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Anshul is a Political Science and Law graduate from the University of Delhi. He is interested in political, legal and policy developments and frequently writes on related themes. You can contact him on anshulkumarpandey [at] gmail [dot] com.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Academic Paper: Militarization in Jammu and Kashmir - Youth, Peace Building and Narratives of Identity

The Multi Stakeholder Engagement Initiative (TMSEI) Hum Kadam Dialogues
Venue: Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi
Topic: Militarization in Jammu and Kashmir - Youth, Peace Building and Narratives of Identity


This paper focuses on the different narratives of identity of Kashmiris living in Delhi. It will try to examine the identity crossfire in which these Kashmiris find themselves due to the conflict between the idea of Kashmiriyat and Indian nationalism. This paper interrogates the causes of the widening of the trust deficit between Kashmiris and non-Kashmiris due to the lack of an interface over a period of time. 

The meaning of ‘Kashmiriyat’ has transformed over a period of time from meaning a syncretic tradition rooted in the Sufi version of Islam to a radical, ideologically driven and a resilient point of view regarding Kashmiri Nationalism. In the same manner, the idea of Indian Nationalism has gone through significant changes in recent times. The dominant discourse reinforced by the coverage of the Jammu and Kashmir conflict by the mainstream media portrays the state as an integral part of India while bypassing any discussion of the demand by the Kashmiri’s to Right to Self-Determination. In the light of the existence of these two contrasting understandings of nationalism, Kashmiris and non-Kashmiris often find themselves on different sides of the same debate. 

Young people constitute more than half of the population of Kashmir. This is the generation which has grown up while militancy was rampant in the valley which resulted in the militarization of Jammu and Kashmir. The youth of Kashmir has seen the darker side of Indian Nationalism while simultaneously struggling with the lack of quality education, employment and access to livelihood opportunities. This deprivation of a peaceful and normal upbringing coupled with a sense of marginalization in public and social life has further alienated the Kashmiri from the non-Kashmiri. This paper tries to gauge the depth of this sense of marginalization through the interviews conducted. 

This paper will also attempt to suggest that to initiate an honest process of reconciliation between the youth of Kashmir and those not belonging to Kashmir, it is important to rectify the constant chain of broken promises, in order to lessen the trust deficit. The atmosphere of mutual suspicion needs to be put an end to and the intrinsic talents of the Kashmiri youth need to be recognized, honed and harnessed for the benefit of all. That, in this paper's view, would be the start of the much-required peace building process which will, hopefully, result in lessening of the hostilities.

Candids from the Conference


Full text of the paper is available at Academia and Social Science Research Network (SSRN)

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