Contested Governance, Competing Nationalisms, and Disenchanted Publics: Kashmir beyond Intractability?

Spiralling unrest has continued in the Kashmir Valley since the July 2016 killing of the home-grown Hizbul commander Burhan Wani by the security forces. Never before has the Valley seen such unrelenting violence, literally on a daily basis. And never before has the Valley witnessed Kashmiri people from all walks of life and from every corner (in all its ten districts) united against the actions of the security forces and united in expressing demands for ‘azadi’ (freedom). Kashmiri Muslims have long remained disenchanted both with chronic governmental failure to deliver on repeated promises of a good governance agenda, and with the perennial non-fulfilment of their identity demands. If the Indian State wishes to better understand the protracted character of the Kashmir conflict, it must pay specific attention to at times habitual and at times ‘conscious’ actions/resistance of the Kashmiri masses and their dynamic interaction with the organized resistance by groups. What strategy the Valley’s Muslims adopt depends upon how the State reacts to Kashmiri agitation, and this in turn impacts upon the ordinary Kashmiri resisters’ response: whether they will demand good governance or azadi or both, or whether they will join in with the secessionists and nationalists in their collective public protests.

Speaker: Dr. Reeta Chowdhari Tremblay, Professor of Comparative Politics and Global South, University of Victoria

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