Of Nationalism, Autonomy and ‘Azadi’
Ajay K. Mehra
THE PARCHMENT OF KASHMIR: HISTORY, SOCIETY AND POLITY by Nyla Ali Khan Macmillan India, 2013, 262 pp., $85.00
April 2013, volume 37, No 4

This collection of nine essays brings analytical reflections from as many Jammu and Kashmir scholars. In a brief but succinct Introduction, the editor, who herself belongs to the political ‘first family’ of the State, highlights the difficulties of academically comprehending and grasping the phenomenon of Kashmir and creating an understanding of this ‘simple complexity’ amongst future generations.

Khan highlights the multifaceted impact of this perpetual conflict on society in general and on women and children in particular and on the generations to come. She refers to ‘Kashmiriyat’ as the multi-cultural spirit of coexistence and foundational strength of Kashmir. However, with most of the minority Kashmiri Pandits exiled to different parts of the country due to the xenophobic politics of terror pursued by some and the Government of India bumbling through available options, there is a communal divide that discussions on the two other parts of this three-part State—Jammu and Ladakh—cannot and must not escape. Essays in this volume combine personal experiences as well as academic analysis. Naturally, the arguments arise from a mix of history, political developments, social consequences of conflict and victimhood.

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