According to an online report by an Indian media outlet based in the Indian capital, three men who lined up against a store in Delhi smile widely at the camera. “The tricolor will be greeted in Kashmir, bhai your turn,” Ankit Jatav tells his friend. The friend, a young man in a black T-shirt, strikes his chest and says: “Doosra, Jammu Kashmir ki lugai milegi humein” [Second, we will get a wife from Jammu Kashmir]. “The third man declares that Kashmir will now be called. Kashi , and the three shout ‘Vande Mataram’ in unison.
The video, published on various social media platforms with flexed bicep hearts and emojis, was uploaded shortly after the Indian government invoked Article 370 to eliminate the special state of Kashmir. Jatav, which has more than 12,000 followers on a social media platform, has posted 10 more videos in Article 370 since then.
While a total blackout of communications in Kashmir has made it impossible to determine the impact of the Modi government’s decision to repeal the special state of Kashmir, social media platforms in mainland India are flooded with videos affirming Hindu supremacy. A particular popular video platform is full of slightly desperate Hindu men who claim “victory” by claiming that they can now “get girls” from Kashmir. Similar content has begun to appear on other social networks. Before the government’s decision on Monday, there was no impediment to marrying Kashmir men or women. However, the children of women who married people who are not from Kashmir would not inherit property in Kashmir under their old laws.
In India, men have long used the so-called “muscular nationalism” to channel a deep misogyny aimed at women who dared to criticize a dominant political narrative. Women who have criticized the majority policy of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have faced threats of rape, obscene messages and even fake porn videos.
The high-ranking ministers of the BJP, including the Prime Minister, have followed these trolls online and invited them to social media summits while insisting that the government should not be responsible for encouraging hatred directed at women online. However, in the case of Kashmir and Article 370, the avalanche of misogynistic content seems to be strangely in line with the government’s approach to the people of Kashmir. Just as the government treated Kashmir as a town whose opinion was not worth considering, young men celebrate the idea of ”getting” a woman from Kashmir as if it were an object without agency. Ironically, a lot of these videos end with men singing “Bharat Mata ki Jai” or Vande Mataram, completely dismissive of the absurdity of looking at the women of Kashmir as subjects of their “patriotic” project.