Who Is Chandni bibi?: Survival as Embodiment in Disaster Disrupted Northern Pakistan

Author:

Aijazi, O.

Editor:

Second

Date:

2016

Region:

South Asia

Theme:

Gender and Earthquakes

Language:

English

Publisher:

WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly

Full Harvard Reference:

Aijazi, O., (2016). Who Is Chandni bibi?: Survival as Embodiment in Disaster Disrupted Northern Pakistan. WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly, 44(1), pp.95-110.

This journal article explores the life of Chandni bibi, a resident of the Siran Valley in Northern Pakistan who experienced the 2005 Kashmir and Northern Areas Earthquake. Although her family and community expressed that she had struggled with her vision since childhood, Chandni bibi insists that the earthquake made her completely blind. Taking the victim/survivor binary which is often presented throughout academic, humanitarian, and other interventionist discourses on disaster survivors, the author juxtaposes this through the accretive violence of disasters and the “ordinariness” of survival which is often missing in literature. Through a series of interviews and ethnographic research, the article concludes that Chandni bibi’s insistence that the earthquake was responsible for her blindness indicates that ‘disasters and lived experiences are embodied in multiple ways’, and challenge the very category of static ‘disaster-survivor’.