Imagining Local Cosmopolitanism and Cultural Human Rights in Sudha Koul’s The Tiger Ladies
This chapter argues that Sudha Koul’s memoir The Tiger Ladies, uses narratives of local cosmopolitanism to represent the state of having human rights, especially the human rights to the enjoyment of culture and cultural participation, both of which have been enshrined in the UDHR. Through the use of code-switching and ‘totemic metonymy,’ the memoir inters Kashmiri visual and material culture into her text. In the case of totemic metonymy, the code-switched word function as metonymic stand-ins for Kashmiri regional culture as a whole. This chapter identifies a form of ‘textured cosmopolitanism’ within Koul’s memoir, which is an embodied cosmopolitanism that encompasses relationships, visual repertoires, and vocabularies that are created and maintained during the creating, weaving, and crafting of Kashmiri visual and material culture. Although Koul’s memoir does not adequately interrogate the question of Kashmiri Pandit privilege, her work can be considered a rich archive of inter-ethnic relationships, before the volatile period of the 1990s, when the religious and class rifts between the Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits became especially marked and unbridgeable. This chapter contends that life narratives such as The Tiger Ladies disrupt the normative relationship between culture and human rights and enable the visualization of cultural human rights.