By Mute editors, 4 July 2003


Now I am become Death, Destroyer of WorldsBy Hari Kunzru

Signatures of the Apocalypse: The Politics of Surveillance in Contemporary IndiaBy Shuddhabrata Sengupta

War and PeaceBy Pauline van Mourik Broekman

For over half a century, South Asia has dealt with the profound tension generated by Pakistan and India’s competing national claims to Kashmir. In its failure to gain autonomy since partition in 1947, and its status as a pawn in a bloody power struggle between its two neighbours, this predominantly Muslim region is nothing if not illustrative of how departing British colonial powers consolidated a destructive political dynamic in their ‘constructive’ terms of exit.

Aside from its historical and religious undercurrents, the Indo-Pakistani stand-off over Kashmir has escalated due to both nations’ programs of nuclear development. Their symbolic function equals if not exceeds their defensive one, and must now be read in the wider context of corporate globalisation, the War on Terror and the security clampdown following India’s own ‘Parliament Attack’ of December 13, 2001.

The three articles in this section explore aspects of the present South-Asian scenario, notably how narratives of science, religion and security intertwine to construct everyday political language, as well as the promise that the non-violent resistance movement offers in these militarised times.