ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Thinking Kashmir

Waiting is so much a part of everydayness, including waiting for peace, waiting for your loved ones to come home, waiting for curfew to end, waiting for the army to go home. Between silence and waiting one can create a narrative of the Kashmir conflict. Unlike the Holocaust or partition, which have the gigantism of epic memories, the sadness of Kashmir is forged, crafted out of thousands of little memories, unwritten diaries merging quietly together. It is this alchemy of memories that is struggling against government policy, which sanitises violence and erases memory to create this strange machine that moves from violence to violence in facile amnesia.

Of Tulips and Daffodils

This article examines the emergence of the concept of Kashmir jannat nazir as a literary and political imaginary in the Mughal court. It represented a distinct imagination about the region and emerged as a literary imaginary in the late 16th century and over the early part of the 17th century, entering into the imperial chronicles. By the mid-17th century, the concept had become a part of the political discourse and the language of Mughal sovereignty. The literary and political imaginary of Kashmir in the Mughal court drew upon older textual traditions like the literature and histories from Kashmir, corpora of Arab and Persian geographies compiled from the ninth century onwards, travel accounts, wonder tales and the chronicles of the Ghaznavid and Timurid courts.

Corrosive Impact of Army’s Commitment in Kashmir

The army has had an extended deployment in Kashmir. While it has enabled operational experience for its members, there is a danger that the advantages of this can make the army acquire a stake in the disturbed conditions. This makes the army part of the problem in Kashmir. Its deployment is not without a price in regard to the internal good health of the army.

Rehabilitation Policy

In the early 1990s, after decades of political discontent, thousands of Kashmiri men travelled across the Line of Control for arms training to seek independence from India. However, soon many became disillusioned and looked at the possibilities of return. In 2010, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir announced a rehabilitation policy for them. However, the ex-militants generally avoid the designated points mainly to evade possible arrest by the Indian security forces and the cumbersome documentation process. This article argues that the criterion for return through these points is flawed, since it has failed to attract ex-militants, and those who returned through other points were not entitled to the benefits of the rehabilitation policy.

Civil Society and State in Armed Conflict

Civil society plays a significant role in challenging, limiting or contesting state power. In a conflict zone like Kashmir, where the state in the guise of counter-insurgency operations violates the human rights of civilians with impunity, civil society is in direct confrontation with the state. This article discusses the evolution of civil society organisations in Kashmir, their role in the history of resistance, and their struggle to defend human rights in a repressive environment, where legal and extralegal methods are employed to co-opt them or intimidate them into silence.

A Letter to India: In Manto's Spirit

On the lines of Sadat Hasan Manto's facetious letters to Uncle Sam written at the height of the cold war when Pakistan was being wooed by the US as an ally to fight communism, this letter was written in 2002 to the then Prime Minister Vajpayee by historian Ayesha Jalal. Written as a spirited assessment of the standoff between India and Pakistan, the letter is peppered with rare insights that have always been Manto's hallmark.

Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity and Right of Self-Determination

Mere change of political status may not ensure a people's freedom to pursue their economic, social and cultural development. Would there still be the urge for self-determination if people are able to get this freedom? In many cases, democracy and federalism can satisfy the urge for self-determination better than secession and independence.

Kashmir: When Ignorance Begets Tragedy and Farce

When the Government of India has neither the intent nor the political will to offer greater autonomy, and Kashmiris refuse to settle for anything less than azaadi , armed confrontation is only to be expected.

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