my interlocutors. They hold the power to terrify and frustrate me, reduce me to tears, make me happy, confuse me, influence my thinking, and make me doubt my convictions and commitments. They demand my help, offer me assistance, and tolerate me in their homes and kitchens. At the same time, they consider it okay to ridicule my lack of physical fitness, fear of spiders, or the “uselessness” of my research in ways that are sufficiently pointed but hardly hurtful. In most cases, my research interlocutors have extended gestures of kindness and friendship as long as I am willing to learn their rules of  6 engagement. In this dissertation, to fully devote to their heartfulness, I turn to heartbeats (both theirs and mine) as “data” and site of engagement. I draw on multiple forms of carefully considered heartwork such as conversing around the fire and in the kitchen; circulating in the landscape, getting lost and incurring bodily injury; foraging the forests for food, cooking, and eating together; accepting each other’s vulnerabilities, imperfections, and fragility, and of course, “percolating” in “data.”  I seek to show that heartwork is hard work. My interlocutors are not securely placed within their families or communities. The protective guarantees of the state, community, or family rarely hold for them.  For example, some of them have permanent disabilities (such as blindness), are very alone and elderly, or are “beyond” the age of marriage. In this way, my interlocutors are non-normative, queer, and inspire anxiety, simply because they do not circumscribe to the rules by which I/we/you have come to know the world.  Their demands and expectations are out-of-this-world in terms of the sheer magnitude of the material and philological risks they are compelled to undertake. At the same time, I want to be careful to not cast my interlocutors as “exceptional,” to wrongfully imply that since they are so far out there, they are analytically unimportant and irrelevant to more centrally situated life projects. Instead, their hyper-vulnerabilities (exclusions on steroids) offer a unique view of sociality, one that remains unfazed by the readily available (and analytically insufficient) categories of family, community, or sovereignty. Their karwi-batain (atrocious truths) allow me to disentangle relations of power, decode social hierarchies, and notice discord and fragmentation in places which otherwise appear beautifully put-together. While their modes of inhabiting the world are practical, humble, materially grounded- they are exceptionally sophisticated in their theoretical offerings and raise urgent concerns which far exceed the tools I have as a researcher. Therefore, this study is about clearing obstacles (material, philological, or conceptual) to allow a grammar of life to emerge that can accommodate the willfulness of my interlocutors.  7 It is about learning to write with restraint as much it is about falling in love.  Historically, queer (the non-normative) has encompassed sexual practices and orientations that exceed permissible knowledge and sociality. Georgis writes: “Queer acts suspend knowable or teleological time and unhinge proper boundaries and habitual social relationalities.”5 Berlant reminds us that queer is “not a thing, it’s a relation.”6 Then, “might a queer aesthetic be understood as the reenactment of impossible desires and the impossible knowledge of relationality itself?”7 Queer demands “writing against finitude”- intentionally allowing ambiguity and fluidity within our literary, conceptual, and analytical genres to capture life and politics adequately.8 Georgis writes:  “For me, the queerest texts are the ones that provide the conditions for engaging with subjectivity’s aberrant desires when it comes into conflict with the existing better story.”9 How to then conceptualize the relation between queer and community? Chatterji asks: “Is the price of belonging a complete surrender of individual subjectivity in the guise of a gift? Does the falling away from normality compel individuals to offer up their bodies and their stories to the State?”10  The study works towards an analytical assemblage of social repair as opposed to a singular definition. It is organized mainly around six interconnected scenes. A scene is an insistence on finding relation and another way of connecting text: self with text, text with text. 11 The scenes have dual purpose. Firstly, true to form, each scene frames an urgent and                                                5 Dina Georgis, The Better Story (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2013), 15. 6 Lauren Berlant, “Starved,” in After Sex, eds. Janet Halley and Andrew Parker (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2011), 81. 7 Georgis, The Better Story, 14. 8 Veena Das, Life and Words (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2007), x-xi. 9 Georgis, The Better Story, 11. 10 Roma Chatterji, “Conversations, Generations, Genres,” in Wording the World, ed. Roma Chatterji (New York: Fordham University Press, 2015), 14. 11 A scene is a thought. It is an idea. It is an incomplete illustration. Swain believes a scene is a unit of conflict: “It is the account of an effort to attain a goal despite opposition. Its structure is (1) goal (2) conflict (3) disaster.” Garden believes a scene is a unit of time,  it is unbroken flow. See, Dwight V. Swain, Techniques of a Selling Writer (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965), 84-85 and John Gardner, The Art of Fiction (New York: Vintage Books, 1983), 59. Also, see, “How to Write a Scene: Purpose and Structure,” Now Novel, n.d., https://www.nownovel.com/blog/how-to-write-a-novel-scene/.  8 compelling condition of life as shared by my interlocutors. Secondly, when read in parallel, they offer a conceptual web that acknowledges plural and multiple readings of repair. At various points in the text, these two purposes may be seen as competing or complementing each other or both. This is a tension that runs throughout the text. The scenes are not evenly written, and each performs certain work. They do not need to be read in any particular order and are written as complete manuscripts.  Their numbering does not suggest sequence but simply implies quantity. This is a modest effort on my part to challenge the temporality and sequence of evidence building and theory generation. This is an important caveat given chronicity does not have a singular timescape, nor is it composed of a continuously flowing current of successive and irreversible moments. The work of one scene may appear to contradict or challenge the work of another; these incongruences are purposefully maintained to reflect life’s openness and indeterminacy. The scenes are accompanied by poetic interludes which offer to take the reader’s pulse and are modest expressions of accountability to the reader. Together, the scenes and interludes form the “fictions of social repair.” 12  This dissertation is also written through photographs.  These are taken by myself, as well as by my research interlocutors and research assistants. They provide a narrative arc of their own. Some of the images are titled for context and others are purposefully left untitled, so that their generative offerings are not undermined. The photographs contribute to the sensory dimensions of entanglement:  “an intimate and proximal practice, a mimetic form of                                                12 Many others have wondered about the potentiality of “fiction.” Visweswaran talks about the fictions of ethnography and the ethnography in fiction to unpack the partiality of knowledge and the violations involved in writing about the lives of others. Augé’ characterizes his book No Fixed Abode as “ethnofiction,” an intermingling of ethnographic research and fictional narrative. He writes about Henri, a retired tax inspector and aspiring writer in Paris who becomes homeless. He tells the readers that Henri is not a “real person” but a composite of “the thousand and one details observed in everyday life.” See, Kamala Visweswaran, Fictions of Feminist Ethnography (Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1994) and Marc Augé, No Fixed Abode, trans. Chris Turner (Seagull Books, 2013), vii.  9 analysis;”13 the convergence of the hepatic and erotic;14 where analysis becomes “touching, not mastering.”15 Chronicity constitutes a particular site of learning; how people make life viable despite and within conditions of diminishment by drawing on their bodies, emotions, landscapes, and relationships as sites of knowledge. This implicit focus on learning is also helpful for considering the researcher who stumbles, falls, and makes mistakes during research.  This is one reason why this dissertation was written in the Department of Educational Studies. I also chose the department to minimize disciplinary demands and expectations. Of course, over time, I have developed my own intellectual biases and inclinations, but these are ones that I can substantiate and call my own. In other words, the project draws upon multiple bodies, frames, and aesthetics of knowledge, to extend understandings of social repair and chronicity in ways that are defiant and irreverent, for they do not pay homage to any singular discipline or tradition. There are many bodies in the room which inform this work despite not directly making their way into its pages. This includes my “research assistants” - a label that diminishes the true extent of their involvement. The project would not have taken its current direction without their insistence that we do not always need to create spaces of listening; but they often already exist amongst us, and sometimes all that is required is to learn their rules of engagement.  My research assistants have made important contributions to this project and the multiple journeys it necessitated. This includes not just the “collection” of “data” but also reflecting upon it deeply to draw out its richness. In addition to accompanying me to sites of                                                13 Sevasti-Melissa Nolas and Christos Varvantakis, “Entanglements That Matter,” Entanglements: Experiments in Multimodal Ethnography 1, no. 1 (2018), 2. 14 Marks writes: “Haptic looking tends to rest on the surface of its object rather than to plunge into depth, not to distinguish form so much as to discern texture. It is a labile, plastic sort of a look, more inclined to move than to focus.” See, Laura U. Marks, Touch: Sensuous Theory (Minnesota, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002), 8. 15 Nolas and Varvantakis, “Entanglements,” 2.  10 insight and wonder, they also sat beside me in stuck places where little made sense, and everything felt daunting. For now, I have only opted for their modest inclusion in these pages. I have attempted to invoke them at critical moments in the text as quiet notes on their presence and contributions. I am mindful of the need to think more carefully about how to better honor our allies within our writings. As a parting token of appreciation, I feel compelled to take their names:  Nusrat Jamal, Shahzad Aslam, Ambreen Khan, Mubashir Nawaz Khan, Muhammad Shoaib, Fawad Aslam, and Saeed Khan. At the very least, I am indebted to them for placing their trust in me and extending an invitation into their communities.  I am hopeful that the following pages will demonstrate that I did not take this privilege lightly.  11                                Image 2. Gulab Jan (photograph by Saeed Khan)  12                                Image 3. A shrine (photograph by the author)  13                               Image 4. Mubashir and Zakir (photograph by the author)  14                           Image 5. A wedding ceremony (photograph by Ali Akbar Shah)  15                      Image 6. Untitled (photograph by the author)  16  Image 7. A sign board in Muzaffarabad (capital of Pakistan “administered” Kashmir) lists the city of Srinagar (the summer capital of Indian “administered” Kashmir) (photograph by the author)  17                            Image 8. Untitled (photograph by the author)  18  Image 9.  Remains of a monastery which was once a celebrated site of learning in the Himalayan region. These remains stand near the Line of Control which divides Kashmir between Pakistan and India (photograph by the author)  19                           Image 10. Untitled (photograph by Rihanna Tahir)  20                 Image 11. Untitled (photograph by the author)  21                     Image 12. Naqsh Jan (photograph by Fawad Khan)  22                              Image 13. Untitled (photograph by Rihanna Tahir)  23                                             Image 14. Untitled (photograph by the author)  24                          Image 15. Qari Safeer (photograph by the author) 25 HEARTWORK  To understand how people  flourish under chronicity demands a redrawing of the very parameters of research regarding how we approach “data” but also what constitutes our site of engagement, and how we choose to express our devotion and to whom. I turn towards the heart and ask what does an analysis from the heart offer? What if we see the world this way? I draw upon Islamic and feminist epistemologies to learn more about the heart.  I focus on heartbeats to understand data as gift and heartwork as being integral to honoring entanglements with research interlocutors. I pause at the heart’s propensity for breakage and appreciate the productive and generative offerings of heartaches. While a lot of attention is directed at the author, should more be also demanded from the reader (the “adjudicator of knowledge”)?   Imam Ghazali (1058-1111), a renown Muslim theologian, jurist, and philosopher was returning home after spending several years seeking knowledge in Nishapur (a city in contemporary Iran) which at the time was an important hub for Islamic scholarship. He has with him in a neat bundle all his notes which he painstakingly maintained while attending various study circles and lectures. He joins a caravan to travel home. At some point in the journey, the convoy is attacked by a band of thieves who one by one strip each traveler of their valuables. When it is Imam Ghazali’s turn, he pleads: “Take all you want, but not my notes!” The robbers inquire what is so special about the bundle of notes? Imam Ghazali responds: “This is my knowledge, collected through years of study. If you take them, all my knowledge will be lost!” One of the bandits scoffs: “What kind of knowledge is this, which  26 can be stolen? If I burn them, what will be left behind?”16 “What you have told me fills me with great sorrow and regret. Is your knowledge on pieces of paper, when it should be in your heart?” 17   The heart is a state of flux; unstable, precarious, transformative, and therefore political. The heart is also the first place of encounter with knowledge, the primary site where knowledge makes it mark.18 The adage “thinking from the heart” alludes that the heart possesses capacities that exceed its materiality. The heart is emotive, reactive, insightful:  it can process knowledge but also reject it without giving it a chance. It can sink, rise to your throat, or it can ground.  It symbolizes strength and conviction but is also extremely vulnerable; a source of inspiration and desire as well as a site of profound injury and great sensitivity. The heart is full of contradictions: love/hate, anger/calm, vengeance/forgiveness, jealousy/content- all seem to co-exist.   I ask what does an analysis from the heart offer? What if we see the world this way? I take inspiration from Ling’s assertion that “without a substantial overhaul in how we understand the world (epistemology), we can’t change what we think of it (ontology), or do about it (methods and methodology).”19 Similarly, de Sousa Santos reminds us of the systematic erasure of knowledges outside Western rationality and argues that pre-Westphalian histories, religions, spiritual traditions, philosophies, and worldviews should be considered in our scholarship to counter colonial “epistemicide.”20 I seek guidance from the heart for analytical emancipation.                                                  16 See “Box of Knowledge,” 2014, http://mograimran.blogspot.ca/2014/06/lessons-from-bandit.html. 17 See Abd al-Karim Crow, “Mind and Heart of al-Ghazali,” August 2001, https://www.ghazali.org/articles/heart-mind-kdc.htm. 18 Mehmet Yavoz Seker, “A Map of the Divine Subtle Faculty” (PhD diss., Australian Catholic University, 2012). 19 L.H.M Ling, “Postcolonial-Feminism,” Postcolonial Studies 19, no. 4 (2016), 479. 20 de Sousa Santos describes epistemicide as the “murder of knowledge.” See, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Epistemologies of the South (New York: Routledge, 2014), 92.   27 In this chapter, I attempt three things. First, I trace the heart within Islamic and feminist traditions to see how the heart is understood in complementary ways, particularly as a site, source, receiver, repository, and adjudicator of knowledge. Secondly, I read the heart in parallel to the etymological root of “data” which is “an offering” (or “a gift”). Such a reading of  “data” as rich and affective enables me to trace the wisdom within Imam Ghazali’s story, i.e. knowledge is that which resides in the heart, that which moves us, what is left behind after an encounter. Finally, I focus on another important quality of the heart: its propensity for injury. I draw attention to heartaches and heartbreaks as productive conditions, not lamentable states which must be wished away but necessary ontological positions needed to understand life in chronicity.  I conclude that an investment of the heart warrants the redrawing of the very parameters of research, not only regarding how we approach data but also what constitutes our site of engagement, and how we choose to express our devotion and to whom.   Islamic ßàFeminist Heart(s) “Our heart is as big as our entanglements” - unknown In Jorge Luis Borges’s short story “The Circular Ruins,” the protagonist tries to dream a man into existence. He dreams an audience of students and selects one to focus on but fails to generate a fully-formed individual. He then tries a new method: starting with the beating heart and working his way outwards. Only then he is successful.21 In this section, I explore some of the ways the heart is taken up in relation to knowledge within Islamic and feminist thought. I understand that there is no singular terrain of Islam or feminism and I do not want to give the impression of a false consensus within                                                21 Jorge Luis Borges, “The Circular Ruins,” in The Garden of Forking Paths, trans. Norman Thomas Di Giovanni (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 1941), as quoted in Anne Pollock, “Heart Feminism,” Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience 1, no. 1 (2015), 15.  28 either body of knowledge. I simply turn to Islam and feminism as modes of engagement with the world.  I want to understand the heart in relation to knowledge in both traditions to then return to my earlier assertion that very powerful research can be produced when one chooses to honor the heart. Why am I turning to Islam to look for language on the heart? For one, my research interlocutors are Muslim and adhere to multiple forms of spiritual devotions which I recognize as Islam. Secondly, I am also Muslim and so far, I have not been encouraged by my academic training to welcome Islam as a body of knowledge into my writings. This then becomes a doubly-decolonial move.22 Thirdly, much like in feminism, the heart occupies a compelling place within Islam.  This is a perfect political moment to signify the centrality of the heart in both modes of engagement to suggest multiple proliferations and formations within Islam(s) and feminism(s) and their overlaps. I appreciate the challenges in attempting this given the tensions between feminism and Islam23 but I am also mindful of the common grounds that exist.24             …. of Islamic heart(s) The word qalb (heart) in Arabic25  can be translated as follows: i) “turning something inside out, inverting and transforming”26  ii) “changing something from its existing state to another state”27                                                 22 By decolonial, I mean a stance where Euro-American thought is not the only point of reference for knowledge. See, Editorial Board, “ReOrient,” ReOrient 1, no. 1 (2015). 23  See, e.g., Ziba Mir-Hosseini, “Muslim Women,” Critical Inquiry 32, no. 4 (2006); Shahrzad Mojab, “Theorizing Politics,” Feminist Review 69, no. 1 (2001) and Bronwyn Winter, “Fundamental Misunderstandings,” Journal of Women’s History 13, no. 1 (2001). 24 See, e.g., Margot Badran, “Islam’s Other Half,”  The Guardian, November 2008, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2008/nov/09/islam-women; Margot Badran, “Between Secular and Islamic Feminism/s,” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 1, no. 1 (2005); Asma Barlas, “Engaging Islamic Feminism,” in Islamic Feminism, ed. Anitta Kynselehto (Tampaere, Finland: Tampaere Peace Research Institute, 2008) and  Nilüfer Gole, “Snapshots of Islamic Modernities.” Daedalus 129, no. 1 (2000). 25 Arabic is the language of the Quran but not the only language of Muslims. However, many classical texts on Islam have been written in this language. 26Ismail ibn Hammad al-Jawhari, Taj Al-Lugha (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1998), 204. 27Imam Raghib al-Isfahani, Mufradat Alfadh Al-Qur’an (Damascus: Dar al-Qalam, 2002), 411.   29 iii) “turning and rotating an object [and] changing its direction”28  iv) “turning something upside-down, inside out, left-to-right, right-to-left and front-to-back”29  Prophet Mohammed is reported to have said: “The heart is like a feather in a desolate field, which the winds keep turning over and over.”30  Faced with the overwhelmingly complex task of developing a comprehensive understanding of the heart within a living tradition of knowledge that dates back to the 7th century (Islam), this brief review is not intended to be exhaustive. Some might even consider my reading of this material as a “secular reading.” I find this term unhelpful and an example of colonial segregation which demands that the secular and religious must exist as dichotomies and that one cannot inform the other. Similarly, the term “secular Islam” is also problematic and understood unevenly.31 My premise is rather simple: Why cannot Muslims as well as those who do not identify spiritually with Islam, learn from Islam, the same way those within and outside the feminist movement are free to draw from it?  Islamic scholarship too has its internal struggles with categories and dichotomies. The heart is often considered to be the preoccupation of “Muslim Sufis” who seem to be at odds with Muslim jurists.32 A lively internal debate exists on which dimension of Islam should be given primacy:  spirituality (which resides in the heart) or ritual, and whether the two can                                                28 Muhammad ibn al-Yaqub Firuzabadi, Basa’ir Dhawi (Beirut: al-Maktabah al-’Ilmiyyah, n.d.), 281. 29 Firuzabadi, Basa’ir Dhawi, 281. 30 Ibn-Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah (Beirut: Dar al-Ma’rifa, 1996), 10. 31 Anna Momigliano, “What Does It Mean,” The Atlantic, April 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/04/italy-secular-muslims/523644/. 32 As any project of categorisation, this is not the most useful of distinctions and there is danger in understanding Sufism as some kind of discrete Islamic sect or uniform body of thought outside of everyday practices and embodiments of Islam. See, e.g., Shadi Hamid, “Misunderstanding the Victims,” The Atlantic, November 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/11/sufis-egypt-mosque-sinai/546752/ and H.A. Hellyer, “Dangerous Myths,” The Atlantic, November 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/11/airbrushing-sufi-muslims-out-of-modern-islam/546794/.  30 even be separated. 33  The heart in Islamic epistemology is understood as the mirror on which the meanings of the unseen are reflected and on which wisdom descends.34 The heart is the “sum of all human potential,”35 a person’s “inner world,”36  a “site of knowing and perception.”37 In many interpretations of Islam, there is a hierarchy of knowledge. The ultimate form of knowledge is considered to be that which leads to the recognition of Allah (a singular God), so the heart then becomes the place wherein resides the “potential of profound awareness and understanding of God.”38  There are diverging views on what this means, and many have understood all forms of knowledge as leading to Allah, particularly those knowledges which can be mobilized for some vision of social justice.39 Seker traces the multiple ways the heart is understood within Islamic epistemology and scholarship.40 In his reading of the landscape, the heart is a shelter, vehicle, and source for knowledge; a site of contemplation and remembrance, insight and perception, understanding and discernment.  According to Seker, the inability to use the heart’s innate faculty of insight and perception is synonymous with the inability to reason. He links the heart’s capacity to acquire and produce knowledge with action. Nasr argues against the need to separate cognition from emotion and understands perception, comprehension, and understanding as essential dimensions of the heart.41 Imam Ghazali takes this even further                                                33 Bilal Sambur, “From the Dichotomy,” in Theorizing Faith, ed. Elisabeth Arweck and Martin D. Stringer (Birmingham, United Kingdom: The University of Birmingham Press, 2002), 21. 34Jurgen Wasim Frembgen, Journey to God, trans. Jane Ripken (Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2008), 5. 35Kabir Helminski, The Knowing Heart (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1999), 11. 36 Muhammad ibn Ali al-Tirmidhi, Bayan Al-Farq (Cairo: Dar Ihya’ al-Kutub al-’Arabiyya, 1958), 33. 37 Ismail Haqqi al-Bursawi, Ruh Al-Bayan (Istanbul: Mektebetu Eser, 1969), 30. 38 Abu Hafs Umar al-Suhrawardi, Awarif Al-Ma’arif, ed. Adib Al-Kamdani and Al-Mustafa Muhammad Mahmud (Mecca: al-Maktaba al-Makkiya, 2001), 10. 39  See, e.g.,  Bekim Agai, “Fethullah Gülen,” Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies 11, no. 1 (2002); Omer Aijazi and Leonora C. Angeles, “Extra-Religious Functions of Islamic Schools,” Community Development 45, no. 5 (2014); Peter Mandaville, “Globalization,” Theory, Culture & Society 24, no. 2 (2007); Gregory Starrett, Putting Islam to Work (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1998) and Omid Safi, ed.  Progressive Muslims (Oxford, United Kingdom: Oneworld Publishers, 2003). 40 Mehmet Yavoz Seker, A Map of the Divine Subtle Faculty (New Jersey: Tughra, 2013). 41 Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Sufi Essays (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1973).  31 and understands human-beings as being entirely composed of the heart.42 He situates the heart at the center of a person’s spiritual faculties which in turn guide material actions.  For Imam Ghazali, a person is as human as their heart.              …. of feminist heart(s) I am drawn to feminism because of its acknowledgement of heartwork. In her provocative paper “Gut Feminism,” Wilson points towards a feminism that thinks innovatively and organically.43 She alerts us to the neurological system that extends well beyond the brain such as in the gut and asserts that the gut is generative (as is “thinking from the gut”). Pollock makes a similar case for the heart (and “thinking from the heart”). She writes: “The domain of the heart is thus much larger than that instantly recognizable organ: the circulatory system makes the heart's work necessarily dispersed.”44 Earlier feminist debates contest why conceptual and scientific thinking (thinking with the brain) is considered a masculine project, whereas thinking emotively (thinking from the heart) is labelled as feminine.45  They argue that such binaries are based on the premise that the brain is able to maintain disconnections from the wider demands on the subject which the heart cannot. Pollock calls such an intuitive attention to one’s self and others – the mundane knowledge gleaned from everyday life -as knowledge of “heartbeats.”46 She writes: “Because we can feel our own heartbeat, and that of others with whom we are intimate, the heartbeat has been and will remain powerful as a way for lay people to answer the question of who is alive.”47                                                42 Imam Ghazali, The Marvels of the Heart, trans. Walter James Skellie (Kentucky: Fons Vitae, 2010). 43Elizabeth A. Wilson, “Gut Feminism,” Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 15, no. 3 (2004), 86. 44 Pollock, “Heart Feminism,” 6. 45 See, e.g., Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections on Gender (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1985), as quoted in Pollock, “Heart Feminism,” 5. 46 Pollock, “Heart Feminism,” 3. 47 Ibid., 13.  32  An investment in heartbeats is a feminist project requiring dedication, it is a careful orientation of work.48 A devotion to heartbeats means also directing attention to those experiences that typically remain outside analytical purview. This can be both burdensome and exhausting. The “hydraulic heart”49 may be loaded with all sorts of pressures and injustices which demands a far more thoughtful and radical engagement with the world.50 The heart is obligated to respond to all these wide-intersecting demands; it is its job to respond to load. Pollock explains that heart failure is not a result of any intrinsic injury of the heart but rather from the excessive burden placed by the body (everything around it).51 She asks: “What if the heart and its failure can become ways of thinking about objects in the world? What does a model of an object that is intrinsically burdened and thus doomed do…… for feminist theory?”52 In her book “Speaking from the Heart,” Manning argues that caring and personal experience provides a far more rewarding ethical life then principle-based ethics.53 Feminist approaches have long argued that feminist epistemology should be grounded in the heart, situated in activism and caring labor.54 Emotion is considered as being central and integral to the construction of knowledge55 and learning.56 The heart is considered to be an important                                                48 Also see, Go’s work on “pulse-taking” as a feminist engagement: Chaya Ocampo Go, “Kababayen-an Han Karak-an” (MA diss., University of British Columbia, 2016). 49 Pollock, “Heart Feminism,” 12. 50 Penny Weiss, “Getting to the Roots,” WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 41, no. 3/4 (2013).  51 Pollock, “Heart Feminism.” 52 Ibid., 11. 53 Rita C. Manning, Speaking from the Heart (Lanham, MD: Littlefield Publishers, 1992). 54 See, e.g., Berenice Fisher, “The Heart Has Its Reasons,” WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 21, no. 3/4 (1993) and Hilary Rose, “Hand, Brain, and Heart,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 9, no. 1 (1983). 55 Alison Jaggar, “Love and Knowledge,” Inquiry-An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 32, no. 2 (1989) and Dian Million, “Felt Theory,” Wicazo Sa Review 24, no. 2 (2009). 56 Jennifer Musial, “Engaged Pedagogy,” Feminist Teacher 21, no. 3 (2011) and Becky W. Thompson, Teaching with Tenderness (Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2017).  33 receiver of knowledge57 invested in the creation of a more “accurate, complex, multi-dimensioned, truthful perception of the world.”58    The Quran makes numerous references to the “sealed heart,” a condition of attrition which prevents the recognition of truth and knowledge. It further alludes that the heart must also be adequately cultivated and nurtured for it to be able to honor knowledge.59 In Islamic traditions, this cultivation is grounded specifically within various forms of piety such as remembering Allah, speaking the truth, acting justly, playing with one’s children, being kind, remembering death, and being hopeful. Some of these discussions are not so different from discussions on cultivating a feminist heart, for example through playfulness, doing the “right” thing, searching for authenticity, hope, and love.60    Robots A pizzeria in the bustling Pakistani city of Multan uses a robot to serve pizza to customers. The restaurant has made headlines in local newspapers and on television and people come from near and far to see the robot in action.61 To be more specific, the robot is a “waitress,” the restaurant owner commented: “The female body shape is helping the machine to maintain the weight it is carrying. We have put a scarf around her neck to make clear that it is a female robot.”62                                                                                      57 Jo-Ann Archibald, Indigenous Story Work (Vancouver, British Columbia: University of British Columbia Press, 2008) and Robin Jarvis Brownlie and Valerie J Korinek, eds. Finding a Way to the Heart (Winnipeg, Manitoba: University of Manitoba Press, 2012). 58 Minnie Bruce Pratt, “Skin Blood Heart.” WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 11, no. 3 (1983), 16. 59 See, e.g., Feryad Hussain, “Heart-Talk,” Journal of Religion and Health 52, no. 4 (2013). 60 See, e.g., Shauna Butterwick and Maren Elfert, “Women Social Activists,” The Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education 27, no. 1 (2015); María Lugones, “Playfulness,” Hypatia 2, no. 2 (1987) and Marilyn McKinley Parrish and Edward W. Taylor, “Seeking Authenticity,” Adult Education Quarterly 57, no. 3 (2007). 61 See this video of the “robot waitress” in action: Dawn News, “Robotic Service Introduced in Multan Restaurant,” July 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjRAEkw4rYk&feature=youtu.be. 62 Shakeel Ahmed, “Robot Serves Food,” Dawn, March 2017, https://www.dawn.com/news/1318249.  34  Image 16. The “female” robot (copyrights: SS MIRZA/AFP/Getty Images)  The robotic waitress can only deliver food to a table. It cannot take orders or interact with customers: greet them, ask about their day, recommend a menu item, smile, pull a baby’s cheek, extend any other gesture of kindness, or develop a relationship. Moreover, the robot does not even have a name. In other words, the robot cannot attune to heartbeats. Contrast the pizzeria robot -a robot without a heart- with Data from Star Trek who is all heart. According to his Wikipedia page:                                        Image 17. Data from Star Trek (image obtained from Wikipedia)  35                                                 Data is an artificial intelligence and synthetic life form.... Data is a self-aware, sapient, sentient, and anatomically fully functional android who serves as the second officer and chief operations officer aboard the Federation starships USS Enterprise-D and USS Enterprise-E. His positronic brain allows him impressive computational capabilities. Data experienced ongoing difficulties during the early years of his life with understanding various aspects of human behavior and was unable to feel emotion or understand certain human idiosyncrasies, inspiring him to strive for his own humanity. This goal eventually led to the addition of an "emotion chip"…Although Data's endeavor to increase his humanity and desire for human emotional experience is a significant plot point (and source of humor) throughout the series, he consistently shows a nuanced sense of wisdom, sensitivity, and curiosity, garnering immense respect from his peers and colleagues.63  These robots as metaphors, in their heartlessness and heartfulness, allude to the centrality of the heart in tapping into human idiosyncrasies, reciprocating relationality, and of course attuning to heartbeats.  Data as Gift My work seeks to understand chronicity and social repair as gleaned from the lived and felt experiences of my research interlocutors in Northern Pakistan and Kashmir. During “fieldwork,” I made provisions to compensate my research interlocutors for their time by paying them a stipend. Most participants accepted these payments- some with reservation,                                                63 See, “Data (Star Trek),” Wikipedia, n.d., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_(Star_Trek) (emphasis mine).  36 some with a feigned smile, some with a frown. One day, one of my interlocutors could not contain himself. He burst out angrily:   You keep on saying that you are giving me this money in exchange for the time I have spent with you. The truth is, this isn’t an equal exchange [my time is far more valuable than your monetary compensation]. I am making room for you in my life, I am inviting you into my home, I am giving you my time, take it as a gift, not as some object of transaction [and exchange].”   The etymological root of data is to “give,” something that is given- perhaps it can be understood as a gift. 64 What then does it then mean to understand data as a gift? I respond to this question in two ways, first by trying to understand a gift as an invitation towards reciprocity and second by focusing on its affective dimensions. Testart argues that there are distinctions between an “exchange” and “gift.”65 According to him, a gift does not demand reciprocity, it is something that is given without the expectations of reciprocity. He offers a definition of a gift: “It is a transfer which implies the renunciation of any right over this good as well as of any right that might arise from this transfer, in particular, that of requiring anything by way of counterpart; and that is not itself required.”66 Tesrart’s definition implies an asymmetrical form of giving with no strings attached, no honor to uphold, no limits to usage. It is dangerous to equate data with such an understanding of a gift, without worrying about its exploitation and about epistemic violence.                                                64 See, “Data,” Online Etymology Dictionary, n.d., https://www.etymonline.com/word/data. 65 Alain Testart, “What Is a Gift?” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 3, no. 1 (2013). 66Ibid., 260, (emphasis mine).  37 But a gift is not a self-contained act,67 it opens up the possibilities and likelihood of reciprocity, it extends an invitation to one’s world.  In Islamic epistemology, a gift requires reciprocity but there are no expectations of equivalence. For example, according to Prophet Mohammed one is obliged to return a gift (or a favor) in ways that exceed it or match it or in ways in which it does not. If one does not have the material resources to repay a gift, then one is encouraged to pray for the gift-giver and extend well-wishes (make added room in the heart).68   In fact, there is a distinction between charity and gift.  Ibn Taymiyah (a Muslim theologian alive between 1263-1328) stated that Sadaqah (charity) is that which is given for the sake of Allah as an act of worship, without intending to give it to a specific person and without seeking anything in return. Rather Sadaqah is given for charitable causes, such as to the needy. A gift is given with the intention of honoring a specific person, either because the recipient is your friend whom you love, or because you want something in return.69                                                 67 Zygmunt Bauman, Postmodern Ethics (Oxford, United Kingdom: Willey-Blackwell, 1993). 68 See, “Giving Gifts,” Islamweb.net, June 2009, http://www.islamweb.net/en/article/135329/giving-gifts-in-islam. 69 Ibid.   38  Image 18. People would often give me their choicest cucumber plucked from their gardens as a gift to take home (photograph by the author)   Vaughan understands reciprocity in gift-giving outside of a contractual exchange-based interaction.70 Vaughan proposes word-gifts, as tools of creating convivial experiences that transcend the dichotomy between the social and the material. She writes: “It is useful also to consider the materiality of words as somewhere between goods and services, because the gifts on the nonverbal plane which they re-present, may also be of varying degrees of materiality.”71 She touches upon the idea of “evil gifts” which may result in an adverse or antagonistic relationship. Clark notes that gifting is often considered in a finite economic system in which the objects in circulation are limited and stoic.72 In such a “parsimonious relation to the world,” the gift can only be a calculated exchange in to maximize benefit.73                                                70 Genevieve Vaughan, For-Giving (Austin: Plain View Press, 1997). 71 Ibid., 18. 72 Nigel Clark, “Disaster and Generosity,” The Geographical Journal 171, no. 4 (2005). 73 Clark, “Generosity,” 93.  39 Lingis argues that a gift can only be a gift if there is “an element of impetuousness, recklessness in it.”74 Diprose approaches gift-giving as an openness to others that exceeds the bounds of an exchange-based contract.75 She reminds us that everyday life is contingent on opening up to others. She believes that the gift can never remain unrecognized/unnoticed on a corporeal level. She presents the idea of “intercorporeal generosity” which creates politically generative relationalities where the self is given to others.76 In her reasoning, while a gift may or may not be material, resultant productions of identities, socialities, and relationship are. And therefore, gifts are materially and affectively generative producing unknowable and immeasurable outcomes, a radical opening up of unknowable events, a debt that a body owes to another. 77 Young states that the only proper response to a gift is acceptance.78 She argues that the relations of offering and acceptance embedded in a gift are intrinsically asymmetrical. She writes: “I don’t return, I accept. If later I give you a gift, it is a new offering, with its own asymmetry.”79 The asymmetry in reciprocity is further compounded by time which separates each relation of giving and receiving. She believes that while an exchange of gift reaffirms a reciprocity, “there is no measure of equivalence,” each gesture is qualitative unique.80 She explains:                                                  74 Alphonso Lingis, Dangerous Emotions (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2000),  174–5. 75 Rosalyn Diprose, Corporeal Generosity (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2012). 76 Ibid., 90. 77 Nigel Clark, “Animal Interface,” in Where the Wild Things Are, ed. Rebecca Cassidy and Molly Mullin (New York and Oxford: Berg, 2007). 78 Iris Marion Young, “Asymmetrical Reciprocity,” Constellations 3, no. 3 (1997). 79 Ibid., 356. 80 Ibid.  40 The temporal interval makes each act of giving, moreover, an opening rather than the closing of a deal. The equality that our relation of giving creates between us is produced by the substantive and temporal difference which I here call asymmetry.81  A gift can make us joyous, happy, or even sad (if it is a terrible or nostalgic gift). It surely has affective properties. It is “something” whose properties exceed what it is (its intrinsic value) because of what it contributes as a result of an asymmetrical exchange between people. The gift of data is that which moves us, the “residue of an encounter.”82  Data is our heartbeats as well as those of others. Data is small-talk.83 Data is affective entanglement that burdens, weighs us down, or conversely re-charges and re-invigorates. If we return to Imam Ghazali’s story in which a robber ridicules him for thinking his knowledge is contained in his papers rather than his heart, than data too is what resides in the heart, not just what is in our notebooks, computers, and cameras.                                                        81 Ibid. 82 Lisa Baraitser, “Make Things Public.” Feminist Review 93, no. 1 (2009), 16. 83 Karan Mahajan, “American Small Talk,” The New Yorker, July 2016, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/my-struggle-with-american-small-talk.  41     Image 19. Untitled (photograph by the author)    42 Heartwork “I am a violent being, full of fiery storms and other catastrophic phenomena. And yet I can’t do more than begin this and begin again because I have to eat myself, as if my body is food, in order to write.”          -Kathy Acker84  When I returned home from fieldwork, I could not bring myself to open my suitcase full of “data.”  What a terrifying gift! It took me another six months to get to it. When I finally did develop the courage to pull out my notebooks, audio recorders, cameras, and transcripts, I decided to spend the next several months meticulously organizing the material. I used colored coded binders, labels, tabs - whatever would help me achieve some order.     Image 20. Some of my "data.” There are perhaps not as profound as Imam Ghazali’s bundle of notes (photograph by the author)                                                 84 Kathy Acker, “The End of the World,” in Posthuman Bodies, eds. Judith Halberstam and Ira Livingston (Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1995), 66.   43 Without looking too much as the contents of my suitcase, I kept a journal to record what I remembered and felt from engagements with my research interlocutors. (Interestingly these vivid journals along with the ones that I maintained during fieldwork ended up as constituting much of my “empirical data” in my writing).  For me, this was important preparation to work with the data, a journey in its own self. Again, I am not talking about coding and analysis but developing the vocabulary, courage, and the affective tools to thoughtfully engage with the material. This percolation in data, is a kind of work where stories are circulated and re-circulated in one’s heart to work through and achieve a triangulation of the body, mind, and spirit.85 These are necessary gestures of waiting to allow “the knowledge of the other to mark me [us].”86  Soon the university started chasing me for progress reports. What shall I write to them?, I thought. That for the last year I have been “percolating in data”? How can I demonstrate “thinking” as progress? In an interview, Margarethe von Trotta the director of the biopic on Hanna Arendt admits the challenges of depicting “thinking” on camera which is both an intense emotional investment and also an exhausting one.87 In the film thinking takes the visual form of smoking cigarettes, lying down in a day bed, and staring at the ceiling.88 I also considered posing in photographs smoking cigarettes, lying down in a day bed, and staring at the ceiling- and submitting them to the university clerk. While I am no Hannah Arendt nor am I in a film, I do believe there is a lack of discussion on thinking and percolating, how it is an important yet invisible component of the                                                85 Manulani Aluli Meyer, “Indigenous and Authentic,” in Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies, eds. Norman K. Denzin, Yvonna S. Lincoln, and Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Los Angeles: Sage, 2008). 86 Veena Das, Life and Words (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2007), 17. 87 Brandon Harris, “Margarethe Vin Trotta,” Film Maker Magazine, May 2013. http://filmmakermagazine.com/71699-margarethe-von-trotta-on-hannah-arendt/#.WnfQpIJG3dd. 88 For an article in the New Yorker on the over-glorification of thinking and how poorly it was depicted in the film on Hannah Arendt, see, Richard Brody, “Hannah Arendt,” The New Yorker, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/hannah-arendt-and-the-glorification-of-thinking.  44 research process. Much like working with your hands, such as knitting and weaving, thinking too is a material and affective, a form of praxis where ideas are weaved into the fabric of human existence.89 I consider thinking/percolating/brooding important genres of heartwork. Returning to my dilemma: How to demonstrate progress to the university? At that point in time, it seemed reasonable to see a counsellor to get some “legitimate paperwork.” I want to share an excerpt of my conversation with the counsellor (which I quickly jotted down from memory in my journal):  Counsellor (C): You need to stop stealing from the pain of others. By feeling their pain, you are diminishing their right /ability to claim their pain and express it. Omer (O): How can anyone stop feeling the pain of others? C: Every time you step out into the world, imagine a bubble around you, or imagine yourself wrapped in bubble wrap, separate yourself. To continue doing your work, you need to distance yourself from the pain of your clients/participants. Imagine you are surrounded by a protective shield. O: But that is the opposite of a feminist engagement and the etiquettes of being a Muslim, how can I write about my interlocutors without understanding the corporeal, spiritual, and affective dimensions of the harms and exclusions they face? C:  But by taking on their pain, you are taking away something from them, it hampers their ability to fully experience that pain. O: Wait, isn’t that a good thing? C: No! If you take on the pain of others, you take away from their experience, it taints your ability to see them and listen.                                                89 Marjorie Suchocki, “Weaving the World,” Process Studies 14, no. 2 (1985).    45 O: What kind of seeing and listening is this? Which won’t haunt me, interrupt my sleep, discombobulate?  C: You should understand that by allowing people to speak and voice their experiences to you, you are providing incredible therapeutic possibilities for them. O:  Then I am sure I must have changed many lives. C: My advice to you, is to develop strategies to minimize your emotional investment. You need to clinically remove yourself, so you can see impartially. O: But listening is an embodied experience. It is meant to be exhausting and depleting. That is why it prompts you to work. Otherwise, it isn’t listening is it? [to heartbeats]  With the help of the above excerpt, I want to make two interventions: 1) Heartwork is not always beautiful, pleasing, and pleasant. You might end up at the shrink’s office. 2) There is opposition to heartwork, and the opposition can be defeating.  Heartwork is Hard Work “You need to do the digging. Learn other languages. Do more research. Read. Keep doing the work that will take you back to see where this will lead you. No one likes to speak like this. Just keep reading and then tell them everything.”    - Gina Athena Ulysse 90  When Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, author, and cultural critic Teju Cole offered a provocation on his public Facebook page:                                                 90Gina Athena Ulysse, Because When God Is Too Busy (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2017), 11.   46  Image 21. Teju Cole's provocation (screen shot taken from Teju Cole's public Facebook page)91  There is growing literature on the experiences of researchers who work in uncomfortable settings such as war and disasters.92 The focus in much of these writings is on self-care and “managing danger,”93 where the dangers are typically represented as trauma or                                                91 Taken from Teju Cole’s public Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Teju-Cole-200401352198/. 92 See, e.g., Susan Thomson, An Ansoms, and Jude Murison, eds., Emotional and Ethical Challenges (London: Palgrave Macmillon, 2013). 93 See, e.g., Erin Jessee, “Managing Danger,” The Oral History Review 44, no. 2 (2017) and Kimberley Theidon, “How Was Your Trip?” Drugs, Security and Democracy Program Working Papers on Research Security, 2014, http://webarchive.ssrc.org/working-papers/DSD_ResearchSecurity_02_Theidon.pdf.  47 vicarious traumatization,94 and occasionally as gender/sexual violence directed at the researcher.95 While narratives of trauma and PTSD remain useful in their therapeutic offerings, they also erase the other kinds of departures that arise through difficult encounters in the field; be it ontological, spiritual, or political. Some have even argued that the focus on self-care is part and parcel of the neoliberal turn96 which seeks to localize the material and affective inequities and injustices of our times to our bodies and minds.97  I feel uneasy with the singular emphasis on self-care for researchers who work in difficult settings. Why is there an expectation that the study of chronicity should be safe? Why is the researcher expected to walk out of the experience, only slightly unhinged, to be put back together by therapeutic interventions? Instead of just focusing on burnout, healing, trauma, it is also important to focus on heartache as a productive condition.  This makes even more sense if we continue with the premise that data is a gift, an offering of corporeal generosity, that which moves us. The researcher in this configuration is someone who listens and receives deeply, someone who is attentive to heartbeats. In my opinion, the focus of the researcher is then not to merely create spaces of listening but bring into purview those spaces that already exist and learn their rules of engagement. Listening and receiving deeply are one such rules of engagement. Why dampen the researcher’s most significant strength?  I consider listening deeply an embodied investment (counter to my counsellor), as heartwork which requires the removal of all protective shields, bubbles, or bubble wraps. It is a state of considered vulnerability, a falling apart, the incommensurability of politics, a                                                94 See, e.g., Sean Field, “Beyond Healing,” Oral History 34, no. 1 (2006) and Kathleen M Palm, Melissa A Polusny and Victoria M Follette, “Vicarious Traumatization,” Prehospital and Disaster Medicine 19, no. 1 (2004). 95 Anna Grieser, “Fieldwork Encounters,” Ethnoscripts 16, no. 1 (2014) and Anna Grieser, “Power Relationship,” Zeitschrift Für Ethnologie, 141, no. 2 (2016). 96 Lizzie Ward, “Caring for Ourselves?”  in Ethics of Care, eds. Marian Barnes, Tula Brannelly and Nicki Ward (Bristol: Polity Press, 2015). 97 Luigi Esposito and Fernando M. Perez, “Neoliberalism,” Humanity & Society 38, no. 4 (2014).  48 breakdown of conviction, certainty, and theory. Discomfort and unease (as a result of encounters in the “field”) are productive states which if carefully protected can develop a certain thoughtfulness and dedication within one’s engagement with the world.98 Allowing oneself to be impacted (both effected and affected) by the gifts of data is a form of devotion towards research interlocutors. This allows for truer conceptual and written forms that better accommodate the willfulness and genres of life research interlocutors suggest, regardless of how this enhances or disrupts existing discourse. In my opinion, such a form of solidarity allows for more opportunity to minimize the epistemic harms perpetuated by research and to intercept lived and felt experience in ways that are generative, indefinite, and plural. Researching within communities is inherently a disruptive process, the dangers are immense, and the discomfort is expected to be crippling and enabling- why should it be otherwise? Sometimes this will prevent us from working within communities that we are not a part of or have very little stake in, other times it will encourage us to make our interventions even bolder. There is no easy answer, a clear this or that. The important thing is to allow the data to work on the heart: let it take you to places, sit with you, lead your thoughts and writings, condition your engagement with the world - a full-on obsession. This “labor”99 is in itself critical methodology.100  In her book Fictions of Feminist Ethnography, Visweswaran writes that by openly confronting failure, feminist ethnography discovers both limits and possibilities.101 She argues that while full comprehension and representation are impossible, ethnographic failure                                                98 Marie Thompson, “The Discomfort of Safety,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 2017, http://societyandspace.org/2017/02/14/the-discomfort-of-safety/, and Yuk-Lin Renita Wong, “Knowing through Discomfort,” Critical Social Work 5, no. 1 (2004). 99 Soyini D. Madison, “Labor of Reflexivity,” Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies 11, no. 2 (2011), 129. 100 Krista McQueeney and Kristen M. Lavelle, “Emotional Labor,” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 46, no. 1 (2017). 101 Kamala Visweswaran, Fictions of Feminist Ethnography (Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1994).  49 can be understood as a “means of pointing up the difficulties in our own epistemological assumptions and representational strategies.” 102 Behar argues that only by sharing emotions and developing deep entanglements can the researcher enter the radical space needed for such unlearning and learning.103  Cvetkovich  and Dahl suggest vulnerability opens one up for change since to be vulnerable is also to be potentially transgressive.104 This way, vulnerability can be understood as an ontological status, a political condition, and a particular kind of bodily and intellectual relation to the world.105 Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is heartwork. What is then the “correct” way of doing heartwork? What are the methods?  Instead of a slavish devotion to any one method,106 Das advocates for an ethical stance of receptivity (how we sense, perceive, and acknowledge the Other) which cannot be reduced to any singular methodological framework.107 Lather has called for “situated methodologies,” to formulate our practice from the specificities of a situation which cannot be prescribed ahead of time but have to be negotiated in real time.108 The challenge then is to figure out how best we can express our devotion to our research interlocutors. The lack of a guidebook, manual, or pathway does not make this easy.109  Discomfort, vulnerability, ontological precarity- these are not strictly intellectual choices. These are embodied forms of unease and awkwardness, such as when one attempts to use un-waxed floss: the thread gets stuck between your teeth, you pull, but it is difficult to                                                102 Ibid., 98. 103 Ruth Behar, The Vulnerable Observer (Boston: Beacon Press, 1996). 104 Ann Cvetkovich, An Archive of Feelings (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2003) and Ulrika Dahl, “Femmebodiment,” Feminist Theory 18, no. 1 (2017). 105 Sara Ahmed, Cultural Politics (Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press, 2004) and Ulf Mellström, “Masculinity Politics,” Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies 2, no. 7 (2012). 106 Valerie J. Janesick, “The Choreography of Qualitative Research,” in The Handbook of Qualitative Research, eds. Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln (Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2000). 107 Das, Life. 108Patti Lather, “Fertile Obsession,” The Sociological Quarterly 34, no. 4 (1993), 685. 109 See, Linda Finlay, “Negotiating the Swamp,” Qualitative Research 2, no. 2 (2002) and Patti Lather, “Paradigm Proliferation,” International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 19, no. 1 (2006).  50 dislodge- your gums start to bleed, the floss disintegrates resulting in a strange, bloody mess. Or similar to “pilling”110 your sick cat. What forms of vulnerable writing can emerge from such modes of being? Page believes vulnerable writing is not only that which reflects how the researcher is impacted during research but also reveals the fragility of knowledge assembly-as a form of receptivity and wounding.111  She writes: A vulnerable method doesn’t attempt to resolve discomfort immediately through problem-solving, or by forms of sense-making that utilize particular relational elements of cause and effect. Instead, what is at the heart of vulnerable methods and vulnerable writing are ongoing questions about what unsettles, about relations to the unfamiliar and strange, and about the erasure of the complexities of subjectivity when individuals and bodies and their actions don’t fit or adhere to coherent themes of knowledge. This unsettled uncertainty of the research process, rather than foreclosing on further understandings, provides space for new forms of unknowing and continued attempts at understanding the stories of others.112 Vulnerable writing is heartwork.   What If We Let Those Awful Thoughts Persist? In her book “Living a Feminist Life,” Ahmed describes the process of becoming a feminist a bumpy one: “You bump into a world as you begin to realize that it doesn’t accommodate you.”113 Ahmed urges us to believe that feminism is not a sudden escape from                                                110 See this video of how to “pill” your cat: Dechra Academy, “How to Pill a Cat,” October 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWlpsTh6ddk&t=7s. 111 Tiffany Page, “Vulnerable Writing,” Feminist Review 115, no. 1 (2017). 112 Ibid., 28. 113 Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2017). Also see, Nishta J.  Mehra, “Notes from a Feminist Killjoy,” GUERNICA: A Magazine of Global Arts & Politics, July 2017, https://www.guernicamag.com/sara-ahmed-the-personal-is-institutional/.  51 structures of domination, but a lifelong project of chipping away at those very regimes- a state of constant dissatisfaction and disapproval- “the bringer of discord to family dinners and professional meetings alike.”114 Heartwork is an integral component of this journey, whether one chooses to sum it up as feminism or being Muslim or something else. This is work which extends far beyond the immediacy of the felt encounter.115 Concerning academic writing, this may mean writing slowly and thoughtfully and writing with restraint. Page asks: “What are the consequences of acknowledging forms of vulnerable wounding in research?”116 Behar adds: “To write vulnerably is to open a Pandora’s box. Who can say what will come out?”117 Baba, my host in Kashmir, died last year from a head injury but also from a broken heart (from the death of his favorite son). Once as I was leaving his village, he reminded me: “Don’t just remember us on paper.”  Initially, I thought he was referring to only material gains, that if there are any funds generated from my work, I must be sure to channel them back into his village. However, now I wonder whether he also meant to allow the experiences I had with him, sit with me in far richer ways. What if baba was asking me to hold onto his words as much and as far as I can?  I find it comforting to understand baba’s words as gifts to render me more thoughtful as I attempt to chip away at the kind of structures (material or epistemic) that seek to diminish subjects such as baba himself. This involves developing new language and vocabulary to accommodate multiple genres of life, but also the realization of my own limits. I am trying to articulate an investment, devotion, and dedication that far exceeds the sum of                                                114 Susan Fraiman, “Review of ‘Living a Feminist Life,’” Critical Inquiry, 2018, https://criticalinquiry.uchicago.edu/susan_fraiman_reviews_living_a_feminist_life/. 115 Deborah P. Britzman and Don Dippo, “Future of Awful,” Teaching Education 11, no. 1 (2000). 116 Page, “Vulnerable Writing,” 27. 117 Behar, Vulnerable Observer, 19.  52 my relationships with my interlocutors. The stakes are very high, and there is urgent need to be “unscrupulously vigilant.”118  The Ethics of Heartwork An important question arising from the discussion on heartwork is that of ethics. I am not referring to ethics in an institutional regulatory way, but as an engagement with the ethical complexities of heartwork. In heartwork, as I have described it, there really are no separations between “fieldwork” and “homework,” the researcher is continually placed in a configuration of learning. In this way, everyone and everything becomes the “subject of research.” For example, conversations with one’s counsellor, friends, colleagues, “off the book” engagements with interlocutors, are all places of insight for the researcher, sites of paying attention to heartbeats. Since there are no clear boundaries between what constitutes the “field,” what should be the rules that govern “data collection,” and are any rules needed? Similarly, should accountability to the reader be also considered an important component of the ethical framework of heartwork?  This Mess of Heartaches  “I hold in my hand a bird, tell me it is dead or alive?” "I don't know whether the bird you are holding is dead or alive, but what I do know is that it is in your hands. It is in your hands."        -Toni Morrison’s Noble Prize speech119                                                 118 Ilan Kapoor, “Hyper-self-reflexive Development?” Third World Quarterly 25, no. 4 (2004), 641. 119 Toni Morrison, “Toni Morrison- Nobel Lecture,” Nobelprize.org, 1993, https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1993/morrison-lecture.html.  53 Narayan has important advice: “Forgive yourself in advance, knowing that whatever you write will never be complete of perfect.”120 Berlant adds:   When you plan social change, you have to imagine the world that you could promise, the world that could be seductive, the world you could induce people to want to leap into. But leaps are awkward, they’re not actually that beautiful. When you land you’re probably going to fall or hurt your ankle or hit someone.121  My research interlocutors have insisted on kinds of telling that are counter-intuitive to what I have been taught to notice - pointing at directions, things, events for which I have no tools. This led to a rather lengthy period of adjustment, where my ethnographic intrusions took a variety of shapes and forms to facilitate the kinds of telling my research interlocutors insisted upon. This “adjustment process,” has resulted in much heartbreak, confusion, loss of direction, self-doubt, and humility.  Stories never leave, they are meant to unsettle. Their very stickiness is homework and heartwork. The process of knowledge generation is as important as the knowledge to be created. While the urgency and stakes of understanding violence and marginality are high, the accountability is low. I am not convinced whether faulty knowledges emanating from spaces of disruption which fragment, undermine, instrumentalize, parse, and diffuse subjects of violence are morally, ethically, or instrumentally any better than the very violence they seek to render visible. Epistemic violence inflicted in the pursuance of justice rapidly translates into a “restriction of possibilities of existence.”122                                                120 Kirin Narayan, Alive in the Writing (Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 2012), 121. 121 Heather Davis and Paige Sarlin, “Interview with Lauren Berlant and Michael Hardt,” Reviews in Cultural Theory 2, no. 3 (2008), 10. 122 Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti, “Conflicting Epistemic Demands,” Educational Studies 50, no. 4 (2014), 379.  54 In a way, the writing endeavor is about accountability to research interlocutors and I am less concerned about the brilliance of my words but more about their integrity- whether they measure up to the substance and contexts in which they were shared.  Heartwork is allowing yourself to become decentered by heartbeats. It includes never fully coming to terms with the betrayals implicit in working with people but yet learning to live with that ontological insecurity. This discomfort, learning to work without guarantees, an “un-coercive re-arrangement of desires”123 must be willed and protected. During the earlier days of my PhD, when I was struggling to put together a reading list for my comprehensive examinations, my supervisor suggested: “Don’t undermine your intuition in deciding what ‘key texts’ you need to read.”  Heartwork includes the cultivation of an intuition which allows you to tune-into your interlocutors to appreciate the bigger imaginations and “key texts” they invoke with their stories. This simultaneously opens up many ways to understand feminism and being Muslim, as generative sites of experimentation, a playground of sorts, and not as fragile assemblages of knowledge which need to be protected.124 At the same time given the histories of erasure and co-option, I can also understand those who feel the need to safeguard vigilantly and will accept any necessary blows and criticism with kindness. A lot of pressure (and rightfully so) is placed on the author, but what about the reader (the “adjudicator of knowledge”)? Should more also be demanded from the reader? Like the author, the reader may or may not pose significant obstacles to the flourishing of the subject of research. The reader may accept the gifts of heartwork or they might reject it. Upon receiving the gifts of heartwork, they may or may not say: But what should I do with this                                                123 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Righting Wrongs,” South Atlantic Quarterly 103, no. 2–3 (2004), 526, as quoted in de Oliveira Andreotti, “Epistemic Demands,” 379. 124 See, e.g., Nada Elia, “Justice Is Indivisible,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 6, no. 1 (2017).  55 mess of heartaches? By posing this question, the reader bounces the responsibility of receiving deeply back to the author, who is now cornered to clearly s-p-e-l-l o-u-t the contributions of heartwork, so they can be consumed in a rote like fashion without frustration, injury, and wounding. How to understand the inertia which prevents a sincere engagement with the “mess of heartaches”?  My initial impulse is to label this unwillingness as “laziness,” in the sense that we are hesitant to push our paradigms of being in the world further and farther because it involves pushing against and receiving pushback (both of which are feminist as well as Muslim processes). Heartwork is inconvenient, gritty, and uncomfortable, it is work on top of work.125 But I am also mindful of the ways modernity, colonialism, and patriarchy have programed us to privilege certain knowledge formations at the expense of all others. Fear is another impediment; the unsafety of tracing constellations and looking elsewhere, and the unpredictability and danger this brings. Heartwork affords possibilities of doing research in ways that do not seek to conform to the expectations of the reader (or any adjudicator of knowledge). It provides the courage to fully devote to one’s interlocutors  even if it is to the detriment of the reader and the author.126 As Tony Morrison suggests: The bird is in your hands (we have to figure out how to be in this world, what to do with this mess of heartaches - that is on us).                                                  125 See, e.g., Leigh-Ann Naidoo, “Memoire of a Journey,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 6, no. 1 (2017) and Elizabeth Dauphinee, The Politics of Exile (New York and London: Routledge, 2013). 126 By “devotion to my interlocutors,” I mean capturing their stories in their contradiction, circularity, indeterminacy, inconsistency, incoherence, and heartfulness. And not worrying too much about where all this will lead us. And not worrying too much if  this dedication will  assist or hinder the writer’s projects and the reader’s projects. This is what I mean, when I say: “even if it is to the detriment of the reader and the writer.”   56 Some Further Reflections on the Reader I do not mean to chastise the reader or bully them into submission. How can one do that anyways, when the reader holds continual power over the author?  The author can only make an offering in the form of text, the reader has the power of choice: they may reject the text, accept it, critique it, or worse- ignore it. Or perhaps a better way to imagine this relationship is that of friction, the reader and author exist in encounter with one other, and the text is their battleground (or chai stall or living room). Their relationship can be antagonistic, troubled, or perhaps that of friendship, caring, and accommodation.  However, my concerns are three-fold:  1) While there is some language on how to hold the author accountable to their text, how can we also hold the reader accountable to the text ? 2) How can we hold them (author and reader, both adjudicators of knowledge) accountable to each other?  And, 3) Why are both forms of accountability necessary, particularly in relation to heartwork and the minimization of epistemic harms?  Heartwork is ultimately about accountability; the author to the text and to interlocutors, the reader to the text and to interlocutors, and author and reader to each other. My intention behind invoking the reader is to draw attention to each of these accountabilities and develop further language on them. I should also point out that both the author and reader have their offerings, biases, and limitations, and neither is consistently righteous despite having moral evidence. Heartwork provides the resources to also love your reader. 127    A Brief Note on Sequence The following scenes can be read in any order, and while they are interdependent in the sense that together they should help us move towards our destination(s), they do not rely                                                127 Throughout the text, I periodically check in with the reader and offer to take their pulse via poetic interludes. This is my modest attempt at being accountable to the reader and loving them.  57 on each other. They are fairly self-contained but receptive to interlinkages. Earlier, I wrote that the numbering of the scenes does not suggest chronology but simply implies quantity, yet I have numbered them sequentially (in English) but out of sequence (in Urdu). These inconsistencies in form are also modest attempts to write against the progression of evidence building and theory generation, and to elaborate interconnection and interdependence in ways that are outside of the expectations of linearity and coherence. Of course, this is an impossible task, given that this is a text bound together as a book, or an electronic file, where one chapter follows the next. Thus, despite my (imperfect) refusals of linearity and consistency, to function within these constraints, some decisions were made in their placement. How to acknowledge my hand in these arrangements which are both purposeful and purposeless? Well, I do not have a whole lot of profound things to say regarding how I have organized these scenes, on their sequence. But perhaps in this lack of profundity, lies some profundity?  In other words, why was scene one numbered as “one” and scene two as “two?” I did not take a consistent approach. For example, I placed scene six at the "end" because that was the first chapter I wrote. I thought instead of showing a progression of ideas and growing sophistication of writing style which comes with practice, it might be revealing to do the opposite, share what you wrote first - last.  I chose to place scene one in the first slot because it is on landscape and the rest of the scenes are on my interlocutors, even though landscape is also an important interlocutor. But the opening scene only focusses on one of my field sites  (Neelum, and not Siran), rendering this logic unsatisfactory. As for the scenes in between, I cannot adequately explain why I placed them the way I did, the impetus came from the gut and the heart. But when I did, they felt right, so they stayed.  58    (interlude)                    Muntadhar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist, became famous for flinging his shoes at President Bush. In quick succession, he flung both his loafers at the President, shouting: “This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog. This is from the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq.”128 Once at a heated community hearing where I was being taken to task, an elderly man flung his shoe at me. He did not say anything; the shoe did all the talking. While President Bush ducked and dodged his assailant, I welcomed mine straight in the face.   Sometimes, I don’t think too much about the shoe. Other times I think a lot about the shoe.  What compels people to fling things?  Fling:  to move (oneself) violently with impatience, contempt, or the like Fling: to involve (oneself) vigorously in an undertaking129  In the simplest of sense, a fling is the work of complaint. Ahmed writes:  A complaint: when we let out, spill out, what we are supposed to contain.                                                128 See, Amanda Erickson, “Remember the Iraqi man who threw a shoe at President Bush?,” May 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/05/02/remember-the-iraqi-man-who-threw-a-shoe-at-president-bush-hes-running-for-office/?utm_term=.2ad9e6b24cf6. 129See, “Fling,” Dictinary.com, n.d., www.dictionary.com/browse/fling?s=t.    59 A complaint: when we transform what we do not cope with into a protest at what we are supposed to cope with.130  A fling is a complaint, a complaint is a fling.   In many ways, this text too is the work of complaint. It is complaint that stems from my biography, history, location, experience. You may ask: “What about your biography, history, location, experience that compels you to do this work and, in the way, you have done it?”  I have attempted to answer this question by dispersing features of my location, history, biography, experience throughout the text in ways that are prominent and hidden and in-between the lines.  Some will see me in these pages, others will not. For the latter, I anticipate frustration.  They might ask: “Who are you as a scholar? What is your location?”  I feel the weight of this question, it is important. How can the reader ever fully trust a text, if they do not know who wrote it?  I have written myself as a character, next to landscape, next to Amal, next to Akbar, next to Chandni, next to Niaz, next to Sattar. I have placed myself in each of their stories in my narcissism, awkwardness, heartbreak, frustration, neuroticism.    For those who cannot see me,  I promise I am here.  Sometimes like a wallflower.  Sometimes like the wind.  Sometimes like an angry wasp.                                                130 Sara Ahmed, “The Time of Complaint,” feministkilljoys, May 2018, https://feministkilljoys.com/2018/05/30/the-time-of-complaint/.  60 scene one  MOVEMENT AND MULTITUDE                                            ۵  The Line of Control arbitrarily bifurcates Neelum valley, Kashmir into Pakistan and India. While the border attempts to constrain and categorize, the daily movements and flows of human and more-than-human bodies via “unofficial” routes and routines generate an understanding of Kashmir that is not dependent on geopolitics. Neelum as sculpted and carved by the masculine gaze such as those of the nation-state and humanitarians - indicates closure. But the intrusion of interconnected bodies through the valley’s vast landscapes suggest a continuous re-working and re-opening of its borders. These mobilities are stitched in the material inconveniences and intimacies of daily life in the valley. They are sustained by affective entanglements between human and more-than-human bodies constituting mutual processes of emplacement that are paradoxically unbounded and generative. In these movements and flows are analytical and philological opportunities to articulate fully formed visions of Kashmir. But this necessitates the location of theory and methodology as mutually constitutive within our literary genres (not outside of them) to elaborate narrative writing as praxis.       61 Since when have maps become so sacrosanct? -  Arundhati Roy131  Despite attempts to bring to the forefront the very bodies which maps constrain and categorize,132 the multiply-claimed region of Kashmir remains primarily a geopolitical concern.133 Internal dispute and diversity characterize Kashmir making it difficult to consider it as a unitary political or socio-cultural zone, mark its absolute borders, or even define a singular way of being Kashmiri.134 The heavily militarized Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir, transfixes its people into either India or Pakistan, obscuring more flexible notions of  belonging.135  In this chapter, I attempt to capture Kashmir as movement and multitude- unbounded- outside of geopolitics.  Zutshi argues that forced attempts at a territorial solution to Kashmir may in fact be counterproductive.136 For the struggle for Kashmir cannot be defined only in material terms, rather it “exceeds the world”137 and requires “a rethinking of sovereignty itself, as well as a radical revision of the violence and possibilities of the nation–states of India, Pakistan, and Kashmir, respectively.”138  What if we attempt to deprioritize the state as the sole adjudicator of all claims? What are then some other possibilities for life and politics in Kashmir if we                                                131  Arundhati Roy, “Azadi,” Outlook India: The Magazine, July 2016, www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/azadi/297536%0D%0A%0D%0A. 132 Jennifer Hyndman, "Towards a Feminist Geopolitics,” The Canadian Geographer/Le Geógraphe Canadien 45, no. 2 (2001); Jennifer Hyndman, “Mind the Gap,” Political Geography 23, no. 3 (2004) and Jennifer Hyndman, “Feminist Geopolitics Revisited,” The Professional Geographer 59, no. 1 (2007). 133 See, e.g., Sumit Ganguly, Conflict Unending (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002). There are some commendable exceptions such as Ananya Jahanara Kabir, Territory of Desire (Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2009). 134 Cabeiri deBergh Robinson, Body of Victim, Body of Warrior (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2013); Martin Sökefeld, “Jammu and Kashmir,” in Modern Anthropology of India, eds. Peter Berger and Frank Heidemann (London: Routledge, 2013); Martin Sökefeld, “Boundaries and Movements,” Contemporary South Asia 23, no. 3 (2015) and Christopher Snedden, The Untold Story of the People of Azad Kashmir (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012). 135 Ravina Aggarwal, Beyond Lines of Control (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2004). 136 Chitralekha Zutshi, “An Ongoing Partition,” Contemporary South Asia 23, no. 3 (2015). 137  Saiba Varma, “Interrogating the Post-Conflict,” Hot Spots, Cultural Anthropology, March 2014, https://culanth.org/fieldsights/506-interrogating-the-post-conflict-in-indian-administered-kashmir 138 Ibid.  62 locate our desires, aspirations, and ambitions in the very human and more-than-human bodies the sovereign seeks to constrain? By foregrounding the power of bodies to counter maps139  and the intimacies which frustrate geopolitics,140 I seek to disentangle what it may mean to be Kashmiri from the epistemic violence of the nation-state. Understanding space as open yet embracing, 141 I draw upon affective ecologies to trace the circulation of Kashmiri bodies in the region’s vast landscapes via “unofficial” routes and routines. These intrusions contribute to the production of territory and the continuous unfolding and enfolding142 of Kashmir’s borders. Affective ecologies draw attention to how human and more-than-human143 relations are implicated in the reproduction of ecological, social, economic, cultural, and political formations.144 This is a useful lens to understand the inter and intra relationships of bodies in “perpetual adjustments and motion.”145  The chapter is situated in Neelum valley, Pakistan administered Kashmir. Daily life in Neelum is heavily reliant on its landscapes which are materially and existentially necessary for its residents and are sites where human and more-than-human relationships (or ecology) constitute processes of localization which are paradoxically unbounded and generative. Neelum is suitable for this work because of the gendered nature of life and mobility as in the                                                139 Mahasweta Devi, Imaginary Maps, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (New York: Routledge, 1995); Mishuana Goeman, Mark My Words (Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2013) and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "Woman in Difference,” Cultural Critique 14 (1989). 140 Sara Smith, “She Says Herself,” Gender, Place & Culture 18, no. 4 (2011) and Saiba Varma, “Love in Time of Occupation,” American Ethnologist 43, no. 1 (2016). 141 Kerstin W. Shands, Embracing Space (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999) and Kerstin W. Shands, “(Em)Bracing Space,” Nora: Nordic Journal of Women’s Studies 6, no. 1 (1998). 142 Gilles Deleuze, The Fold (Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1993). 143 The “affective body” is not limited to just humans, but includes landscape, waterways, animals, plants, and even insects. See, e.g., Carla Hustak and Natasha Myers, “Involutionary Momentum,” Differences 23, no. 3 (2012). Based on ethnographic research in the Gurez Valley, Indian administered Kashmir, Bauer and Bhan urge us to note the very bodies and relations in which well-being gets invested. See, Andrew M. Bauer and Mona Bhan, “Politics and Historicity,” South Atlantic Quarterly 115, no. 1 (2016) and Andrew M. Bauer and Mona Bhan, Climate without Nature (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2018). 144 Mona Bhan and Nishita Trisal, “Fluid Landscapes,” Critique of Anthropology 37, no. 1 (2017). 145 Stuart C. Aitken and Li An, “Figured Worlds,” Ecological Modelling 229 (2012), 7.  63 rest of the Himalayan region,146 its geopolitical extremeness- the LoC cuts right through Neelum dividing it into India and Pakistan- and its environmental precarity. Between 1990-2003, Neelum was a tense battleground for Kashmiri mujahideen (or “freedom” fighters), and Indian and Pakistani militaries. Two years after the ceasefire, an earthquake devastated the region (2005) followed by massive flash flooding (2010), opening the valley to intense humanitarian action.147 Every now and then tensions flare at the border putting residents at risk and curtailing their movements.148  Are borders and their readjustments, the only possible vocabulary for Kashmir?  If we understand Kashmir as fluid and heterogeneously lived, what understandings can emerge that are possible only by intimate and comparative area knowledge which considers Kashmir as a site of data collection and theory generation? 149 To answer these questions, I pay attention to the human and more-than-human bodies that animate Neelum, including my own, which in their movements and flows offer analytical and philological opportunity.                                                 146 Kim Berry and Shubhra Gourami, “Gender in the Himalaya,” Himalaya 34, no. 1 (2014).  147 Omer Aijazi, “A Social Repair Orientation,” United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (2015). 148 Alia Chughtai and Aurangzaeb Saifullah, “Neelum Valley Shelled,” Al Jazeera, October 2016,  http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/kashmir-neelum-valley-shelled-time-years-161029180958447.html and Tariq Naqash,  “9 Killed,” Dawn, November 2016, www.dawn.com/news/1298130. 149 Gloria Anzaldúa, La Frontera/Borderlands (San Francisco: Aunt Lute, 1987); Asef Bayat, “Areas and Ideas,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 33, no. 3 (2013); Raewyn Connell, Southern Theory (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity, 2007) and Veena Das, “Knowledge Production,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 33, no. 3 (2013).     64  Image 22. Underground bunkers provided refuge during periods of cross-border shelling. “Anticipatory structures” such as these are maintained to date in case fighting resumes. These exist side by side newly constructed homes, shops, and guesthouses (photograph by Nusrat Jamal)  Illaqa  When I first got to Neelum, I noticed that the performative gestures of politeness which one gets used to in urban Pakistan were somewhat absent. Research interlocutors would snap at me when offended, and even ask me to come back another day if they got annoyed by my presence. One day, slightly beaten and broken, I mustered the courage to ask Shahzad - my research assistant and resident of Neelum- why are people here so mean?   He responds with much amusement: This is because you are in our illaqa (territory). When we are in Islamabad [capital city], we may appear friendlier. We might smile at you, appear agreeable. We just don’t know the city, perhaps feel out of place, out of our element. But when we come back to Neelum, we become shair (lions)! No one can harm us here, we are the badshah (king) of the land. Shahzad’s response brings to light the importance of emplacement; that being in one’s  65 own illaqa provides confidence (“they turn into lions”) and invites an almost abrasive truthfulness. This is intriguing, particularly for understanding belonging and attachment in ways that are not possible by a geopolitical understanding of citizenship and identity. Abrar, one of my research interlocutors, shares a story concerning some Pakistani tourists:   I was leading a hike with these amir zada (rich or privileged) guests from Islamabad. One of them really had to pee. We were passing over a bridge over the Neelum river,150 when the guest exclaimed: ‘I am just going to pee across the bridge, into the water, I can’t wait any longer.’ I grabbed him from his shirt and yelled:  Bharvay (your wife is a whore!), this isn’t Pakistan that you can urinate as you please. This is Kashmir, and this is our water.  How can we understand these intense emotional entanglements with landscape and the confidence these connections inspire?  More importantly, how can we use these insights to advance understandings of Kashmir which exceed the current offerings of geopolitics?   “Azad” Kashmir In its narrative traditions, Kashmir has always existed at the intersections of the local and the universal.151  Shahzad narrates the ontological beginnings of his home:  Hazrat Suleman152 was flying over this region with his trusted Jinn on duty. He looked down and noticed a sparkling, crystalline body of water. He asked the Jinn: ‘Can you                                                150 The raging Neelum river flows through the entire length of the Neelum valley, fearlessly contesting the LoC, Pakistanà Indiaà Pakistan in its ebb and flows. 151 Zutshi, “An Ongoing Partition.” 152 “Hazrat” is an honorific title.  66 create life here?’ The Jinn replied: ‘Yes, but I have a condition that you must marry me to the fairy Mir.’ Hazarat Suleman agreed, and therefore married the Jinn, Kash with the fairy Mir. The Jinn then inspired life in the region, shaping pahars and land. This is how Kashmir was created.  Narratives such as this (there are many others), are refusals against placing Kashmir in its current geopolitical emplotment. They insist that Kashmir has its own historicity, a freedom of sorts. Ironically, Pakistan administered Kashmir is nationally referred to as “Azad Kashmir.” “Azad” translates as “free.” This implies that this Kashmir is free from the Indian military (but occupied by Pakistan’s) and that its residents enjoy political, cultural, and social freedoms.153  Kashmiris in Pakistan are under constant surveillance and scrutiny by intelligence agencies and for reasons of self-preservation must actively demonstrate allegiance to the Pakistani state.  Always under Pakistan’s watchful eyes, Kashmiris have to carefully distance themselves from any public conversations on Kashmir’s sovereignty or risk interrogation, extra judicial imprisonment, or worse- disappearance. The skepticism towards Kashmiris is also shared by ordinary Pakistanis and not just by the military and its secret police.  A Kashmiri student studying at a university in Rawalpindi explains: “I have to be careful with what I say and how I voice my political opinions. The slightest of slips can be construed by my classmates as an indication of disloyalty to the Pakistani state.” He continues: “It seems your trustworthiness as a human, and the merit of your character is contingent on your loyalty to Pakistan.”                                                 153 For a preliminary discussion on human rights violations in Azad Kashmir, see, Human Rights Watch, “With Friends like These,” Human Rights Watch 18, no. 12 (2006).   67          Image 23. A sign in a government office in Neelum (photograph by the author)  Arrival Entry into Neelum resembles a heavily guarded border crossing. Foreigners are not allowed to enter, Pakistanis are only tolerated as tourists, and only after elaborate security checks. I first arrived in Neelum in 2014, to try to understand how residents negotiate chronicity - the confluence of multiple forms of violence-  in their everyday lives. I wanted to understand social repair, how people enable the continuity life in some viable form despite being immersed in ongoing and overwhelming structures of constraint. 154  Why am I drawn to Kashmir?  Kashmir is romanticized, fetishized, and offers an allure of raw, untouched beauty, and clear blue waters.  Growing up in Pakistan, I was enthralled by the mysticism of Kashmir: a land inhabited by extra-ordinary beautiful people with rosy cheeks and glowing skin, pahars dotted with apple orchards and walnut trees, and the mystical, abundance this                                                154 Omer Aijazi, “Social Repair and Structural Inequity,” International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment 6, no. 4 (2015); Omer Aijazi, “Theorizing Social Repair,” Global Social Welfare 2, no. 1 (2015) and Omer Aijazi, “Social Repair Orientation.”  68 suggests.  Kashmiri chai (a pink colored tea), named after the region where it originates from is extremely popular in Pakistan’s urban centers especially in winter, unusual on account of its pink color and pairing with dried fruits and nuts.155 During the numerous years of active cross-border conflict, Pakistani TV channels showcased dramas on Kashmir valorizing the role of the Pakistani army in the conflict and the conduct of the mujahideen. Admittedly, my foray into Neelum as a researcher is indeed a problematic extension of decades of objectification and romanticization of the Kashmiri people by the Pakistani state and its citizens. I am no exception. Luker points out that research methods are not truths in themselves, but normative choices which are historically, socially, and politically located in both time and place.156 My ethnographic intrusions in Neelum changed form and shape over the course of the research, at par with the pace of my rapidly evolving relationships. I spent time with my interlocutors in a variety of ways: we conversed around the fire and in the kitchen, took photographs, walked the difficult pahari geography, got lost and incurred bodily injuries, harvested fields and forests for vegetables and mushrooms, cooked and ate together, visited state institutions such as the police station, attended school ceremonies, prayed in the masjids (mosques), gave and received gifts, provided assistance, and asked for help when we needed it. We also shared numerous moments of vulnerability accepting each other’s imperfections and fragility. I maintained journals to record the collisions of our encounters, “creating images” for myself. 157                                                  155 It is another story, that this pink tea is nowhere to be found in Neelum, a tradition far too expensive to sustain. 156 Kristin Luker, Salsa Dancing (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2008). 157 Mats Alvesson and Kaj Sköldberg, Reflexive Methodology (Los Angeles: Sage, 2009), 10.   69        Image 24. The kitchen often generated the richest of conversations (photograph by the author)  My presence in Neelum was nothing short of a spectacle. I asked baba, my host: “Can I pass as someone from Neelum?” He shook his head: “For one thing, you eat like a little child, just half a plate of rice. When you walk, you can’t walk straight, you are clumsy on these slopes. Sometimes, I worry about you.” (At one point another “worried” interlocutor gave me a walking stick as a gift, to help with my “strange” mobility issues). He adds: “And you are afraid of spiders [for a man your age and size].” Mobility is an important signifier for Neelum. In most other places that I have worked in (e.g., other parts of Pakistan, northern Uganda), mobility was never an issue and hardly a central concern for my research design. In Neelum, this was not the case. Firstly, the topography was at times so intense, that I was physically unable to access certain spaces, community locations, and neighborhoods. Secondly, mobility within the pahars is gendered and particular, some routes are dedicated for women and children, others for animals, and  70 some for remaining villagers.  Outsiders, such as myself are not free to wander in Neelum’s landscapes. For example, tourists are expected to only stick to the main road or popular hiking tracks. It was both an aberration and somewhat disrespectful for me to be circulating freely and unfettered in Neelum’s pahars unless accompanied by someone from Neelum and, even then, in moderation. Perhaps accentuated by its remoteness and the feeling of expansiveness, different rules were in place in Neelum regarding who is acceptable in the landscape and to what proximity to a community.  Therefore, instead of relying solely on my body to explore and experience various lived spaces, and keeping in mind the limitations of my mobility, it made sense to make extensive use of photo-voice or participatory photography, allowing my research interlocutors to share only what they considered acceptable. Therefore, this chapter as the rest of the text includes photographs which open Neelum for us in ways that my words cannot.  71  Image 25. “Unofficial” pathways crisscross Neelum’s pahars, opening up the valley for its residents (photograph by Rihanna Tahir)  72 Welcome to Neelum In Neelum, it was clear that I was in Kashmir and not in Pakistan. Residents went out of their way to remind me of where I am, by pointing in the direction of Islamabad and clarifying: “But this is Kashmir and that is Pakistan [far away].” It seemed that the notion of Kashmir as being outside of Pakistan had to be continuously repeated, circulated over and over again in the bazaars, tea shops, at home, and in the masjids. The LoC cuts right through Neelum, creating its own history and unique political entanglements.158 Unfortunately, most writings on Kashmir have focused on the LoC as a territorial concern instead of its impact on the lived and felt sentimentalities of Kashmiri subjects, reducing those in close proximities on either side of the LoC as geopolitical abstractions. In 2003, after a tense ceasefire between Pakistan and India, two bridges were inaugurated to link the valley across the LoC.  Once a month, residents are permitted to cross on either side to reunite with relatives but only after elaborate paperwork and specialized travel documents. Depending on the political climate of the region, some months the crossings are even closed. The bridges and the difficulties they pose - administrative (specialized documents are required) and temporal (crossings only open certain time a year) -further highlight the absurdity of the LoC.  Those who are lucky enough to cross bring back objects, stories, and memories.159 Shahzad, has been denied access to the crossing several times. Finally, in 2012, after waiting for nearly 16 months for his documents to be                                                158 The LoC is heavily monitored and guarded by the military on both sides.  Since the early 1990s, in order to prevent “illegal” movement, India has initiated an elaborate fencing project. This comprises of a double row of fencing and electrified wiring connected to a network of motion sensors, thermal imaging devices, lighting systems, alarms, and land mines. See, Praveen Swami,  “Sealing the Border,” The Indian Express, October 2016, http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/sealing-the-india-pakistan-border-along-loc-after-surgical-strikes-walking-the-line-of-control-3086840/. 159 Radhika Gupta, “Poetics and Politics,” South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal 10 (2014).   73 “processed,” he was allowed to visit his relatives across the LoC. He shares his experiences of “border crossing:”  On my way back, the Indian soldier stationed at the bridge, smiled at me and inquired: ‘How did you like Indian Kashmir? Is it any different from Pakistani Kashmir?’ I stared blankly at his face and replied as respectfully as I could, surpassing my rage: ‘What are you talking about? This is Kashmir and so is that, I have merely come to the same home.’  While I knew this was Shahzad’s way of refusing the division of Kashmir, I was cheeky enough to insist, but were they any different? Shahzad slightly annoyed, snapped back at me: “Yes, the nature of the violence was indeed different. It is difficult for me to say which is better, an overt assault on our political freedoms and social sensibilities [India] or betrayal and false friendships [Pakistan]?”  As Always, Everyone in Really Concerned about Women’s Bodies Over the years, Neelum has become a popular destination for Pakistani tourists.160 For many Pakistanis, the lush pahars of Neelum represent the final frontier of the Pakistani state, literally on its edge, dancing precariously into another kind of collectivity. This adds to the thrill of visiting Neelum.161  Several restaurants overlook the banks of the Neelum river, where Pakistani tourists can lie back on charpoys optimally placed so they can “see” India,                                                160 Affan Chowdhry, “Amid Deadly Skirmishes,” The Globe and Mail, August 2013, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/amid-deadly-skirmishes-pakistanis-enjoy-a-little-shangri-la-in-kashmir/article13678263/ and Roshan Mughal,  “Tourists Flock to Kashmir,” Al Jazeera, July 2014, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/07/tourists-kashmir-pakistan-loc-ghost-valley-201477103912160932.html. 161Marvi Soomro, “Neelum Valley,” Dawn, June 2015,  https://www.dawn.com/news/1189885.  74 turning the business of borders into a theatre of sorts. Perhaps due to its geopolitical edginess or perceived remoteness, Neelum is considered as a space outside of the realm of morality and sexual governance. While most tourists are either men or tidy families organized around heteronormative expectations, for some Pakistanis, Neelum lies outside the moral codes imposed on them by their citizenry. The caretaker of a popular guesthouse remarked that there is an increasing trend for men to bring their girlfriends or even prostitutes to Neelum for “unlawful” sexual activities. To mitigate this, guesthouses are required to check the marriage certificates of men and women travelling together. This practice is also enforced at various military and police checkpoints dotting the valley.   Female tourists are particularly scrutinized and judged on their placement within or outside the heteronormative, state sanctioned familial unit. Those female tourists who are seen as being outside the family, such as perceived to be with their boyfriends, unmarried partners, or even with male colleagues, are particularly vilified for being corrupted and corrupting the women of Neelum.  A young male resident angrily pointed at a bus of university students:   Look at the besharam larkyan (young women without modesty). They don’t even wear duppatas (head coverings) and sit and walk next to men. Look at the clothes they wear, tightly fitted shalwars (trousers). They corrupt our girls who now want to follow similar fashions and behave in unacceptable ways around our men.  A large number of humanitarian and development NGOs set up shop in Neelum after the recent disasters. They too were very interested in women. In line with developmental vocabularies of “gender equity,” they sought to maximally hire local women, opening their  75 bodies to further criticism and public scrutiny. According to a male interlocutor, women working for NGO’s are exceptionally immoral and possibly promiscuous:  NGOs have a bad reputation in Neelum. Take xx [organization’s name] for example, during food distributions after the floods, they hired our young women. Within days their duppatas (head coverings) came off, and they would travel with men in big Pajeros late into the evening.  Women along with other “vulnerable” bodies such as children and the elderly, were also the desired targets of numerous humanitarian interventions. Since humanitarian organizations are first and foremost rational organizations, requiring “scientific” ways to dispense their resources, women and others were rapidly brought into the folds of “vulnerability assessments” and “household consultations.” One interlocutor remarked that after the earthquake “women were in very high demand.”  Neelum as Sculpted Neelum’s pahars are sculpted and carved to accommodate certain bodies in particular ways. This is the outcome of specific and situated social practices and gendered norms, consistent with what we know about the gender and the environment: that they are contingent and co-produced.  I use the following series of photographs to further highlight this point.  76  Image 26. Maizescapes leading to a home (photograph by the author)  Maize, the staple crop of the region, is grown in abundance in Neelum, typically around a homestead. It is usually hand-picked, the kernels are separated from the husk and stored in large wooden boxes. However, maize plantations provide more than just food and are equally appreciated for their dense networks and camouflaging ability. Qari Safir, the local Imam remarked: “Their dense growth provides a certain sense of purdah162 (covering) around homes.” After the earthquake and floods, when most homes were destroyed, many chose to live within these maizescapes for reasons of practicality but also purdah, since at least the overgrowth provided some physical coverage and shelter.163                                                  162 Purdah, a hotly contested concept within Muslim communities, generally points towards an understanding of privacy and modesty, mostly but not always directed at women. 163 For further discussion on the centrality of “purdah” after the 2010 monsoon floods, see, Omer Aijazi and Dilnoor Panjwani, “Religion in Spaces of Social Disruption,” International Journal of Mass Emergencies & Disasters 33, no. 1 (2015).  77 The maizescapes also provide cover for defecation as attached latrines are uncommon.  Women are expected to defecate only during daylight within the maize fields, very early in the morning, but men can go as they please (outside of the time generally reserved for women). Conversely, maizescapes are also considered to be sites of danger and harm, and are feared to harbor snakes, scorpions, and stray dogs, whose presence is amplified after sunset when visibility is greatly diminished. Women (and young children) are discouraged from navigating these maize plantations and, therefore, much of the landscape, after sunset.  In this way, these maizescapes allow selective gendered mobilities and access to the land, safe enough to defecate in and traverse the village with during daytime, but dangerous enough to be harmful after nightfall.   Image 27. A community installed and maintained bridge (photograph by Shafiqa Butt)  The Pakistani state has minimal investments in infrastructure in Neelum. The road  78 leading into Neelum was only upgraded after the 2005 earthquake and even today its condition is at best “jeepable.” Interconnectivity within and between villages is entirely dependent on the navigational ability and agility of people who live there.  In response to this lack, in many places, residents have put in place their own micro-infrastructure such as the bridge pictured above. Bridges like the one pictured above dot the valley and offer some respite in the seemingly inhospitable terrain. 164 While used by everyone, men are expected to make their way around regardless, and therefore micro-infrastructure such as this bridge are primarily for the convenience of those outside the conventions of masculinity, such as women, children, and the elderly.       Image 28. Unique rock formations ideal for soaking and washing clothes (photograph by Shafiqa Butt)                                                164 There are a few suspension bridges maintained by the Pakistani army at various strategic points in the valley, but these have more to do with providing the army with ready access to LoC as opposed to alleviating the daily inconveniences of topography.  79       Image 29. Freshly washed clothes drying on a rock (photograph by Razia Bano)  The timely and adequate completion of daily life chores are also contingent on one’s ability to exploit the landscape and convert its apparent inhospitality into convenience. The photographs above show useful rock formations near a stream which are amenable for washing and drying clothes.  Rock formations also provide features to the nondescript landscape and enhance people’s navigational capacities by serving as identifiers. For example, the following photograph shows an oddly shaped rock formation, which serves as an identifier and even draws children to play in its vicinity.      80          Image 30. An unusual rock formation (photograph by Nusrat Jamal) 81 “Official” Pathways After the earthquake and flooding, the landscape “shifted.” New cracks and fissures appeared, pahars split, and rocks changed their locations.   Even the streams and various smaller water bodies crisscrossing the villages changed their pathways, rendering some bridges useless, and creating the need for new ones. Land that was previously safe to live on became dangerous, and the fertility of the soil changed, opening new opportunities in some areas, and closing hope in others. There were even shifts in the water quality of the Neelum river and the types and quantity of fish it sustained. Research interlocutors described how they had to actively “re-learn” the landscape, discover new spaces, and find other routes to access familiar (and new) destinations as former pathways and routes were erased.165 Humanitarian NGO’s prioritized the re-construction of pathways after the disasters. Hundreds of “cash for work” or “food for work” schemes were initiated across Neelum where local men with the help of civil engineers from Islamabad were compensated in cash or kind to “re-build” pathways in the pahars. After completion, these pathways, were then “handed back” to communities (the men) who from that point onwards were responsible for their upkeep. These reconstructed pathways often took the form of a series of cemented steps crisscrossing the pahars, as shown in the photograph below. Like most humanitarian interventions, and under the pretext of vulnerability, women, children, and the elderly were considered the official beneficiaries for these initiatives. While I was in Neelum, I found most of these reconstructed pathways to be in shambles indicating that they were not maintained by Neelum’s men despite their participation in the construction. The men interviewed during fieldwork shrugged at the practicality of these “reconstructed pathways.”                                               165 Cook and Butz similarly argue that while disasters curtail mobility by destroying infrastructure, they also motivate communities (though at a different scale) to discover and create new routes for the continuity of daily life. See, Nancy Cook and David Butz, “The Dialectical Constitution of Mobility and Immobility,” Contemporary South Asia 23, no. 4 (2015).   82            Image 31. An NGO supported cemented pathway, this one is in reasonably better shape (photograph by Rihana Tahir)  83 Humanitarian intentions might be noble, the yearning to build community infrastructure through wider participation even commendable- but the cemented pathways reflect humanitarian desires of order, control, and technocracy more than anything else. This is apparent just from the way connectivity is imagined and its ideals reproduced as infrastructure. The differences in NGO pathways (above) and those that exist otherwise (see earlier photographs) are not just reflective of a lack of technical and engineering skills but hinge on other considerations, such as what kind of connectivity is desired, by whom, and for what purpose? It rains and snows much of the year in Neelum. The cemented pathways turn dangerously slippery under these weather conditions and residents find it safer to walk outside of them. I noted narrow pathways created by regular foot traffic crisscrossing the pahars, often adjacent to these cemented stairways. Not surprisingly, livestock and carrier animals (such as donkeys and mules) also find it incredibly difficult to walk on the cemented pathways even outside of the rainy season. The cemented pathways cannot withstand Neelum’s harsh weather. Their upkeep requires monetary expenditure and specialized tools which communities cannot sustain. While connectivity between villages and even within villages from one house to the next is strained, efficiency and time are important considerations which are considered when choosing a particular route. Often this means choosing the shortest route as opposed to the safest or easiest route. Cemented pathways do not necessarily adhere to this consideration of timeliness.  I often chose the cemented pathway since they appeared easier to navigate.  One day, a passer-by asked me in awe:  Why are you taking this route to get to Sehri [a village]? This will take you over an hour. Go from here, between these rocks, past the shrubs, across the waterfall—you  84 will get there fatafat (immediately, at the snap of your fingers).  On my way back, I followed the villager’s recommendation and decided to take the “quicker route.” That turned out to be a big faux pas and in part provides the inspiration for this chapter.  It took me nearly 2.5 hours to navigate the “quick route.” I had to carefully make my way across very narrow pathways, get on my feet and hands on extremely steep slopes (which one passer-by described as janwar jaisa [just like an animal]), take numerous breaks, suppress several panic attacks, and at one point requested two elderly villagers to take my hand and walk me across five feet long stretch which was too terrifying to cross on my own. Humanitarian pathways are not too different, at least in intention, from the micro-infrastructure put in place by Neelum’s able-bodied men.  Both are efforts to sculpt and tame Neelum (but to a very different degree) for those who are considered to be “non-experts” of the landscape. The humanitarians were keen to bring in engineers, foreign materials such as cement, and specialized tools to work towards a particular kind of built environment. For Neelum’s men, it was more plausible to do just enough, to make the landscape slightly more hospitable for particular bodies - i.e., women, children, elderly, animals - but for nobody else. 85                           Image 32. A resident makes his way home via an “unofficial pathway” (photograph by Razia Bano) 86 Bodies Opening Routes and Routines    “Unofficial” pahari pathways encourage the circulation of bodies within the valley’s pahars and allow the fulfilment of daily life tasks. Additionally, the mobility of Neelum’s residents is supported by the notion of multiple homesteads; one being in the village, others being on their route to the malis. Malis are grazing pastures and forests at dizzying altitudes which are collectively accessed by communities. Malis are not bounded geographies with a fixed address but refer to a conglomeration of ancestral spaces which offer increased access to resources, cool temperatures, and even respite from the male gaze. During summer, women and children along with their livestock migrate to the malis. Men are usually not allowed to access the malis, though specific accommodations are sometimes made.166 Migrations to the malis during the summer are examples of very practical (and gendered) engagements with landscape. The animals are fattened in the malis and the forests are combed for vegetables, mushrooms, and medicinal plants. On account of their altitude, the malis also provide respite from the summer heat.                                                      166 Men have their own seasonal migratory patterns to Pakistan’s urban centers where they typically seek poorly compensated employment during the winter months.    87              Image 33. Transient homes (beheks), en route to the malis (photograph by Mohammed Zaheer) 88 Sometimes, in their search for food in the malis, women and their livestock will venture dangerously close to the LoC- swaths of landscape littered with landmines to prohibit “illegal” crossings into Indian administered Kashmir. Other times, landmines are swept by rain or mudslides into Neelum’s forests and near the beheks (transient houses). The Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) works in the valley to educate residents about landmines. The safety advice they impart in their civilian trainings is to discourage residents (specifically women and children) from taking their animals on unfamiliar routes for grazing. Per their records, hundreds of livestock die every year due to landmines and dozens of women and children either die or suffer from lifelong disabilities. The PRCS encourages residents not to venture into unchartered territories, and by doing so they are perpetuating yet another border within Neelum, which runs in parallel to the LoC. In the following sections, I highlight how the circulation of bodies within Neelum’s pahars is encouraged by affective attachments with more-than-human bodies, namely plants, vegetables, and animals found in landscape.  More-than-Human Bodies As my research interlocutors became more confident in our relationship, the nature of food I was served also shifted. It went from the usual biryani and chicken karhai to more region-specific dishes such as locally sourced saags (spinaches) and mushrooms. The sugar in the tea changed from regular refined sugar to gur (unprocessed brown sugar) and the milk from Milkpack (a very popular brand of pasteurized milk) to unpasteurized, raw milk. I read this in two ways: one, as people’s comfort increased they did not find it necessary to cater to my urban taste-buds or expectations of food. And second, that local foods communicated a profound sense of pride, belonging, and rootedness which cannot be articulated through the language of geopolitics. In this section I examine more-than-human bodies, such as edible  89 plants, mushrooms, and animals and how they open up landscape.            Intimacies of food Hameeda, a resident of Neelum, only uses jangli payyaz for cooking which she handpicks from the malis. Jangli payyaz, a variety of green onions (translates literally as “wild onions”) are bold in flavor and fragrance. Hameeda dries them in the sun and stores them in little plastic containers for use during winter. She explains:  They have a strong taste and smell and food doesn’t taste the same without them. I dislike the onions you can purchase from the bazaar which are trucked in from Pakistan. They have no flavor and they are grown using harmful fertilizers and chemicals. Jangli payyaz smells of Neelum and tastes like Neelum.  Jangli payyaz are found at dizzying heights and often in difficult to access and dangerous areas such as those prone to landslides - spaces which one would not consider accessing otherwise. Collecting jangli payyaz puts the body at tangible risk. They grow in small clusters and therefore large tracts of inaccessible landscape have to be carefully navigated for their sufficient collection.  Andaza, another resident, speaks about shirley, a local variety of mushrooms also found in the malis. She describes:   Shirley don’t grow everywhere. They grow on specific trees and there is no guarantee that they will re-appear in the same spot they did last season. They are very delicate. I go to the malis with our animals [goats, cows], as they graze, I scan the forest for shirley. They must be collected within 3 days of appearing. Upon appearing, within 2-3 days they ripen, it is at this point they have to collected or they dry out and are no  90 longer edible.  Shirley are very delicate mushrooms, and women are invested in their protection over repeated trips to the areas where they were initially spotted. Shirley draw the same bodies back to the landscape in relationships of care and anticipation.    Image 34. Shirley: these are boiled and then cooked with a sauce of onions and tomatoes (photograph by the author)  Jangli payyaz and shirley are not only symbolic of the affective ecologies of Neelum (expressions like “they smell of Neelum and taste like Neelum” provide us clues), but they also compel gendered bodies to navigate unchartered and inhospitable landscape, or re-open existing ones, contributing to its renewal and expansion.    The interconnectivities and circulations of bodies in landscapes are also interlinked  91 with ideas of the social, how it is produced, maintained, preserved, and extended. For example, the malis also have their own culinary traditions. Since animals have better grazing opportunities, they produce more milk. The shelf life of milk is increased by turning milk into lassi (a watered yoghurt drink), bhagoray (cheese curds), and ghee (clarified butter). These are consumed in the beheks but also brought back to the villages where their circulation amongst friends, family, and neighbors creates and maintains kinship and closeness. Since the malis are predominately accessed by women and children, they also serve as amenable spaces of interconnectivity and interactivity exclusively between women. Such spaces of relatability minimally exist in village lived spaces, where sharp distinctions between public and private life are maintained and women’s mobilities are constrained and scrutinized.    Image 35. Bhagoray (cheese curds) prepared in the beheks, these are fried in ghee with spices (photograph by the author)   Women (particularly senior women, such as the mother-in-law or grandmother) take pride in growing vegetables. These practices not only directly emplace women within  92 landscape but also cement them to other people. One interlocutor explains:  My dadi [paternal grandmother] has a passion for growing vegetables. She regularly tends to them and even takes her shoes off before entering the vegetable garden [out of respect]. She strictly instructs other to do the same. We often have surplus vegetables and regularly send cucumbers, potatoes [and other produce] to neighbors and family members. Our neighbors and relatives do the same.   Image 36. Home-grown potatoes stored in a cavity for use throughout the year (photograph by Nusrat Jamal)               Animals in landscape One morning, seated in the veranda of my host’s home in Neelum, I intently watched chickens run around the courtyard. My host interrupted my gaze: “Tumhari nazar na lag jaye  93 (don’t stare at them so intently, you will give them an evil eye).” As affective bodies - much like the jangli payyaz and shirley-  animals form unique relationships with their care-takers and extend their emplacement in landscapes as well as their navigational capacity of it. Livestock in particular are referred to as maal (wealth), reflecting not only their status as assets but the value they bring to everyday life.  Children often introduced me to their goats and told me their names. The act of naming implies love and attachment, perhaps formed as a result of large amounts of solitary time spent with animals.  Image 37. Bhala and Tani resting in the shade (photograph by the author)  Birke, Bryld, and Lykke encourage us to think about the complexities of human/animal relationships as a “kind of choreography, a co-creation of behavior.” 167                                                167 Lynda Birke, Mette Bryld and Nina Lykke, “Animal Performances,” Feminist Theory 5, no. 2 (2004), 167.   94 Everyday life, migratory patterns even spatial practices are purposefully instituted around animals and their needs. As legitimate bodies in Neelum, animals are very closely intertwined with the opening and maintenance of illaqa. Since ambulatory animals such as cows and goats are also prohibited from crossing over the LoC (they get blown away by landmines), they, too, are geopolitically restricted. Additionally, migrations to the malis are intrinsically tied to the sustenance of livestock, who accompany their caretakers to benefit from unrestricted grazing pastures.    95  Image 38. A woman tends her livestock. She challenges conventions of flatness and acceptable topography by expertly operating on a slope (photograph by Rihana Tahir)  96   Image 39. An “unofficial” pathway leading to the malis. Different bodies work in the landscape to create routes and routines that do not depend on geopolitics (photograph by Rihana Tahir) 97  The two recent disasters that struck Neelum killed large numbers of livestock. Despite the number of years gone by, most households have been unable to regain same levels of livestock as before. This means there is less and less incentive for households to invest their bodily labor and time in trekking to the malis. Several women reported that they no longer go to the malis since they only have a handful of livestock and it does not make much sense to trek all the way up.  Instead, they now send their animals with a neighbor or someone else who has a bigger herd and pay them some money for their help. In this way, animals such as cows and goats both allow and deny movement of residents in their landscape, and therefore can expand or foreclose illaqa.   Image 40. An elderly man resting with his cattle on the way back from the malis (photograph by Farhat Shaheen)     98 Animals help sustain the circulation of bodies within Neelum in ways beyond those afforded by infrastructure such as bridges and pathways. For example, the goats are slaughtered on special occasions, such as weddings and funerals, which draws relatives and friends from far and near. Similarly, home grown chickens (referred to as “desi” chickens) are consumed only on significant occasions such as marriage or an important family visit. Therefore, goats and chickens as sources of food maintain familial and diasporic linkages. The examples of various milk products whose production are increased by accessing the malis also speak to this. Animals allow humans to create and maintain modes of relationality which are difficult to sustain otherwise. Surprisingly, this also includes the creation of virtual communities. A research interlocutor explains:  My sisters often steal eggs from our chickens. Usually, they are the ones put in charge of collecting eggs, they often hide some for themselves. They sell the eggs in the bazaar and use the money to purchase credit for their mobile phones. They then send text messages to their sahailees (close friends).           99 Open Yet Embracing, Closed Yet Expansive, Shrinking Yet Unfolding   Image 41. A fan wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “Winner takes Kashmir” during a recent cricket match between Pakistan and India (image obtained from Facebook)  The photograph depicts a man wearing a shirt with the slogan “Winner takes Kashmir” at a cricket match between Pakistan and India. The slogan is an excellent reminder that the people of Kashmir remain transfixed within someone else’s imagination. In fact, amongst Kashmiris themselves, there is ample diversity on visions for its future, ranging from a combative approach to accommodation and negotiation with India and Pakistan.168 Junaid                                                168 Samina Yasmeen, “Pakistan’s Kashmir Policy,” Contemporary South Asia 12, no. 2 (2003).  100 points out that while many Kashmiris in Pakistan acknowledge how Pakistan has stood by them, behind Pakistani state’s support “lies a form of manipulation, which must be pointed out,” a support which encourages independence from India but only a merger with Pakistan.169  The LoC and its militarization significantly restrict movement in the region. Additionally, the uncertainty and irresolution caused by the LoC creates unique conceptual and material affects, which shape a collective Kashmiri identity.170 The Herald (a popular Pakistani magazine) published a story about a woman who waited 45 years and travelled some 3, 000 kilometers to be reunited with her mother on the other side of the LoC, while in terms of actual distance is only some 30 kilometers apart.171   Another local newspaper features the story of a Kashmiri groom, who while just few kilometers away from his bride’s home across the LoC,  is forced to travel some 1,100 kilometers to enter Pakistan from a border crossing near Lahore.172 Several people have advocated to make the LoC more permeable to allow for familial and commercial linkages, opening the possibilities of new kinds of solutions (and questions) for Kashmir.173   Life in Neelum remains hostage to the possibility that cross-border hostilities may resume at any point.174 During the 14 years of border conflict, research interlocutors described how they were cut off from their illaqa, often reduced to taking refuge in underground shelters for extended periods of time. This impacted their ability to tend the land, raise cattle, and                                                169 Mohamad Junaid, “Kashmiri View of Pakistan,” Tanqeed: A Magazine of Politics and Culture, October 2017, www.tanqeed.org/2016/10/a-kashmiri-view-of-pakistan-solidarity-without-demands/. 170 Ananya Jahanara Kabir, “Cartographic Irresolution,” Social Text 27, no. 4 101 (2009). 171 Danial Shah and Mithila Jariwala, “Homecoming,” The Herald, January 2017, http://herald.dawn.com/news/1153651/homecoming-a-pakistani-daughter-reunites-with-her-indian-mother. 172 Tariq Naqash, “Wedding Parties to Travel across LoC,” Dawn, April 2015, https://www.dawn.com/news/1174421/islamabad-new-delhi-asked-to-allow-wedding-parties-to-travel-across-loc. 173 PR Chari, Hassan Askari Rizvi, Rashid Ahmed Khan, and Suba Chandran, “The Kashmir Dispute,” Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (2009). 174 Salman Masood, “Surgical Strikes on Militants,” New York Times, October 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/02/world/asia/kashmir-pakistan-india.html.  101 engage in the many practices necessary for sustaining everyday life in Neelum. Nusrat, my research assistant, who was in grade 5 when a ceasefire was reached between India and Pakistan recalls: “When the firing stopped, we felt so strange. We could now go out, freely roam the land, and just be.” How can we understand Neelum (and by extension Kashmir) outside of geopolitics? Neelum, like much of Kashmir is heavily mediated by nation-states, disasters, humanitarians, and other (often masculine) discourses.  Bodies in Neelum work in the landscape to create routes and routines that are disentangled from geopolitics and other prescriptive forces. The pahars and more-than-human bodies of Neelum generate unique affective and situated intimacies. These affective ecologies are very much tied to the production of illaqa by drawing residents back to the landscape or opening new spaces for bodily incursions, such as the remote edges of pahars where the jungle payyaz grows or the chicken eggs that allow young women to text their friends opening other kinds of (virtual) spaces. The very circulation of bodies stitched within the materiality of everyday life such as washing clothes, collecting food, and grazing are forms of ambulatory emplacement which disrupt the geopolitical boundedness of territory.175    Understood this way, Neelum is open yet embracing, closed yet expansive, shrinking yet unfolding, determined by the circulation and movement of Kashmiri bodies in its landscapes. The affective entanglements between human and more-than-human bodies play an important role in maintaining and extending relationality in an otherwise “remote” and “un-navigable” region.  Kleinman conceptualizes moral life as “carrying on our existence, negotiating important relations with others, doing work that means something to us, and living in some                                                175 Sara Smith, “Intimate Geopolitics,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102, no. 6 (2012) and Sara Smith, Nathan W. Swanson, and Banu Gökarıksel, “Territory, Bodies and Borders,” Area 48, no. 3 (2016).  102 particular local place where others are also passionately engaged in these same existence activities.”176 He argues that “moral experience is always about practical engagements in a particular local world, a social space that carries cultural, political, and economic specificity.”177 I extend the notion of moral life to moral life in landscape, to encapsulate the social labor and daily life chores performed by residents of Neelum as placed within their landscapes. Remaining emplaced within Neelum despite ongoing conditions of colonial occupation - particularly restrictions to movement - is a powerful example of a life in the meantime, a pragmatic presentism,178 where life-work is diligently performed to achieve undefined, multiple, and possible futures. Living off the land and waterways in Neelum and understanding relationships with landscape as a conglomeration of public and private intimacies allows us to understand the bodily presence and circulation of residents in Neelum as the maintenance and extension of place, integral to ongoing struggles for Kashmir. There are many forces that discourage mobility in Neelum. This includes numerous military checkpoints and landmines as well as the LoC itself.  Based on self-serving commercial interests and technocratic understandings of nature conservation,179 there are also other kinds of restrictions on landscapes and waterscapes put in place by the Pakistani state. For example, fishing the Neelum river is prohibited as is collecting certain medicinal plants and mushrooms from its forests. Everyday life in Neelum challenges the notion of spatial homogeneity demanded by the Pakistani state and its borders. As described previously, even the location of home is multiple, as is land ownership which is rarely consolidated into a singular spatial block. For                                                176 Arthur Kleinman, What Really Matters (Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2006), 1-2. 177 Arthur Kleinman, Experience and Its Moral Modes, ed. Grethe B. Peterson (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1999), 365. 178 See, José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia (New York: New York University Press, 2009). 179 See, Nosheen Ali, “Spaces of Nature,” Ethnoscripts 16, no. 1 (2014).   103 example, a household might have land where they grow maize adjacent to their village house, but also in various patches spread throughout the pahars at varying altitudes and locations. These dispersed land-holdings are inherited, based in memory, and undermine spatial homogeneity, but also reconfigure how one understands proximity and distance, space, and landscape, as being unbounded, fragmented, dispersed, and varied. Neelum has been cut off from Srinagar (the cultural capital of the once unified Kashmir) for decades. During my research in Neelum and its surrounding pahars (including other valleys in the region which do not fall under the ambit of Kashmir), I noted similarities in terms of land-based lifestyles, migratory practices, and other forms of ecological knowledges and consciousness that stem from making life hospitable in the pahars as opposed to simply being Pakistani or Kashmiri. The common language spoken in the pahari region (Hindko) also speaks of another shared similarity.  Collectively known as  pahari log as opposed to only Kashmiris or Pakistanis, people in this pahari region are united by a mode of life built upon reliance, respect, and attachment to landscape as well as the difficulties and dangers of doing so.  Intellectually and culturally, Neelum was perhaps never an “important” part of unified Kashmir. I also noticed some resentment from Kashmiri-speaking residents (essentially “migrants” from Indian administered Kashmir) towards Hindko speakers, as being “unhygienic and uneducated,” hinting at possible histories of internal colonialism within Kashmir. Having no or limited access to Indian administered Kashmir (being a Pakistani citizen, the practicalities of border-crossing are rather complex), I find it more compelling to understand Neelum as part of a heterogeneous Kashmir, defined by the intimacies of living in landscape rather than a historic configuration within a unified polity, knowledge of which is impossible for me to access. I understand Neelum as a unique space, caught between allegiance to Srinagar and forced inclusion within Pakistan, and an everyday pahari way of  104 life - a lived territory in its own right.   The bakherwals are a nomadic group of people who raise livestock and move from one mali to another regardless of whether it is situated in Kashmir or Pakistan. Their large caravans can be seen defiantly crossing provincial and territorial borders.  They have been raising livestock across the malis in Northern Pakistan and Kashmir long before the firming up of geopolitical borders indicating that connections and routes have always existed. An understanding of Kashmir rooted in movement and flow, interconnectivity, intimacy, and landscape – pahari modes of life -can perhaps inspire new language which is generative and does not seek to constrain, constrict, or categorize.   Sweat, Tears, Blisters, Rashes, and Bruises  Inayatullah and Blaney suggest that instead of rejecting sovereignty all together, it is perhaps more useful to reimagine sovereignty as “multiple and overlapping” to accommodate the transnational flows and multi-layered processes that disallow boundaries from being absolute.180 Shneiderman’s ethnographic work shows us that states may even create alternative citizenship categories for border residents in response to demands and practices from below, in non-postcolonial trajectories of state formation.181  However, I remain skeptical of centering the state as the principal adjudicator and only valid complement to life and politics, regardless of how we understand the sovereign. The question then is, should we invest our energy in rescuing old categories or developing new ones which better reflect our understanding of the world?  I am inclined towards the latter and find the analytical pathways opened by recent work on refusal more generative for my reading of life and politics in Kashmir than attempts to resuscitate sovereignty as a conceptual opportunity. 182                                                180 Naeem Inayatullah and David Blaney, International Relations (London: Routledge, 2004), 168-196 181 Sara B. Shneiderman, “Himalayan Border Citizens,” Political Geography 35 (2013). 182 See, e.g., Audra Simpson, Mohawk Interruptus (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2014).  105 Karrar and Mostowlansky argue that perhaps instead of approaching Northern Pakistan [and Kashmir] as a “border area,” what if they are approached as an “assemblage of marginality” that extends beyond location to integrate regional experiences of colonialism, nationalist histories of inclusion/exclusion, political economy, and local identity formation?183  I have purposefully chosen not to emphasize marginality as a unifying marker for the region but have instead drawn attention to the situated intimacies and movements which anchor residents to an ambulatory and shape-shifting notion of a territory. This is not because I want to romanticize and mute certain elements of life (for example those of political economy) but because there is “something” about territory (illaqa) that does not adequately make its way into our writings on Kashmir (or on Northern Pakistan). I often asked my research interlocutors: “Why don’t you leave Neelum, given the difficulties of life here?”  The question typically catches people off-guard; perhaps they have never thought about leaving. Some would retaliate with an even stronger provocation: “Why should we leave? Regardless of the hardships we face, this is our illaqa (territory). Even those who have left, eventually make their way back home.” The rich, productive imaginations and social labor that goes into the circulation of the illaqa, is an important analytical space, one that I have attempted to centralize in this writing. Landscapes are not just location -geopoints A and B - but agentive spaces which inform the aspirations, skepticism, and betrayals of life therein. They act upon and are acted upon by human and more-than-human bodies and are central to the stories of chronicity and social repair I seek to write.                                                  183 Hasan H. Karrar and Till Mostowlansky, “Assembling Marginality,” Political Geography 63 (2018), 65.  106  Image 42. Shahida bibi’s siblings pray at their mother’s grave on the way to school (photograph by Shahida bibi)  It is difficult to initiate any conversation on Kashmir without acknowledging the elephant in the room: colonial occupation.  For me, this is a necessary etiquette of engagement without which I become a direct participant in the silences and erasures that sustain the fictions of Pakistan “administered” Kashmir. I stand resolute in this position and am thankful for my research interlocutors for often reminding me that I am not “one of them” and that any solidarity I may offer is really insufficient until I am prepared to engage in a radical repositioning and redistribution of the benefits and protections that I embody as a Pakistani citizen - readjustments I am not yet prepared to undertake. Let me offer an example:  One evening, the small guesthouse in Neelum where I stayed (it only has two rooms) was suddenly filled by a large number of men. These were members of Pakistan  107 administered Kashmir’s last remaining nationalist political party. Within minutes, the courtyard was full. As they waited for their leader to arrive, the caretaker of the guesthouse strongly suggested that I lock myself in my room and draw the curtains, as things could get rowdy. Plus, I had no business in being a part of this “internal” conversation. He suggested that for my own safety, I should not let anyone in. I did as I was requested. From my room, I could hear people clapping, possibly indicating that their leader had arrived. Shortly after someone started to speak on a loudspeaker, I heard hurried knocks on my door.  I did not open as instructed. Eventually, the person gave up. But sooner or later, I heard another knock. After every 10 minutes or so, someone would want to get into my room. Sometimes they would just knock, other times they would yell: “Jaldi, darwaza kholo” (hurry, open the door!). I counted at least 10 different people wanting in. Later, I learnt, that participants of the rally needed to go to the bathroom. The bathroom in the other room was in a state of disrepair and only my room offered some hope. By placing my safety and comfort at the center of the universe (not sure if I would be comfortable letting strangers use my bathroom even if I had known), I was a material impediment to the internal political processes of Kashmir even if in a trivial way such as blocking the dignified gastric releases of political party workers. I learnt they had to go do their “business” in the jungle.  I have always wondered why works of fiction on Kashmir are far more satisfying and enriching then their academic counterparts. For example, writings by Basharat Peer (Curfewed Night), Mirza Waheed (The Collaborator), Salman Rushdie (Shalimar the Clown), Arundhati Roy (The Ministry of Utmost Happiness), Malik Sajjad (Munnu), and Ather Zia (Editor of Kashmir Lit) offer “valuable narrative and rhetorical resources for imagining an  108 alternative to a militarized postcolonial colonial sovereignty”184 and even sovereignty itself. Conversely, most academic writings on Kashmir remain stuck, apologetic, and underwhelming. Hence, this chapter is also about developing the courage to attempt counter-projects of seeing, analyzing, and representation to “agitate the dominant imaginaries, trouble the subtle ruses of state power, and, in the process, train a new disobedient sensorium”185 - whether this is by paying attention to Neelum’s onions, mushrooms, chickens, and goats or my own (clumsy) navigation of the terrain.  While I have attempted to invoke a Deleuze inspired working of movement, space, and its re/de-territorialization, I admit my devotion to Deleuze begins and ends with Wikipedia. Do I really need a dead white guy to help me understand Kashmir? When the resources to do so are right here: the human and more-than-human bodies which situate and are situated by Neelum.  Their attachments, movements, and flows constitute genres of life, and the landscape acts as the stage on which these genres of life unfold. My own ambulatory challenges in Neelum, how I struggled just to get from one place to another, provides me further evidence that the body in movement is indeed a site of data and theory, expressed through not just the navigation of the pahars, but also the investments made in the land and in food.                                                 184 Stephen Morton, “Sovereignty and Necropolitics,” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 50, no. 1 (2014), 29. 185 Mohamad Junaid, “Seeing Not like a State,” RAIOT: Challenging the Consensus, May 2016, http://raiot.in/seeing-not-like-a-state-on-rollie-mukherjees-images-of-kashmir/#_ftnref1.    109  Image 43. The body in movement is a repository of data and theory (photograph by Abdul Basit)   I would like to momentarily focus on my own body, its movement, flow (and stasis), and how my sweat, tears, blisters, rashes, and bruises are also sites of knowledge. For one thing, I would not have written this chapter in this way, if I had not gotten lost, injured, tired, and broken down by Neelum’s landscapes. Known as “motta bhai” (fat brother) by the village children, I was both amused and thrilled to learn how my daily descent and ascent into the pahars inspired an excitement amongst them. In anticipation of my daily incursions, children would excitedly congregate on their rooftops and place friendly bets on how long I would take to get down, how many times I would stop to catch my breath, or drink water. When leaving, one child even professed that he would “miss me,” even though we had never met before. I was certainly an important character in the drama of Neelum.  110 I also picked up countless theoretical cues by eating in company. Initially, I was hesitant in accepting people’s invitations to break bread. The following excerpt from my journal walks us through my thinking:  There is such little food to eat in general, but I am beginning to think if rejecting an invitation, refusing to eat after someone has gone through the trouble of preparing a meal, making chai, running to the bazaar to buy biscuits, or even cut up a cucumber is actually more damaging… and counterproductive to what I seek to understand in Neelum. It seems I am understanding accepting an invitation to eat as an act of “taking away.” While the engagement far exceeds a mere taking away of food (resources). It signals an acceptance of someone’s generosity, it means taking the time to go to someone’s house (no matter how far away they might live or how difficult it may be to get there). It means allowing yourself to be further enveloped by landscape, sociality, and experience. The home is an extremely private space and an extremely privileged site to which most strangers are not privy too. Can accepting an invitation to eat even within the context of scarcity be understood as a gift, a form of reciprocity, as method and theory generation? Shit, I think I had it wrong all this time.    111                              Image 44. Dasterkhwan (“table cloth” or “great spread”) (photograph by the author) 112 In this chapter, I have attempted to rethink Kashmir’s sovereignty as much as I have attempted to take analytical and literary risks, simply because we cannot break new ground on Kashmir using the same tired tools. If we are really committed to understanding and articulating visions of Kashmir which are fully formed and realized, we must locate theory and methodology as mutually constitutive within our literary genres (not outside of them) to elaborate narrative writing as praxis. Otherwise the rich textures and features of life and world will continue to evade our analytical purview. I take Arundhati’s Roy’s challenge to heart:   [On Kashmir] we have to be able to think clearly, speak freely and listen fearlessly to things we may not want to hear. We have to find a new imagination. This applies to everybody, on all sides of the dispute. Something beautiful could come of it. Why not? Why ever not? 186                                                       186 Roy, “Azadi.”   113             Image 45. Odd perspective (photograph by the author)  114   (interlude)      Let’s try this again: “Who are you as a scholar? What is your location?” It varies: Some days I am a feminist, some days I am queer, some days I am an ethnographer, some days I am an activist, some days I am an ally, some days I am a poser, some days I am an appropriator, some days I am a contrarian, some days I just stay in bed all day long.  Let’s try this again: “Who are you as a scholar? What is your location?” Today, I cannot decide.  Let’s try this again: “Who are you as a scholar? What is your location?” I am a receiver and initiator of complaint.  Let’s try this again: “Who are you as a scholar? What is your location?” I think a lot about the shoe.  115 scene two  BETRAYAL               ٩ Natural disasters impact the very DNA of devotion; what we owe each other and to whom we owe. More simply put, disasters radically reconfigure how people are put together and the expectations they place on one another. In part, because disasters place overwhelming limitations on everyday life, constraining people’s capacities to fulfil shared obligations. But also, because they can shift the very nature of these demands as life is no longer governed by the same boundaries. Understood this way, it is plausible to consider that disasters can catalyze conditions for letting each other down; they create, nurture, and amplify betrayal. Using the metaphor of betrayal, both as an embodied (lived and felt) experience as well as a shared (affective and material) social condition, I write about my interlocutor: Niaz, whose life in the pahari Northern Pakistan is further confounded by another form of betrayal, that of his body. As a result of an injury (permanent as judged by doctors but temporary as judged by Niaz), Niaz’s bodily limitations placed significant constraints on his life much before the earthquake that devastated his Himalayan village. Niaz’s failed body (a body that refuses to “recover”), presents an important counterpoint to the disaster of the earthquake, both life-altering events. But Niaz does not attribute his most profound dysphoria to either the accident or the earthquake, but to the disloyalty of his best friend. In my attempts to understand intersecting forms of violence (bodily injury, earthquake, social betrayal) as chronicity, I approach disasters as a catalysis for other forms of social let-downs. Furthermore, I attempt to understand social repair as a process governed by its own willful genres of life and disarticulated futurities.    116 The disaster ruins everything, all the while leaving everything intact - Maurice Blanchot187   Natural disasters impact the social DNA of devotion; what we owe each other and to whom we owe. More simply put, disasters radically reconfigure how people are put together and the expectations they place on one another. In part, because disasters place overwhelming limitations on everyday life, constraining people’s capacities to fulfil shared obligations. But also, because they can shift the very nature of these demands as life is no longer governed by the same boundaries. Faced with new forms of affective and material scarcity, social expectations may no longer be achievable. More importantly, disasters may reconfigure accountabilities altogether and demand new rules and matching forms of social and affective labor188 to sustain revised social standards. Understood this way, it is plausible to consider that disasters can catalyze conditions for letting each other down; they create, nurture, and amplify betrayal. This assertion, in turn, raises compelling questions about protective structures such as the family, community, the state, and their in-sufficient roles in social repair and remaking in disaster aftermaths.189 I argue that repair is less about resolution, reconciliation, and achieving compatible forms of liberal futurities,190 but about approximating a rather dystopic future which makes current life palpable, irrespective and                                                187 Maurice Blanchot, The Writing of Disaster (Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1995), 1. 188 Hardt and Negri understand affective labor as the immaterial/intangible outputs of work (such as relationships and knowledge) which produce not just means of life but “social life itself.” See, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), 109. Feminist theorists have also engaged with the notion of emotional labor though from a different vantage point. See, e.g., Monique Lanoix, “Labor as Embodied Practice,” Hypatia 28, no. 1 (2013) and Kathi Weeks, “Life within and against Work,” Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization 7, no.1 (2007).  189 I am mindful that each of these forms of association (family, community, the state) require further elaboration to adequately tease out their “insufficiencies” which are particular and situated. I attempt to do some of this work in the remainder of the chapter. 190 A lot of exciting work seeks to imagine futures that are distinct from how it is imagined under modernity. This includes the artistic and theoretical genre of Afrofuturism. See, e.g., Ruth Mayer, “Africa as an Alien Future,” Amerikastudien / American Studies 45, no. 4 (2000); Mark Sinker, “Loving the Alien,” The Wire, no. 96 (1992); Alondra Nelson, “Introduction: Future Texts,” Social Text 20, no. 2 (2002); Yusuf Nurrudin, “Ancient Black Astronauts and Extraterrestrial Jihads,” Socialism and Democracy 20, no. 3 (2006) and Trending Team, “Pakistani Artist’s Concept Art of a Sci-Fi Pakistan,”  #trending.pk, March 2017, https://trending.pk/2017/03/pakistani-artists-concept-art-sci-fi-pakistan-will-blow-away/.  117 despite the contradictory, sabotaging, and jagged edges of sociality. Therefore, natural disasters are not just glitches in “the reproduction of life” 191 which warrant the replacement of broken infrastructure necessary for sociality to extend, but also revelatory spaces to understand “how that extension can be non-reproductive, generating a form from within brokenness beyond the exigencies of the current crisis, and alternatively to it too.” 192After all, the “death of nature” 193 i.e. the envisioned decay of the natural world, provokes novel genres of humanness and relating which must be executed in the here and now.194 Using the metaphor of betrayal, both as an embodied (lived and felt) experience as well as a shared (affective and material) social condition, I write about my interlocutor: Niaz, whose life in the pahari Northern Pakistan is further confounded by another form of betrayal, that of his body.195  As a result of an injury (permanent as judged by doctors but temporary as judged by Niaz), Niaz’s bodily limitations already place significant constraints on life in the “unruly” pahars even before the earthquake that devastated his Himalayan village in the Siran valley. Niaz’s failed body (a body that refuses to “recover”), presents an important counterpoint to the disaster of the earthquake, both life-altering events. However, Niaz does not attribute his most profound dysphoria196 to either the accident or the earthquake, but to the disloyalty of a friend. Our conversations were punctuated by repeated references to this other protagonist and how his infidelity shattered Niaz in multiple ways. Another site of                                                191 Lauren Berlant, “The Commons,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 34, no. 3 (2016), 393. 192 Ibid. 193 Naveeda Khan, “The Death of Nature,” in Wording the World, ed. Roma Chatterji (New York: Fordham University Press, 2014), 289. 194 Bruce Braun, “Environmental Issues,” Progress in Human Geography 32, no. 5 (2008); Julie Kathy Gibson-Graham, “A Feminist Project,” Gender, Place and Culture 18, no. 1 (2011) and Val Plumwood, Environmental Culture (New York: Routledge, 2002). 195 I understand the body as being at once “cultural, political, textual and visual, corporeal and abstracted.” See, Michael Richardson, “Writing Trauma,” New Writing 10, no. 2 (2013), 155. 196 Durban-Albrecht writes in the context of the Haiti earthquake, where the source of the most profound dysphoria for the paper’s protagonist is not just the earthquake which resulted in broken bones and limbs, but the protagonist’s re-masculinization (destabilization of gender identity) while receiving medical interventions. See, Erin Durban-Albrecht, “Postcolonial Disablement,” TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 4, no. 2 (2017).  118 interest is Niaz’s exercise instruments needed for his bodily rehabilitation. These were destroyed in the earthquake and have still not been repaired, causing further deterioration in his bodily abilities. Despite their importance to Niaz’s well-being, why were they not revived as opposed to so many other object-practices that were?  Niaz responds with a shrug: “It just hasn’t happened yet.”  In my attempts to understand intersecting forms of violence (bodily injury, earthquake, social betrayal) as contributing to a chronicity of life,197 I disentangle natural disasters as discrete temporal events but as a catalysis of other forms of social let-downs.198 I also attempt to understand repair in disaster aftermaths as a process governed by its own willful genres of life and disarticulated futurities.199 In the ethnographic unfoldings of this chapter, I draw attention to those “thin, transient, analytically awkward”200 details, which despite being quietly tucked away are important tellings of the  multiple genres of politics and possibilities of life. I approach Niaz as a “phenomenological subject” (as opposed to a psychoanalytical one).201 At the same time, I am not invested in merely generating a phenomenology of violence,202  nor in demonstrating breakage and repair in that redemptive order, despite how                                                197 See, Henrik Vigh, “Crisis and Chronicity,” Ethnos 73, no. 1 (2008). 198 Willett offers the term “micro-disasters” as an interesting parallel which she defines as “everyday problems that are linked to development and have no formal aid support for survivors, which deepens poverty.” See, Jennifer Willett, “Micro Disasters,” International Social Work (2017), 1. Disasters also tend to highlight the longstanding injustices in society. See, Lena Dominelli, “Social Work Interventions in Disaster Situations,” International Social Work 58, no. 5 (2015). 199 See, Sonali Deraniyagala, Wave: A Memoir of Life after the Tsunami (UK: Hachette, 2013). 200 Zoe H. Wool, “In-Durable Sociality,” Social Text 35, no. 1 130 (2017), 93. 201  Oliver writes: “Whereas the phenomenological subject can become conscious of its self-consciousness and its motives, desires and fears, which it owns (as Husserl might say, are its own), the psychoanalytic subject is continually an encounter with the otherness of the unconscious, which can’t completely come to consciousness or be owned up to, let alone owned. These differences bear on the history of subject position and the historicity of subjectivity or the distinction between beings and meaning.” See, Kelly Oliver, “Witnessing and Testimony,” Parallax 10, no.1 (2004), 80.  202 This is not to imply that we have done a sufficient job of understanding violence beyond instrumental, cultural, and structural explanations or that it ceases to be a genuine philosophical problem. See, Michael Staudigl, ed. Phenomenologies of Violence (Leiden: Brill, 2013).  119 seductive the chiasmus may be.203 But more so, in dwelling in the interstitial spaces that punctuate the life that Niaz invokes, pointing towards those genres of knowing204 that defy stable patterns of lived experience to appreciate their incoherence, non-causality, and retro-activeness.205  In certain ways, Niaz’s contemporaneity is not conducive to story, and collides with the violent desire for “form, coherency, and credulity.”206 Therefore, I find it more useful, to situate Niaz in an “in-durable” genre of sociality.207 One “that takes its objects from those things that constitute normative arrangements of life, or the events that change them, or that contain a ‘transformative potential of becoming,’”208  drawing attention to the daily experiences of an uncertain life, “that is circumscribed within a present that seems to go nowhere.”209 This stops me from making the error of categorizing Niaz as an object of potentiality and emergence,210 reflecting a problematic optimism in some undefined transformative potential whose modes of production we do not know.211                                                203 Maureen Moynagh, “Making and Unmaking,” Biography 39, no. 4 (2016). 204 Haim Gouri, Facing the Glass Booth, trans. Michael Swirsky (Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press, 2004). 205 Daniel Brant, “Traumatic Encounters,” Journal of Haitian Studies 20, no. 2 (2014) and Laura Loth, “(Re) Reading the Ruins,” Women in French Studies 23, no. 1 (2015). 206 Nouri Gana and Heike Härting, “Introduction: Narrative Violence,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 28, no. 1 (2008), 2. 207 Wool, “In-Durable Sociality,” 81. 208 Ibid. 209 Ibid. 210 João Biehl and Peter Locke, “Anthropology of Becoming,” Current Anthropology 51, no. 3 (2010) and Didier Fassin, Frédéric Le Marcis, and Todd Lethata, “Life & Times of Magda A,” Current Anthropology 49, no. 2 (2008). 211 Another point of departure from the becoming narrative, is how desire is insufficiently articulated as not being smart, agentive, insightful, constitutive of expertise. See, Eve Tuck, “Breaking up with Deleuze,” International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 23, no. 5 (2010).  120 Can this provide the momentum needed to challenge long-held assumptions by the field of disaster studies, such as those pertaining to the emancipatory and celebratory promises of social capital?212 I show that not only can sociality fail to deliver213 but that its very incongruences can inspire new genres of life altogether- anti-heroics 214 enacted in the here and now. 215  Rather than focusing on the legibility of the disaster subject,216  what if we allow them to do the work: teach us vocabularies that capture life’s newness in the moment217 despite its (radical) alterity,218 to demonstrate what repair may look like during and after catastrophe?219 Niaz is an outlier of his village, but despite his compounded hyper-vulnerabilities, he                                                212 E.g., well-known authors like Anthony Oliver-Smith and Rebecca Solnit focus on social networks that arise because of disasters. See, Anthony Oliver-Smith, The Martyred City (Albuquerque, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 1986) and Rebecca Solnit, Paradise Built in Hell (Penguin, 2010). Within disaster studies, there is a large body of work that explores the role of social-networks and how these networks are strong, integral, and heightened/made more vigilant in disaster aftermaths and therefore must be enriched and protected by disaster recovery interventions. Or how they are differently available during/after disasters and how disaster interventions can undermine them. See, e.g., Roshan Bhakta Bhandari, “Social Capital in Disaster Risk Management,” Disaster Prevention and Management 23, no. 4 (2014); Emily Chamlee-Wright, Cultural and Political Economy (New York and London: Routledge, 2010); Bishnu Prasad Devkota, Brent Doberstein, and Sanjay K. Nepal, “Social Capital and Natural Disaster,” International Journal of Mass Emergencies & Disasters 34, no. 3 (2016) and Albert J. Faas, Eric Jones, Linda Whiteford, Graham Tobin, and Arthur Murphy, “Gendered Access,” Mountain Research and Development 34, no. 3 (2014). 213 Community is not a uniform, justly situated social system, but is mediated by power relations and forms of exclusion.  Joy reminds us that the blanket-term of community obfuscates power relations. Palacios considers community a “fetish.” Joseph considers community to be a “romance.” Das believes the community mimics the state in reproducing particular and specific forms of violence into everyday lived spaces. See, James Joy, Seeking the Beloved Community (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2013); Lena Palacios, “Something Else to Be,” Philosophia 6, no. 1 (2016), 98; Miranda Joseph, Against the Romance of Community (Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2002) and Veena Das, Life and Words (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2007). 214 Bronwyn Leebaw, “If Only More Such Stories,” Law, Culture and the Humanities 14, no. 1 (2015). 215 Lata Mani, “Writing the Present.” Economic and Political Weekly 50, no. 49 (2015). 216 Omer Aijazi, “Theorizing Social Repair,” Global Social Welfare 2, no. 1 (2015). 217 Kim Turcot DiFruscia, “Listening to Voices,” Altérités 7, no. 1 (2010). 218 Graeber argues that to recognize radical alterity, we must accept that we can never entirely understand other lifeworlds, “but nonetheless allow the concepts that underlie it to ‘unsettle’ our own theoretical beliefs.” See, David Graeber, “Radical Alterity,” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 5, no. 2 (2015), 3.  Naelon links alterity with ethics and argues that ethics is constituted as an inexorable affirmative response to different identities, not through an inability to understand or totalize the other. See, Jeffery Naelon, Alterity Politics (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1998). Also see, Jean Baudrillard and Marc Guillame, Radical Alterity (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2008). 219 My intention is not to invite liberal forms of sense-making and application to the disaster space. See, e.g., Megan Bradley, “More than Misfortune, “International Journal of Transitional Justice 11, no. 3 (2017), but to consider other modes of critical analysis which have precluded the field of disaster studies altogether.  121 offers a unique view of his social world, one that is unfazed by the deceptions and promises of community. His criticality, reflexivity, and bluntness allow me to disentangle relations of power, decode social hierarchies, and notice discord and fragmentation in places which otherwise appear beautifully put-together. My intention is not to pursue “damage-centered research”220 but to undo some of the tropes we have come to accept as social realities. Particularly those “truths” that pertain to repair, or any other place holders we have created to circumscribe the work of living despite life’s inhospitality.221                                                 220 Eve Tuck, “Suspending Damage,” Harvard Educational Review 79, no. 3 (2009), 409. 221 Majumdar has argued that a focus on the subaltern can lead to a redefinition of social agency as opposed to rendering visible systems of oppression. See, Nivedita Majumdar, “Silencing the Subaltern,” Catalyst: A Journal of Theory and Strategy 1, no. 1 (2017).  122             Image 46. Niaz (photograph by the author)  123 Worldings By worldings, I refer to lived and felt realities that reflect ontologies and genres of life through which relationships, knowledge, and beliefs are performed on an everyday basis. 222  Niaz consistently directs the focus of our conversations away from the breakage of his bodily functions, to another temporal possibility, where the most significant factors holding his life back are not his bodily ailments but some other. This tension, a battle for legitimacy of whose reading of reality counts, permeates the writing of this chapter. Life in the Siran valley as in the rest of Northern Pakistan, is heavily contingent on accessing its pahari landscapes. Bodily labor, understood as the adroitness and agility needed to sustain life - collect food and firewood, hike down to the bazaar, work the fields- is the currency of survival. Sociality too, is contingent on overcoming the landscape, as sparse pathways and pahari trails do not significantly alleviate the precariousness of steep topography.  I will not detail here the events that led to Niaz’s injuries except that in 2002 as a result of a fall from an electric pole, his body, as Niaz describes “was rendered useless, it was destroyed.” Niaz’s bodily placements in Siran are at odds with the landscape, 223  his refusal to accept the salience of his bodily confinements provides a valuable pause for threshing.224                                                   222  Mario Blaser, “Ontological Conflicts,” Current Anthropology 54, no. 5 (2013) and Sameer H. Shah, Leonora C. Angeles, and Leila M. Harris, “Worlding the Intangibility of Resilience,” World Development 98 (2017). 223 Niaz relies on other people’s bodily labor to make up for his lack, he purchases it. E.g., he has to pay people to collect and transport firewood, carry maize to the mill etc. 224 Tuck et al., describe thresholds as not simply places of crossing from one state to another but “as places that demand pause to mark that passage,” necessary for the ethical integrity of the endeavor. See, Eve Tuck, Mistinguette Smith, Allison M. Guess, Tavia Benjamin and Brian K. Jones, “Geotheorizing Black/Land,” Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 3, no. 1 (2014), 58.  124  Image 47. An unusual tree formation. Landmarks such as these assist people in navigating the pahars and serve as sites of congregation. Niaz is precluded from embodying the landscape in these ways (photograph by Ali Akbar Shah)              Image 48. Men transporting dowry to the house of newlyweds (photograph by Ali Akbar Shah)  125  Niaz is only able to traverse space and geography (in their conventional sense) via a wheelchair which he can navigate somewhat independently (as long as someone can help him onto it). However, this form of mobility is only limited to the immediate vicinity of his room and the small adjoining courtyard which offer relative planeness, everywhere else, even the passage leading from his detached room to the rest of his family’s dwelling is un-conducive to the wheelchair. Niaz is stitched and localized to location.225  When asked if Niaz feels confined to his room, he responds: “The world is very vast, it is all a matter of the mind.”  Image 49. Sunshine is a sought-after commodity in the shaded Siran valley. Residents joke how they have to “chase the sun” and constantly circulate within the pahars to catch sunlight (photograph by Ali Akbar Shah)                                               225 In a way, I was not so dissimilar to Niaz in Siran. My body (though intact in most ways) was also rather ineffective in traversing the moutainscapes. Many sites and locations were inaccessible to me and I had to rely on extensive local support to move from point to the other, often with the help of a hiking stick and sometimes even the guiding hand of a stranger. Most of my research took place in people’s homes and homesteads, in this way, I too was stitched to location.  126                   Image 50. Niaz can only “chase the sun” from his courtyard (photograph by the author) 127 During a participatory photography workshop, Niaz shared the picture of a wall-clock which decorates his room. He explains how the clock helps him regulate the day and introduce variance in it:  I live my life by this clock. In the morning, I get up, I look at the time and offer Fajr prayers [morning prayers at dawn], then I recite the Quran. Shortly after, my niece brings me breakfast. I keep track of time, and just after lunch, my brother helps me on the wheelchair and I sit in the courtyard.  I spend the next several hours reading the newspaper and my books, reading and writing. At 5pm, I return to my room, onto my bed.     Image 51. The wall clock above Niaz’s bed (photograph by Niaz)  128 With the aid of his wall-clock, Niaz becomes a bit of a superhero with the power of “shifting time” and creates his own timescape in a life situation where routines are impossible to hold. An attention to time, allows Niaz to prevent the finite limits of his physical world creep into the unorderly, routine defying properties of the stillness of time. The clock, and abiding by it, allow Niaz to impose order and structure on his day, and create temporal rhythms to sustain himself. He muses on how time slows down during difficulty: “After my accident and after the earthquake, time considerably slowed down [it became difficult to pass the day, there was too much time]. Nowadays, the day feels very short but back then, I had too many worries.”  Niaz keeps abreast of global and national affairs by listening to his radio, particularly the USAID funded Voice of America (VOA) radio channel and BBC Urdu.226 The state-run FM radio is a close second favorite. He keeps in touch with his brother who lives in Lahore and his relatives by speaking with them on the telephone, 227 which offers intermitted service throughout the day. 228 Newspapers (whenever he can get his hands on them) and his cassette player also provide additional opportunities to transcend his location and travel elsewhere.   In the evening, propped up with pillows in his charpoi (string bed), he is visited by school children from the village who seek his guidance with their homework. “I love teaching children,” he shares “and I don’t charge them anything, fearing that if I do, they will stop coming.”  Niaz is one of the few people in his village who have completed a BA degree. He has also completed a primary teacher certification (PTC). Both credentials were obtained via                                                226 These are “transnational” radio projects run by the “international community” to provide locally directed “global” news in Urdu. These radio stations are very popular in Pakistan’s rural landscapes.  227 Phone service (wireless and mobile) only became common in Northern Pakistan after the earthquake in 2005. At that time, I was interviewing at a large phone company for an internship. During the interview, the hiring manager repeatedly asked if I can think of a recent event which changed the landscape of the telephone industry. I could not respond. I did not get the job and only later I learned that she was talking about the earthquake; how it opened an entire geographical region to telephone companies. 228 Niaz also makes it a point to phone me every year during the summer months when I am in Pakistan.  129 correspondence/distance education from a local university, several years after his injury. While Niaz is isolated from much of the grittiness of village life by virtue of physical participation, he is able to invite the world into his court yard. In the evening time, after the children leave, men (neighbors, friends, family members) can be seen congregating in his courtyard.  They come to him for his companionship but also to seek advice or for tasks such as writing/reading letters, filling forms, or just reading the newspaper. In exchange, they bring gossip and news. Others visit Niaz for no specific reason at all, but as part of their daily routines and affective investments in Niaz as a friend or family member.  Image 52. This is Niaz’s uncle. Ever since Niaz’s accident, he visits him regularly even during the winter months when mobility is constrained due to heavy rain and snow. Niaz speaks very highly of him (photograph by Niaz’s brother)  130  Image 53. This is Niaz’s cousin. He helped carry Niaz out of his home to the open maize fields during the earthquake (photograph by Niaz’s brother)  Niaz’s invitation of the world into his room and courtyard, offers some opportunity to contribute to his community and overcome the “shame” of not raising a family of his own.229 Niaz re-defines the nature of social expectations placed on him and draws our attention away from his bodily impediments to other features of life. He helps us understand the world as not only a physically situated place. He also fills in an important social gap (that of literacy) in his immediate village. Niaz wants to be known as a “literate” person, as someone elevated by                                                229On several occasions, Niaz expressed feeling shameful at not being able to raise a family of his own, reflecting the many demands placed on the male body. The heteronormative family unit is considered to provide the functional basis of community, a good “Muslim society,” and in turn a prosperous Pakistani nation-state. By not having a family of his own, Niaz feels he is unable to participate in any of these spheres of life.  131 education. He has a huge book selection which he keeps in a clear plastic bags in the store adjacent to his room. He explains: “I am planning on making a bookshelf, so I can neatly arrange them in my room and protect my books.” There are material limits to Niaz’s expectations for life and his isolation is particularly accentuated during the winter months when life freezes, both literally and figuratively.  Niaz explains:   During the winter season, it is so cold in my room, that I stay fixed onto my charpoi. It is even difficult to take my hands out of the blanket to read the Quran. It is almost impossible to do wudu [ablution performed with water before a prayer can be offered], and when I pray by taking my hands out from under the blanket [he prays lying down or sitting up], it takes me another half an hour to get warm again. When it gets really cold, I don’t even have the courage to offer my prayers.  During winter, Niaz essentially becomes a cocoon and finds it extremely difficult to fulfil his spiritual commitments. He explains: “Namaz (prayer) and reading the Quran, they take care of my heart. In the winter, I am unable to devote myself to either.” At another occasion, when asked what he misses the most about life before his injury, he responds: “That I could stand up and offer namaz.” It also becomes difficult for people to visit him in the winter months and he admits “no one can be here with me 24 hours in any case.” Niaz has to work extra hard during this time, to establish temporality, sequence, and variance in the wintery days and transcend collapsed space and time. It is the winter season, where Niaz’s bodily impediments make a strong comeback, and his loneliness and isolation are at their peak.   132  Image 54. The roots of the sumbal plant are valued for their medicinal properties. Its skin is peeled, and the roots are dried before being grinded down to a powder form. Sumbal is known for healing broken bones and bodily pains. After his accident, Niaz’s mother made him regularly eat sumbal for over a year. It is combined with desi ghee (homemade clarified butter) and milk (photograph by the author)  Dysphoric Disablement The source of Niaz’s most disabling and unhinging dysphoria was neither the earthquake (which devastated the entire region and activated millions of dollars of humanitarian aid), or a life-altering injury (which dramatically reduced his bodily abilities), but a seemingly trivial event which occurred within the nondescript folds of an interpersonal relationship. Niaz explains:   Getting injured was a life changing event, but the injury will pass [I will recover]. The earthquake was also very difficult. But there is one person in my life, who has served as the  133 role of villain. I can never forget what he did.  He refers to this person as the “worst man” in his life, the “villain.” Let’s call him Ahmed. Ahmed, currently a school teacher, was a close friend of Niaz: “He was also my student. He would often come to me for help when he was doing his own PTC (primary teacher certification) course, several years before I started my own. I would help him out where I can.” Niaz states that to this day, he cannot forget how Ahmed betrayed him:   During my own PTC course, I had an assignment to submit. Usually, I ask my brother to post my letters but that day it was heavily raining. Ahmed was sitting with me and he offered to post the assignment as he was headed towards the bazaar.  He took my assignment and promised to put it in the mail box in the bazaar. For the next few days, he stopped coming to my house. I sensed that he was avoiding me. Some more time went by, and I hadn’t heard back from the tutor [at the university]. I got worried.  After several tries, my brother succeeded in persuading Ahmed to come see me. I asked him about the letter. He tried to avoid answering the question. Finally, he admitted, that he didn’t post it. As a result, Niaz failed the PTC course. He tried to reason with his university tutors, but they would not grant him an extension. Niaz recalls:   This was the biggest setback in my life. I failed the PTC course. Ahmed purposely hid my assignment, so I wouldn’t  pass the PTC and become a teacher like him.  It took me another two years to recover from this. I finally re-enrolled and passed the course. Ahmed was jealous that I will also get a teacher job like him, or worse replace him, since he is  134 insecure in his abilities.  It took Niaz another two years to gather the financial and affective resources to pull himself together. While much of the course work for the PTC is completed via self-study at home, candidates are required to sit for final exams at the university’s campus in Mansehra (nearest city). Niaz’s trips to Mansehra are somewhat of a public ceremony and the entire village is alerted of his journeys. He relies on several people to make the travel possible, and in this way, the “public” participates in his educational quest and also place their own investments in it, raising the significance of the endeavor (and its outcomes). He explains the process: With the help of neighbors, my brother places me on a charpoi which is then carried down [from his house] on their shoulders to the road below. The slope is steep, and it takes at least 4-5 men as I am a large man.230 From there, they help me onto a jeep [the road accessing Niaz’s village is modest at best and can only be navigated on a 4x4 vehicle]. The jeep then takes us to the bazaar. At the bazaar, my brother helps me onto a wheel chair and wheels me to the bus stand [the road in the main bazaar is relatively better]. At the bus stand, my brother [with other people’s help] seats me on the bus. My wheel chair is folded and placed on the bus roof top. Then the bus transports us to Mansehra. Upon reaching the bus stop in Mansehra, my brother helps me onto the wheelchair again. Then he wheels me to the university. The return journey is the same process. (The entire trip typically takes about 2 days to complete and usually involves an overnight stay in Mansehra. It is equally cumbersome to wheel Niaz into a hotel room as hotel buildings are not usually accessible).                                                230 Niaz’s mother joked: “My son has lately gained weight, he has become fat.”  135                Image 55. The jeep needed to transport Niaz to the bazaar (photographs by Niaz’s brother)                  Image 56. The public bus that takes Niaz to the city (photograph by Niaz’s brother)  136 It is only after this very public, labor intensive, and arduous journey which spans multiple hours and involves multiple bodies, that Niaz is able to reach the university in Mansehra. Niaz explains: “No one cares. I pass through Mansehra and Shinkiari [another city] and people don’t even look at me or move an inch. But they say, ‘get out of my way, what are you even doing here?’”  Niaz shares details of an incident that happened during the examination:  The candidate next to me was cheating, he had some cheat notes hidden in his clothes. So, I thought that is a great idea, I should do the same!  To be honest, I usually don’t cheat. This is mostly because I have far less options for cheating. I don’t have the same level of control over my body as everyone else, and I don’t have a lot of places to hide cheat notes, or the [bodily] ability to peak into a fellow student’s paper. Anyways, I was cheating from my cheat notes, but the exam invigilator caught me and forcefully yanked my notes away from me. He started scolding me: ‘Why didn’t you study for the exam? It isn’t like you have anything else to do. All these other normal people, have a lot to do in their lives [a lot of responsibilities], they don’t have the time to study. If they cheat, it is ok, but what is your excuse?231  It is mandatory to complete the PTC before one can teach at a public school. Being a school teacher is a highly esteemed and sought-after profession in Siran, as it comes with a modest but regular monthly salary, health benefits, and a pension. It is one of the few ways for residents to secure a job while staying close to home instead of having to migrate to urban                                                231 Incidents like these point towards the affective labor also demanded from Niaz to pursue education, in addition to the financial burden.  137 Pakistan for unskilled and precarious work. It is also a viable way for people to contribute locally to their communities, which is particularly important for Niaz. While Niaz has completed the PTC, he has still not applied for jobs. He explains:   I often don’t know of open vacancies till the deadline has passed. These are advertised in the newspaper and I can’t get a newspaper here, it is only when someone is coming from Mansehra, that they bring a newspaper with them. People here don’t share this information with me. They keep it to themselves, worried that if they tell me, I will create even more competition for that one job. The competition is intense and the number of positions every few.   He elaborates:  People pretend to be my friends. They sit in my house, talk with me, but withhold valuable information [of a job vacancy]. They are jealous of me. They believe if the most able bodied of men can’t even get hired, why should I?  Social DNA  "Disaster is like everyday life, but more so." - Rebecca Solnit Niaz has witnessed at least three large natural disasters in his life. In 1992, a flood inundated Northern Pakistan (including Niaz’s village), resulting in widespread destruction and displacement. In 2005, Siran and the surrounding region was devastated by an earthquake and in  138 2010, unprecedented monsoon floods submerged the valley again.232 The latter two disasters which together affected over 25 million people throughout Pakistan and Kashmir, also opened the region to short-lived but intense humanitarian attention. I locate the act of betrayal by his former friend which unhinged Niaz within the wider social milieu in which it was situated. I draw particular attention to the 2005 earthquake and its long-lasting residual effects which possibly set the conditions for failure and compromise in social accountabilities.   Allison shows that the Tohoku earthquake in Japan forced people to reimagine the very meaning of what constitutes a “relationship,” altering how they related to one another.233 Petryna’s work on the Chernobyl disaster, shows how disasters can impact the very DNA of survivors, reconfiguring their biological citizenships.234 I focus on social DNA, how people are put together, and how disasters interfere with various forms of coming and being together.  I start from the very locale of the village, understood as a set of inward and outbound relationships, a multivalent organizational site which negotiates nostalgia, emotion, and pragmatism.235 Several of my research interlocutors viewed their social worlds with skepticism,236 highlighting the fragmentation that seemed to be initiated by the earthquake. Niaz’s mother remarks: “Life was hospitable, people were good. But after the earthquake, people have grown apart, love has decreased.” Niaz adds:                                                 232 Luckily, due to its elevation and considerable distance from water bodies, the 2010 floods did not cause much damage in Niaz’s village. 233 See, Anne Allison, Precarious Japan (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2013). 234 Adriana Petryna, Life Exposed: Biological Citizens after Chernobyl (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2013). 235 Sara B. Shneiderman, “Regionalism, Mobility, and the Village,” Critique of Anthropology 35, no. 3 (2015). 236 Dodd describes skepticism as an “exercise of philosophical imagination that projects from any belief, any articulated position, the possibility, even necessity of reaching for an understanding of its very opposite—and then back again—in order to avoid becoming the dupe of settled and transparent beliefs.”  See, James Dodd, Phenomenological Reflections on Violence (New York and London: Routledge, 2017), vii.  139  People’s willingness to care and feel for one another has also decreased. They no longer care to feel your pain. It is as if people’s insaniyat (humanity) has finished.237 There no longer any unity, people are only concerned about their own well-being.  These narratives highlight that natural disasters possibly place significant pressures on affective resources, which are material for keeping community intact in disaster aftermaths.  These accounts also hint at a particular kind of moral breakdown, a re-orientation of previously held values and rules which governed social accountabilities. Niaz remarks: “Even the younger generations have become ill-mannered and disconnected from our morals and values since the earthquake. Love within families has decreased, even children don’t get along with their parents.” Niaz was unable to explain why the earthquake reconfigured the social architecture of his village. But he (along with other research interlocutors) provide important clues that help us understand these micro-social breakdowns, the un-doneness of life in interstitial spaces, which when combined with a reading of modernity and climate change offer insights on the social breakages catalyzed by disasters. I elaborate this in the following sub-sections.            Affective genres of life  The earthquake created new forms of separation between landscape and people. Spaces and destinations became inaccessible as the landscape shifted and pathways and routes were destroyed. Niaz’s family (like many others) lost almost all of their livestock in the earthquake                                                237 Saika describes insaniyat as “an emotion and an ethics that expresses the interdependent relationship between people.” She writes: “Insaniyat is not a learned ethic nor enforced as a normative principle by an external authority, nor a legal responsibility. Instead it inheres in human encounters.” See, Yasmin Saikia, “Perpetrators' Humanity,” ReOrient: The Journal of Critical Muslim Studies 2, no. 1 (2016), 74.  140 and have not yet replaced them. Since these animals served as critical conduits to the landscape, their absence provides lesser incentives to circulate in landscape. For example, houses with insufficient numbers of livestock no longer find it viable to migrate to the malis,238 further reducing social spaces available exclusively to women.  Loss of livestock, also indicates a reduction in the production of milk and dairy products. Niaz’s mother shares:   Desi ghee [homemade clarified butter] and milk have substantially decreased because we don’t have enough cows anymore. Since we don’t use as much milk and ghee in our foods, the flavor, richness, and aroma of our food has also decreased.  She adds: “Now there is a trend to use dalda [commercially prepared ghee sold in the bazaar].”  Dalda is considered nutritionally inferior to desi ghee, Niaz’s mother explains: “Dalda has taken the breath out of our young people [they tire easily], people don’t have the courage or bodily capacity to work anymore [in the pahars]!” The reduction of livestock also means that residents have less access to manure and must instead purchase commercially prepared fertilizer, whose use was also heavily encouraged by the humanitarians. This has also changed the taste of vegetables and fruits. Niaz explains: “The sweetness of saag [mustard leaves] has decreased [from use of fertilizers].”   These narratives indicate that the earthquake led to a real diminishment in how food and by extension life is enjoyed and how bodies are embedded in landscape. The senses- smells and                                                238 Malis are abundant grazing pastures at high altitudes which are typically accessed only by the caretakers of livestock: women and children.  141 taste of food- shifted, as did bodily aches and pains (with newer routes and routines that opened). The earthquake altered affective genres of life.  For example, the common practice of sharing dairy products (milk, desi ghee, homemade cheese), amongst relatives, neighbors, and friends was interrupted by the earthquake and according to residents has still not been revived to the same level as before. The earthquake also rearticulated ideas of public and private shame. Selling desi ghee or milk was considered a taboo, as these are affective objects, only to be shared out of love and communal reciprocity. However, since the earthquake there has been an increase in the sale of these items as families struggle to get by. This way the earthquake contributed to shifts in understandings of pride, shame, respectability, and led to the commodification of gifts.             Humanitarian vomit Humanitarian aid distributed after the earthquake and floods created intense competition in the region. Niaz explains:   Relief was unevenly distributed, without much consideration of who deserves it, so some of us got more and others got far less, despite being more deserving. We don’t know the basis on which relief was distributed.  This created enmity, distrust, and, hostility amongst people. Those who received less accused those who got more of corruption, deception, and treachery.239  I met a man from an adjacent village who stated with much pride how after the 2010 floods, village elders blocked the entry of humanitarian assistance into his village. This decision                                                239 This is consistent with literature which shows that access to humanitarian assistance has to be actively sought after and managed, creating intense internal competition within communities. See, e.g., Jock Stirrat, “Competitive Humanitarianism,” Anthropology Today 22, no. 5 (2006).  142 was based on the experiences of social discord created by earthquake relief several years prior.  He elaborates:   Let’s say, I am the Nazim [locally elected public official] or the village elder.  Any aid that goes into village will have to pass through me. Social expectations dictate that I must first channel aid to my own family members before channeling it elsewhere, regardless of who deserves it. If I don’t do that, my own blood relatives will hold a grudge against me for the rest of my life and will take every opportunity available to take revenge. Therefore, the village elders decided, that they would rather push through these difficult times then allow relief to destroy our community.  Local residents working with aid organizations, either as volunteers or paid staff, were also not immune to these pressures. Aid organizations relied heavily on local volunteers to facilitate their distributions and were often oblivious of local level politics that determined whom local volunteers directed aid supplies towards despite the presence of “beneficiary lists,” “operational protocols,” and “procedures.” During my research, I sifted through countless claims and accusations of how so and so only funneled relief into their own family. Humanitarian distributions also became sites where old scores were settled by community members (by denying assistance to specific families) or friendships and loyalties were renewed or developed (e.g., by sending the choicest of humanitarian goods to pre-selected households). Niaz shares an example:    143 I was shortlisted to receive a cow from a relief agency. But some jealous neighbors convinced the staff of the organization to cancel my name by saying ‘he is just a young boy, what will he do with a cow?’  The social and political capital gained by locally employed humanitarian staff or volunteers extends well-beyond the duration of their engagement. In fact, many of those who facilitated humanitarian assistance after the earthquake were again approached after the floods to take on similar roles, further bolstering their social positions. During my time in Siran (2014, 2015), I could easily identify such individuals and noted how much social power and capital they commanded, e.g., very impoverished households would periodically send gifts (such as corn from their own limited supplies or the choicest cucumber form their fields) to such individuals, perhaps with the hope that during the next humanitarian incursion, they would be remembered and prioritized for relief. Aid also instituted new power structures, which sprang up to respond to the various demands of the humanitarian apparatus. This includes the “community-based organization” or CBOs, which facilitated aid organizations (much to the chagrin of landlords, elders, and political representatives). However, in parallel, the CBOs also worked to police and regulate aid into their own kinship networks and into specific constellations of locally held power. In attempts to bypass existing corrupt power structures, aid agencies inadvertently created parallel and equally corrupt power structures in the form of the CBOs themselves. The CBOs are true social innovations, run by big men (and sometimes big women) who have fully adopted the language of international development such as that of participation and gender equality. But CBOs are also  144 unique conduits of power, subjectivity, and politics which circumvent the humanitarian and development agenda by seeking local gains that are not always democratically shared. 240 It is not uncommon today for every village to have multiple CBOs created along lines of caste, political affiliation, or any other difference.  Competition for resources within CBOs and their constituencies is severe and has led to further fragmentation of communities. My research interlocutors expressed deep suspicion towards CBOs. Niaz remarks: “They are all thieves.” At later stages of the humanitarian operation, some aid organizations frustrated by CBO politics chose to bypass them, opting to attempt their own mobilization, creating even more organizational structures such as village councils and local committees. This led to even further fragmentation.              Home as a site of social disarticulation                                                                          The earthquake destroyed a large percentage of homes (along with other infrastructure) in the region. To facilitate their reconstruction, the humanitarian community channeled conditional cash payments to households only to be used to reconstruct houses based on pre-approved earthquake resilient designs. The new approved designs dismantled the joint family structure and proposed houses as single-family units, separating parents and siblings. The new designs were significantly different from previous forms of housing, which comprised of a shared complex (inhabited by the extended family), organized around a common kitchen. The new designs led to the fragmentation of the household and challenged sacred expectations and accountabilities of being and belonging to a family. Niaz remarks:                                                 240 As word of my research slowly spread, one night a bunch of angry men showed up at my guesthouse. They had notebooks and accused me of bypassing them for relief distribution. We spent several hours discussing that I am not an aid worker but a researcher. The conversation then shifted to why I did not approach them for my research. They threatened to black list me from the valley and print false accusations in local newspapers so that no one will cooperate with me in the future. They were the “big men” (executive team) of a local CBO.  145  Since members of the family no longer live together, their demeanor towards one other has significantly changed. Previously, I would see my parents, siblings, and their families daily. Now we are separated and sometimes I don’t see them for several days.   An emphasis on the separation of the kitchen also created novel distinctions between public and private spheres of domestic life, offering far less opportunities for mutual help and sharing. Niaz explains: “Previously it was easier to get by. We would sit together and eat. If someone lacked something, we could easily share, taking and giving was easier and acceptable. Now it is not possible the same way.”  At another occasion, Niaz adds: “Previously when I was living with my parents and brother, I would always know what everyone was cooking and could ask for my favorite dishes. Now I can’t do this anymore.” The distribution of housing payments within families also led to much dispute and discord as there was no clarity on how the money should be distributed or operationalized in the context of a joint family.241 Infrastructure collapse was the leading cause of death in the earthquake. However, the older homes provided certain social contributions which were embedded in their very design. For example, their flat mud roofs (to be replaced by sturdy, sloped iron sheets after the earthquake) provided some relief to the steepness of the region and offered a semblance of flatness. The roofs served as social sites for people to come together (including women), to sit, have tea, exchange news and gossip without interfering with the privacy of the home and the gender segregation it demands. Men and boys would sometimes play kabaddi (a form of wrestling) on these flat(ish)                                                241 The new housing designs actually worked in Niaz’s favor as his separate/detached room allows him to host people which would not have been possible if he was still living with his parents, as per strict expectations of gender segregation.   146 roofs and people could gather for various events such as to offer funeral prayers. The mud houses (pre-earthquake) also allowed residents to collect honey. Residents maintained special cavities in their mud walls for honeybees. The bees stopped coming once the materials changed to cement. Several residents expressed nostalgia at the lack of honey which was shared amongst family and friends. The new housing design interrupted sociality and took away the few social sites available in the pahars and contributed to their shrinking as opposed to their expansion.242                                                           242Unfortunately, sites like play grounds were also not a reconstruction priority. Young people reported a loss of cricket grounds after the earthquake and lamented the days when the entire valley would compete in a region wide cricket competition bringing villagers together in a festive mood.   147  Image 57. Men congregating on the flat roof of an older style house to offer funeral prayers. Newer constructions with sloping tin roofs can be seen in the background (photograph by Saeed Khan) 148             Commodification of mutual assistance  Humanitarian projects focused on the rebuilding of micro-public infrastructure through community participation. Hundreds of able bodied men were drafted into cash for work schemes which paid them to rebuild small scale community infrastructure such as water channels, roads, and sanitation lines.  This led to the monetization of bodily labor outside of the regimes of formal work reducing the social incentives for people to help one another (and themselves).  For example, before the earthquake residents would pool their labor to work on common projects or assist one another in a ritual process of coming together known as haashar. These were large gathering of men (young and old), who would willingly donate their bodily labor for tasks such as rebuilding a damaged road, or helping a neighbor repair his home, or tend to his fields. Food and tea was offered in exchange of people’s kindness, but no money changed hands. My research interlocutors reported a reduction in the size and frequency of haashars. One person remarked: “It isn’t the same as before, people don’t help one another without money.” Niaz adds: “People now only run after NGOs and beg for their help. If you tell someone that NGO personnel are in the village, they will leave everything and rush to them, even if they were praying in the masjid (mosque).”  The Betraying Body  According to Niaz, his body changed further after the earthquake: “Previously, I could prop myself up and even stand with someone’s support. But since the earthquake it seems as if my body has lost all its muscle, I can’t even sit up on my own anymore.”243  In the panic, chaos                                                243 Several other research interlocutors reported how their bodies changed after the earthquake. Chandni bibi, for example, insists she lost her eyesight as a result of the earthquake. See, scene six.  149 and dislocation that followed the earthquake, there was no opportunity for Niaz to focus on his bodily repair. He explains:   After my accident, the doctors had recommended exercises which they said I should regularly do. My brother [who lives in Lahore] helped build an exercise frame for me. It was a very basic foundational structure. It provided support for me to stand up and remain standing up for a short while. This structure was destroyed in the earthquake. In the 7-8 months after the earthquake, I didn’t do any of the exercises, nor was there any time/opportunity to repair the exercise frame. I was stuck/fixed to the bed and eventually the wheelchair. Till today, I am unable to stand up, my body isn’t the same as before.  Niaz continues:  There has been no opportunity to repair the exercise instruments. After the earthquake, we lived for two years in tents pitched on our land. After that, I moved to small tin shelter given to us during the relief for housing our livestock in the winter season. It was a tiny shelter (hardly 8 feet x feet), one could barely stand in it. I was there for 7 years before my room (in which I am currently in) was completed. (When I first met him in 2014, he had just moved into his new room)  The earthquake interfered with Niaz’s rehabilitation. His body as a site of repair was no longer a priority. Niaz did not once blame his family for this shift in priority, perhaps to protect them from my analytical intrusions. Instead, he identified his own body as letting him down: “I  150 also gained a lot of weight in that time period because of which I can no longer stand up.” Niaz’s body can also be understood as an important site of betrayal (and potentially repair) on account of its very refusal to maintain itself, taking attention away from family members who may have compromised his care.  What to Revive/ What Not to Why have Niaz’s exercise instruments not been revived till today, despite being crucial for his rehabilitation? What makes it through a disaster, what does not? And why?      Image 58. Remains of Niaz’s exercise instruments (photograph by Niaz)  151 The tandoor (homemade underground oven) provides an interesting counterpoint to Niaz’s exercise instruments, of something that did make it through the earthquake. The tandoor is a rather technical and historical instrument in its own right. Its construction and use are managed solely by women, knowledge of which is passed down inter-generationally.  Niaz’s mother remarks: “I learned to make the tandoor from my mother, who learned to make it from hers.” The tandoor can be understood as a locally constructed, inter-generationally protected instrument which points towards a moral and ethical community and demonstrates an attachment to place in Siran’s “desolate” pahars. The tandoor points at cultural continuity, a historicity of sorts. It is also a pragmatic tool, a production belt which reduces the labor of cooking by allowing 7-8 rotis [bread] to be cooked at the same time. It even comes with its own set of rituals. Niaz’s mother explains: “After it is built, we add sugar to the flour to make sweet roti [to inaugurate the tandoor].” Its construction is rather technical, and a variety of grasses, soils, and rocks are used, each providing different features to the tandoor such as reducing the amount of smoke, regulating heat, providing insulation, and providing the correct texture for dough to stick to. Niaz’s mother explains: “Everywhere we go [referring to the various transitory houses/places of rest in the pahars on the way to the malis], we make a tandoor.”   152  Image 59. Cookies being baked in a tandoor (photograph by Ambreen Nawaz Khan)  Gordon argues the past (haunting social forces) control contemporary life in far more complex ways than presumed by social analysis.244 Zinn states that strategies to deal with uncertainty do not follow standards of instrumental rationality nor they are irrational but follow their own logic which works well under particular circumstances. 245 Not every object-practice merits revival and not every revival reflects importance. Some object-practices are impossible to revive e.g., certain pahari pathways can never be made viable again post-earthquake. Other object-practices were intentionally revived (such as the tandoor) and while some others were not                                                244 Avery F. Gordon, Ghostly Matters (Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2008). 245 Jens O. Zinn, “In-Between and Other Reasonable Ways,” Health, Risk & Society 18, no. 7–8 (2016).  153 (such as households who now only have a small number of animals no longer go to the malis). These choices do not merely reflect the importance of the object-practice of revival, but an assessment that despite their importance, they may no longer have a social place. Perhaps, they reflect a bygone era, a past life whose social value cannot be calibrated any longer, at least not in the same way. The earthquake catalyzed the emergence of a new life-space, where food tasted and smelled different, and the body’s investments in the landscape changed, as did people’s disposition towards one another. Not all object-practices require revival in this new life-space. The decisions of what not to revive are also possible ways of grieving and commemoration, to render the experiences of the earthquake immortal and atemporal, as not just events of the past, but also of the present and the future.  Instead of presenting a definitive answer to why Niaz’s exercise instruments are yet to be revived, I attempt to draw out the analytical space this opens for us. I develop this further in the next section.  Muslim Futurities  Niaz’s father passed away in 2014. His death revealed weaknesses in the continuity of his own care (after all it is the elders who reinforce social accountabilities), raising anxieties about the future. Niaz is worried who will take care of him, after his mother also dies.  But the future is a touchy subject. Once I got scolded by a villager for asking how he is planning for his future, to which he curtly responded: “The future isn’t something that can be planned for, it can take so many different routes. All you can do is ask Allah for the strength needed to face whatever may come your way. Don’t ask us about the future.” As a next life project, Niaz wants to complete his MA. He believes this will make  154 him more competitive for a teaching job. The open-air village school (whose building was destroyed in the earthquake and never revived) is just a few feet away from Niaz’s home, yet outside of his reach. Another irony of the situation is, that there is a current shortage of local qualified teachers and the school board recently started to hire candidates from other parts of Pakistan, bringing people to Siran who are not equipped to navigate its pahars.246    Niaz is partly bewitched by the futurity offered by education, that of employment, stability, and enlightenment. Niaz believes that the obstacles for a teaching job are not his current bodily impediments (which he believes are temporary), or unfair hiring practices, but his lack of qualifications. He shares: “There is a special quota for people with disabilities in government jobs.” This also demonstrates a confidence in the state’s capacity to enforce rules and keep its promises. While Niaz is hopeful to secure a teaching job, he admits:   There is no guarantee, I will even get a job. It is a matter of fate. But I am also studying to learn about the world, to expose myself to newer ways of thinking and knowing. Education and knowledge provide exposure, experience, and wisdom.247  Niaz believes, that the purpose of life “is to be useful to others.” And an education helps one move towards this goal.  Niaz explains: “Whoever has understood the human [the qualities                                                246 One teacher joked: “Many of us start the day with a prayer, we look up the pahar from the road and ask ourselves; ‘do we really want to make this hike today?’” Another teacher remarked: “I am from the other side of the country. One night I was sleeping in the village here, in the quarter they have given me, and I heard loud drumming noises. I went out to see, it turned out the villagers were playing their drums to scare away monkeys from their fields. Life is here indeed strange and different.” 247 Oppenheim and Stambach’s work shows that the mantra of education is being uncritically adopted by parents in parts of Northern Pakistan who feel compelled to send their children to school without really understanding why. However, in the case of Niaz, he is certain about the offerings of education. See, Willy Oppenheim and Amy Stambach, “Global Norm Making,” Comparative Education Review 58, no. 3 (2014).  155 that make us human], has understood everything in the world [that is the knowledge needed to unlock all other forms of knowing].”  He wants to do a MA in Islamic Studies, International Relations, and Pakistan Studies. He believes, mastery in these subject matters will equip him to be a better Muslim and Pakistani citizen.   Why does Niaz insist devotion to a collectivity that does not adequately accommodate him, but rather carelessly expels him? Some ways the state “expels” him includes the lack of social and physical infrastructure needed for his “unwieldy” body, therefore in many ways excluding him economically, socially, and politically. 248   Yet, Niaz reflects the official narrative of the Pakistani state, where the Muslim subject is in congruence with the national (Pakistani) citizen and possible separations between the two are purposefully minimized.249  The labels of Pakistani, Muslim, and disability facilitate his conscription into the state as opposed to highlighting the experimentation and hybridity that better articulate his life. The social forces of education, Islam, state-making, further raise anxiety within Niaz. They constitute a multi-valent form of sabotage- a cruel optimism of sorts250 -a dissonant collision between the safety and stability they offer and the raw deals of life, which being a good Muslim, a good son, a good community member, or a good Pakistani citizen cannot ameliorate. Niaz is captivated by the goodness of education and high morality and purposefulness of Islam, which instead of safety                                                248 However, in liberal political imagination, the potential for coercion, cruelty, outrage, disorder, and brokenness are abiding aspects of social life. See, Candace A. Vogler and Patchen Markell, “Violence, Redemption, and the Liberal Imagination,” Public Culture 15, no. 1 (2003), 2-3. 249 With reference to the India-Pakistan Partition, Das asks: “Are there different ways of relating to territory than those that are catalogued in modernist discourses of nationhood that might have been brought into play in considering what it is to cultivate oneself as a moral person in this “new” land?” See, Veena Das, “Moral and Spiritual Striving,” in Ethical Life in South Asia, eds.  Anand Pandian and Daud Ali (Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2010), 232. 250 Lauren Berlant theorizes cruel optimism as a way of understanding the injurious attachments we have formed to fantasies of the good life that are no longer sustainable in the present. See, Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2011).  156 produce further anxiety. The future is a contradictory destination for Niaz, which demands good citizenship, but does not provide adequate recourse when desirable genres of life are interrupted (such as by bodily injury). 251 Conversely, Islam as Niaz embodies it, also offers the spiritual and affective resources- an ontological framework- useful for overcoming disenchantment with life and its failed plans. Niaz is convinced that his injuries are temporary, and he will regain full control of his body despite the doctors stating that he will never walk again: “This impairment is only temporary, a difficult phase of my life, it too shall pass.”  Niaz elaborates:   Allah has given me the determination to persevere and see this difficulty through [referring to his injuries]. Some people say to me that I am foolish to hold onto the hope that one day I will walk again. But I don’t let their words sadden my heart. In any case, it is Allah who will decide, not them.   Niaz possess hope in his bodily abilities, that is exceeding and seemingly irrational. He does not understand his current disability as a detriment to his future since it will dissipate. Niaz’s hope is radical in its own way; it is relentless, incessant, seemingly illogical, un-learnable, exceeds the limitations of the world (the limitations of medical knowledge, the nation-state), yet enabling.252 Niaz states: “I never give up. I never think that since my spinal cord is broken, I am                                                251 By future, I am referring to a liberal futurity promised by modernity (by virtue of both the technologies it validates such as education, but also rejects such as religion and spirituality). 252 Freire understands hope is an ontological need. He writes: “I don’t understand human existence, and the struggle needed to improve it, apart from hope and dream.” He further elaborates: “Dreaming isn’t only a necessary political act, it is an integral part of the historico-social manner of being a person. It is part of human nature, which within history, is a permanent process of becoming.” See, Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Hope (London: Continuum, 1994), 2 and 77. On hope (and hopelessness) and climate change, see, Michael Safi, “Suicides of 60,000 Indian Farmers,” The Guardian, July 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/31/suicides-of-nearly-60000-indian- 157 useless.” On another occasion, he adds: “I can withstand Allah’s work [can hold steadfast through whatever Allah decides for me].” At the same time, Niaz’s hopefulness is based within reality, lodged in his body, a product of suffering, survival, and genius, an ability to live with each other despite inhospitable conditions.253 His hopefulness is the very “temporal structure and orientation of living sanely and ethically acting in the social world.”254  It seems as if Islam as it is variously embodied by Niaz, provides him with the “capacity to aspire”255 and to anticipate his bodily revival. Hage calls this work of anticipation as waiting which indicates that we are engaged in and have expectations from life.256 Berlant captures this work as the “impasse,” which are “exemplary cases of adjustment to the loss of this fantasy [of the good life].”257 Povinelli understands this as forms of suffering that do not rise to the level of an event.258  And Wool uses the term endurance, as not the work of overcoming adversity, but “the practices of making do in a protracted moment of dire and even life-threatening uncertainty”259  which emphasize  “affective modes of sheltering in place while waiting for a new genre of social life to emerge.”260                                                farmers-linked-to-climate-change-study-claims and the themed issue of Tikkun on hope and climate disaster, Tikkun 30, no. 2 (2015). I also find Tsing’s question compelling: “What manages to live [in the ruins we have made?]”  See, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Mushroom at the End of the World (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2015), viii. 253 These characteristics of hope are taken from Junot Diaz’s interview with Krista Tippett. See, Krista Tippett, “Radical Hope,” On Being, September 2017, https://onbeing.org/programs/junot-diaz-radical-hope-is-our-best-weapon-sep2017/. 254 Jarrett Zigon, “Hope Dies Last,” Anthropological Theory 9, no. 3 (2009), 268. 255 Appadurai conceives aspirational capacity as a navigational map to find resources to contest and alter the concrete conditions of oppression. He locates aspirations within “wider, ethical and metaphysical ideas which derive from larger cultural norms,” situated in the thick of social life. See, Arjun Appadurai, “The Capacity to Aspire,” in Culture and Public Action, ed. Vijayendra Rao and Michael Walton (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2004), 67-69. 256 Ghassan Hage, “Introduction,” in Waiting, ed. Ghassan Hage (Melbourne: Melbourne University Publishing, 2009). 257 Berlant, Cruel Optimism, 11. 258 Elizabeth Povinelli, Economies of Abandonment (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2011). 259 Wool, “In-Durable Sociality,” 80.   260 Ibid.    158 Niaz’s work towards his future demands its own analytical space, a Muslim futurity which forms a robust point of departure from the unachievable safety and predictability offered by modernity. 261 Modernity constrains choices and responses (including to natural disasters) fixing the subject within unitary ways of being.  By allowing the circulation of Niaz’s desires -the life he invokes- inspires some analytical courage, even if it does not provide answers to outstanding questions such as why his exercise instruments are yet to be revived. Does the rationality of bodily repair unhinge the temporal pathways to Niaz’s desired future(s) in ways we cannot understand through our analytical intrusions?262 Is the choice of not reviving his exercise instruments, a reflection of the risky genres of life, necessary to express devotion to place; a process of experimentation, striving for an ideal never to be attained? 263  Betrayal(s) A betrayal is a breach of trust. “Its threat lies precisely in its rupturing the invisible cohesion of community,” contesting how people are put together socially, morally, and ethically.264 Betrayal dismantles the promises of modernity, reveals gaps, inconsistencies, and incoherence in its conceptual framework, unhinging the assumptions that allow for it very circulation.265                                                261 For the “malaise” and “exhaustion” of modernity, see, Charles Taylor, The Malaise of Modernity (Toronto, Ontario: House of Anansi Press, 1991) and Roland Reichenbach, “On Irritation and Transformation,” Journal of Philosophy of Education 36, no. 3 (2002). 262 Moynagh problematizes modernity’s “particular time consciousness” which Osborne describes as a scheme instituted through the “temporalization of the founding geopolitical difference of colonialism” to “subordinate the differential between itself and other ‘times’ to differences within a single temporal scheme of ‘progress,’ ‘modernization,’ and ‘development.’” See, Maureen Moynagh, “The War Machine as Chronotope,” Comparative Literature 69, no. 3 (2017), 316 and Peter Osborne, The Politics of Time (London: Verso, 1995), 21. 263 Naveeda Khan, Muslim Becoming (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2012). 264 Leslie Bow, Betrayal and Other Acts of Subversion (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2011), 3. 265 See, Aziz Ali Dad, “Self, Society, Suicide,” The News, October 2014, https://www.thenews.com.pk/archive/print/533977-self-society-and-suicide-in-gilgit.  159 Natural disasters catalyze betrayals in interpersonal relationships and interrupt the social glue that keeps people together (or apart) as families, neighbors, friends, community members, and citizens. This is to say, disasters are atemporal, non-linear, and their consequences far exceed the parameters within which we tend to localize them. Loureiro’s work on post-earthquake Kashmir insists that many of the social changes that survivors ascribe to the disaster (particularly changed housing structures and social breakages) cannot be empirically attributed to the disaster.266 He argues that these changes were  already taking place due to Pakistan’s changing national character and modernization.267 He believes, these narratives instead point towards the creation of a shared public myth, needed for people to move on and make sense of the past, present, and future. Niaz is a queer body: he invokes anxiety in those around him and discombobulates along multiple scales and temporalities.268 His unwieldy and hyper-educated self, challenges and frustrates his peers. His pursuit of education is at once performative and public, the community “participates” in it. They rely on Niaz’s literacies and their futures (their children) also depend on him. In certain ways, they are invested both in his protection and sabotage, offering prayers for his safety and prayers for his demise (e.g., their jealousy and fear of the possibility that he may get a paid teaching job. Also, recall Niaz’s earlier complaint about how people around him do not share job vacancies with him).                                                266 Miguel Loureiro, “Of the Earthquake and Other Stories” (PhD diss., University of Sussex, 2012) and Miguel Loureiro, “Migrant’s Love (s),” Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 19, no. 2 (2013). 267 Ibid. 268 Niaz is also an unmarried male of age. In this social landscape, unmarried men and women of age have a threatening presence though his current bodily impediments considerably reduce this “threat.”  160 Niaz points towards the plurality and multiplicity of experiences of natural disasters which cannot be conveniently distilled into the “social” and the “physical.”269 Niaz also teaches us something about marginality. While Niaz is excluded from his sociality by virtue of physical access, he has co-created an alter-sociality, that in his courtyard and room.  While I have focused on the unpredictability and dissatisfaction of relationships, it goes without saying that many forms of relationships withstand  breakages. The earthquake produced several (sometimes divergent and contradictory) genres of life. Niaz operates with a hope, that is incessant, almost illogical, but radical in its enabling properties. He works towards a futurity which requires its own vocabulary and grammar. Niaz invites us to be courageous and develop a new language and gain the muscle to use it with confidence. He demands satisfaction with a lack of resolution and prompts us to appreciate contradiction as valid and purposeful. Niaz stated a number of times that he is unable to enroll in the MA, his next life project, because of a lack of funds. He was given a generous stipend for his involvement with this research. In 2014, when I was leaving Siran, I suggested to Niaz that perhaps he should use the money to finally enroll in the MA.  Next year when I was back in Siran, I asked Niaz whether he had enrolled, and he responded with a negative.  Instead, he used the money to insulate his room by repairing the various holes and gaps in the roofing and walls. In 2015, Niaz was remunerated in a similar way and I again gently suggested that perhaps the money can be used for his MA this                                                269 Anthony Oliver-Smith, “Theorizing Disasters- Nature, Power, and Culture,” in Catastrophe & Culture eds. Anthony Oliver-Smith and Susanna M. Hoffman (Santa Fe, New Mexico: School of American Research Press, 2002) and Anthony Oliver-Smith, “Communities after Catastrophe,” in Community Building, ed. Stanley E. Hyland (Santa Fe, New Mexico: School of American Research Press, 2005).  161 time around.  In 2016, when I was in Islamabad, Niaz phoned me on Eid to wish me Eid Mubarak. I learned that he had still not started the MA. Why did Niaz not use the money to pursue his MA, a life project he was yearning for?  Remember, Niaz told us that the winter season compounds his sense of loneliness? In fact, it becomes so cold in his room that at times he cannot even take out his hands from under the blanket to offer his prayers or recite the Quran. For Niaz, these are extremely important for nurturing his heart and are made more possible in a warmer room. Increasing the insulation of his room also means that his guests can stay longer with him and have more incentive to see him during the isolating winter season. Niaz also had an influx of visitors in the winter following his father’s death who came to offer their prayers and condolences. The act of insulating his room is a significant strategy of repair; one meant to protect and nurture his heart (by allowing him to engage in his spiritual endeavors) and enabling his alter-sociality to flourish in the winter months. It also meant more people can visit him and pray for his father, and in this way, he contributes to the safety and well-being of his departed father. This is a rare opportunity for Niaz to prove himself as a good son and responsible family member. Some of the money also went to his father’s funeral rites and burial ceremony. Niaz is now the head of his household, which means his future(s) cannot be disentangled from of those around him.  I am invested in understanding social repair as a heuristic device, a theoretical terrain to capture those life genres- mundane yet of important existential value- which are crucial for attaining livable presents and viable futures. Social repair captures how those immersed in ongoing structures of violence seek to carve out a hospitable life for themselves, despite constraint. In this way social repair stands distinct from “repairing the social,” the reconciliatory act of drawing relationships closer. Rather, it encompasses coming to terms with the fragility of  162 the normal270 and dismantling the “feelings of skepticism” embedded within a “frayed everyday life.”271 It is a modest process of advancing one’s claims and responding to those that are placed upon you-a negotiation, a vigorous shuffling of feet, a dance- a graceful way of inhabiting the world.                                                                   270 Deepak Mehta and Roma Chatterji, “Boundaries, Names, Alterities,” in Remaking a World, eds. Veena Das, Arthur Kleinman, Margaret Locke, Mamphela Ramphele, and Pamela Reynolds (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2001), 202. 271 Das, Life and Words, 9.  163 (interlude)      My mother gestures with her heart, I let her guide the way.  The city has shrunken, I turn her away.  The city is a stranger,          I miss her guiding heart.                164 scene three  POLITICAL LIFE                           ۲   Is social repair the affordance of the political?  I examine the biography of Amal: mother, midwife, and resident of Neelum valley, Pakistan administered Kashmir. Amal successfully raised a family with her husband during the height of the Kashmiri liberation movement until his untimely death in 2014. Amal leaves for work every morning, hoping that the spiritual rewards of her medical services will bless her deceased husband. In a volunteer capacity, Amal also advises pregnant women in their communities against a backdrop of lacking health services, difficult topography, and other gendered features of life in the disputed region. By examining Amal’s life as a series of heterogeneous empirical truths, I offer reparative readings of social repair and political life. Social repair can be understood as the smallest of gestures that convey regard for one another, delicate acts that not only unfold in the adjustment and crafting of moral spaces within existing socialities, but also in the creation of new socialities altogether, which may even transcend the limits of this world.  These shifting relations are also sites of making assertions and advancing political claims instrumental for improving one’s conditions of life or further anchoring one’s positions in an otherwise inconsistent, contradictory, fraught, and fragile sociality. Amal is a Kashmiri, Muslim woman who demands her own vocabulary and grammar. She helps us consider that the political is not amenable to tautological or teleological thinking nor does it have a singular texture or erotics or timescape.     165  “I can’t help but dream about a kind of criticism that would try not to judge but to bring…an idea to life; it would light fires, watch the grass grow, listen to the wind, and catch the sea foam in the breeze and scatter it. It would multiply not judgments but signs of existence; it would summon them, drag them from their sleep. Perhaps it would invent them sometimes- all the better. All the better.”                             - Michel Foucault272  Walby asks: What can we know of violence and how?273 Violence is multiply located and cannot be reduced to a single medium of interpretation.274 Perhaps it is a pre-condition of engaging with the world.  It is slippery, tenuous, and can slide between the particularities of pain and the generalities of an intellectual category.275 It is at once “material and symbolic; structural and aberrant; collective and individual; visible and invisible; legal, extralegal and illegal; brutal and subtle; sporadic and everyday; and spectacular and banal.”276 It can be simultaneously destructive, reproductive, and productive.277 Violence can end life or diminish, unhinge, and constrain those living in its midst. It can catalyze a breakdown of meaning, but can also be “ennobling, redeeming, and necessary to the continuance of life itself.”278 In fact, violence can                                                272 Paul Rabinow, ed. Ethics, Subjectivity and Truth (New York: The New Press, 1997), 323. 273 Sylvia Walby, “Violence and Society,” Current Sociology 61, no. 2 (2013). 274 Nathan Eckstrand and Christopher Yates, eds. Philosophy and the Return of Violence (London: Continuum, 2011). 275 Faisal Devji, “Communities of Violence,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 45, no. 4 (2013). Also see, Veena Das, “Violence, Crisis, and the Everyday,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 45, no. 4 (2013). 276 Jane Kilby, “Introduction to Special Issue,” European Journal of Social Theory 16, no. 3 (2013), 263. 277 Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Philippe Bourgois, “Making Sense of Violence,” in Violence in War and Peace, eds. Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Philippe Bourgois (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004). 278 Neil L. Whitehead, “Violence and the Cultural Order,” Daedalus 136, no. 1 (2007), 40.  166 become a life form mediated by its own actors, cultural codes, and legitimacies, producing genres of life that are not outside of violence but exist despite of it.279 Feminist and other allied writings have sought to reveal how violence is actualized via gendered processes and discourses,280 that violence not only impacts gendered bodies differently,281 but it explicitly seeks and targets them.282 Some writings focus specifically on the negotiations of gendered bodies  with violence, and seek to provide language that recognizes their agency in settings of constraint.283 Others have argued that gendered bodies are not necessarily only targets of violence but can also partake in its infliction.284 Perhaps the most ground-breaking contribution has been the insight that violence manifests itself prominently at the intersections of race, class, ability, ethnicity, age, sexuality, and gender.285 While we have sharpened our abilities to grapple with the multiplicity of social identities in relation to violence, how injury can be situated at their intersections, what about the multiplicity of violence itself? I write about Amal who lives in Neelum, Pakistan administered Kashmir. Amal works as a midwife in her community but is also a mother, a wife, and a Kashmiri, Muslim woman. As                                                279 Veena Das, “The Boundaries of the We,” Critical Horizons 17, no. 2 (2016). 280 Sikata Banerjee, Muscular Nationalism (New York: New York University Press, 2012) and Spyros A. Sofos, “Inter-Ethnic Violence,” Social Identities 2, no. 1 (1996). 281 Begoña Aretxaga, Shattering Silence (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1997) and Eric Neumayer and Thomas Plümper, “Gendered Nature of Disasters,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 97, no. 3 (2007). 282 Melissa W. Wright, “Necropolitics, Narcopolitics, and Femicide,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 36, no. 3 (2011); Geraldine Pratt, “Abandoned Women,” Antipode 37, no. 5 (2005) and Amanda Lock Swarr, “Paradoxes of Butchness,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 37, no. 4 (2012). 283 Marion Oke, “Remaking Self,” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy 29, no. 3 (2008); Rebecca A. Adelman and Wendy Kozol, “Ornamenting the Unthinkable,” WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 44, no. 1/2 (2016); Elien Arckens, “Told-Backward Biography,” WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 44, no. 1/2 (2016) and Amy L. Brandzel, “The Subjects of Survival,” WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 44, no. 1/2 (2016). 284 Myriam Denov and Christine Gervais, “Negotiating (In)Security,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 32, no. 4 (2007) and Carrie Hamilton, “Political Violence,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 32, no. 4 (2007). 285 Patricia Hill Collins, “Intersectionality’s Definitional Dilemmas,” Annual Review of Sociology 41 (2015) and Jennifer C. Nash, “Re-Thinking Intersectionality,” Feminist Review 89, no. 1 (2008).    167 described in the opening scene, due to its proximity to the Line of Control (LOC, the arbitrary border that divides Kashmir into Pakistan and India), Neelum was at the forefront of the Kashmir liberation movement of the 1990s. During this time period, Neelum was at the center of some 14 years of unpredictable cross border firing between Pakistan and Indian armies stationed across the LoC. A shaky ceasefire was eventually reached in 2003.  In 2005, the region was hit by a large earthquake and in 2010 by severe monsoon floods. Together, the two disasters disrupted the lives of some 25 million people throughout Pakistan.  Despite this, Amal successfully raised a family with her husband until his untimely death a few years ago. For Amal, there is no before, during or after violence, it is omnipresent, always life-shaping, chipping away constantly, inescapable.  Every morning, as Amal leaves for the health center where she works, she hopes that the spiritual rewards of her medical services will bless her deceased husband. In a volunteer capacity, Amal also visits pregnant women in their homes and advises them against a backdrop of lacking health services, isolation, difficult topography, and other gendered features of life in the disputed region.286 Amal demonstrates that social repair or the creation, maintenance, and extension of ethical life amidst and despite violence, not only unfolds in the crafting of moral spaces within existing socialities, but also in the creation of new socialities altogether, which may even exceed this world. These adjustments not only sustain Amal but also strengthen her embeddedness within Neelum’s pahars. Neelum with its irregular topographical and spatial (dis)orderliness is an extension of Kashmir and its disputes. Life in Neelum demonstrates that we cannot disentangle an understanding of social repair and political life from landscape, which acts both as a container and stage for all social relations.                                                 286 Atia Anwer Zoon, “Voices Unheard,” Kashmir Institute of International Relations (2017).  168 In this chapter, I offer reparative readings of social repair and political life. I draw attention to chronicity and the inadequacies of categorical thinking for examining spaces of diminishment or responses to it. I explore what bearing this may have on how we understand social repair and political life as mutually constitutive. The chapter focusses on how people acknowledge one another with acts of kindness via an “ordinary ethics” which holds in highest esteem the “delicacies of maintaining regard for others through the minutest of gestures.”287 An attention to how people lead ethical lives offers important entry points into understanding the injuries of violence and responses to it. This then also becomes an investigation into epistemic harms: Which dimensions of violence are revealed and which responses to it are legitimized? Why? What is left unsaid and at whose expense? Or put more succinctly: What is at stake at acknowledging or denying one form of pain over another?288 Mani suggests an analytical sophistication beyond the “dialectic of subjugation and resistance.”289 She writes: “There is more, much more to be said; and prior to that, even more to be noticed and restored to the center of our consciousness.”290  Kashmiri as Political Subjectivity Why is it important to recognize the political in conjunction with social repair? This question is important in the context of Kashmir, where the maintenance and extension of daily life and relationships cannot be disentangled from the fragmentation and dispersion brought on                                                287 Veena Das, “Ordinary Ethics,” in A Companion to Moral Anthropology, ed. Didier Fassin (Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell-Wiley, 2012), 135. 288 Roma Chatterji, “Conversations, Generations, Genres,” in Wording the World, ed. Roma Chatterji (New York: Fordham University Press, 2015), 14. 289 Lata Mani, “Writing the Present,” Economic & Political Weekly 1, no. 49 (2015), 24. 290 Ibid.  169 by occupation. Visweswaran asserts that while the central goal of occupation is control of land or territory, occupation also seeks to “violently remake the culture of subjugated people by changing its internal fabric of patterning.”291 Residents of Neelum, as in much of Pakistan administered Kashmir, identify as Kashmiri (not Pakistani), which calibrates the body in particular ways. This claim is supported by formal tools of governance, such as the internal borders separating Pakistan from Kashmir, which have the semblance of an international border. Similarly, Kashmiris carry differently marked national identity cards reflecting their unique status within Pakistan. Visitors from Pakistan are only tolerated as tourists and ancient customary laws prevent non-Kashmiris from purchasing land anywhere within the territory. Kashmiri is at once a distinct cultural, ethnic, and place-based identity but also a political subjectivity tied to the “reclamation” of Kashmir. There is no real consensus on what this reclamation may or should look like, reflective of the inherent contradictions in attempting to “define” political life. An important avenue for exercising Kashmiri political subjectivity has been recruitment into the mujahideen forces (locally known as freedom fighters, but internationally as cross-border militants and terrorists), an armed, non-state transnational group, fighting for the liberation of Indian administered Kashmir, secretly and opportunistically supported by the Pakistani state. Neelum due to its close proximity to the LoC and dense forestscapes served as a strategic site for the accumulation of mujahideen soldiers. This resulted in some 14 years of cross-border conflict in the region until a shaky ceasefire was eventually reached. The ceasefire is not a permanent resolution to Kashmir, and the region remains animated by anxiety. While the ceasefire inspired                                                291 Kamala Visweswaran, “Geographies of Everyday Occupation,” in Everyday Occupations, eds. Kamala Visweswaran (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), 15.   170 relative peace between India and Pakistan across the LoC, it did little to minimize the violations committed towards Kashm