Reflections on the Post-Partition Period

Life Narratives of Kashmiri Muslims in Contemporary Kashmir


  • Hafsa Kanjwal



Kashmir, Partition, life narratives, militancy, oral history


This article examines the political subjectivities of the first generation of post-Partition Kashmiri Muslims and presents their life narratives, both written and oral, as an important vantage point from which to understand shifts in Kashmiri Muslim society in the early post-Partition period. It also explores how these narratives are mediated by the respondent's present, a period after the militancy of the late eighties and nineties, but one in which there remains a mass uprising against Indian rule. This generation was important for a number of reasons. One, they witnessed the erosion of Kashmir’s autonomy and the promises of a plebiscite, as well as intense political repression. Two, they were enlisted in the project of state reform and nation building, and thus, effectively participated in those same processes of erosion. As a result, I argue that the conditions and uncertainty surrounding the Kashmir ‘dispute” led to a political subjectivity that sought coherence amidst contradiction and incommensurate political and ideological commitments. In particular, this coherence was reflected in the desire to assert and foreground a Kashmiri Muslim identity, one that existed alongside other class, regional and gendered identities, but was nonetheless sharpened as a political community. I conclude with a reflection on the importance of this generation to understanding the making of political subjectivities in Kashmir today.




How to Cite

Kanjwal, H. (2018). Reflections on the Post-Partition Period: Life Narratives of Kashmiri Muslims in Contemporary Kashmir. HIMALAYA - The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies, 38(2), 40–60.



Special Section Research Article