Fear and Othering in Delhi

Assessing Non-Belonging of Kashmiri Muslims

  • Charlotte Thomas
Keywords: non-belonging, emotions, Kashmiri Muslims, New Delhi


This contribution aims at assessing to what extent does the fact of living in New Delhi influence the Kashmiri Muslims’ sense of a national belonging to India. Non-belongingness is appraised through the study of Kashmiri Muslims’ emotions and perceptions towards New Delhi, that is to say the territory and the inhabitants of the capital city of India. Living in New Delhi nurtures an othering process between Kashmiri Muslims and the non-Kashmiri Muslim Delhiite society. The contribution analyses this process as a two-way dynamic wherein both the groups are at stake. In the same vein, non-belongingness also appears to be an ambiguous process. But ultimately, the feeling of non-belonging prevails among Kashmiri Muslims. Eventually, Kashmiri Muslims’ feelings towards New Delhi coalesced with their feelings regarding the Indian state. Informed by the socialization to state-led violence that they experienced in Indian-Administrated Kashmir as well as their actual experience of New Delhi, Kashmiri Muslims convert their non-belongingness to the city into a perception of national disaffiliation towards what they name ‘India’. The study is based on fieldwork conducted in September and October 2016 in New Delhi among twenty Kashmiri Muslims who had lived in the capital city of India from six months to ten years prior to the interviews.

How to Cite
Thomas, C. (2020). Fear and Othering in Delhi. HIMALAYA - The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies, 40(1), 63-77. https://doi.org/10.2218/himalaya.2020.7833
Special Issue Research Article