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The Many Faces of Kashmiri Nationalism: From the Cold War to the Present Day


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AuthorNandita Haksar
Published LanguageEnglish
Publication Year2015
PublisherSpeaking Tiger
Ships By2-3 days


A fascinating and revealing examination of the political history of modern Kashmir through the lives of two men: Sampat Prakash, a Kashmiri Pandit and trade union leader, and Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri Muslim who was executed in connection with the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament.

Nandita Haksar’s magnum opus traces the tortured history of Kashmiri nationalism through the lives of two men: Sampat Prakash, a Kashmiri Pandit and Communist trade union leader who became active in politics during the Cold War years, and Mohammad Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri Muslim who became active in the early days of the Kashmir insurgency. The ideas and deeds of many other individuals and groups are woven into this twin account which tries to examine how Kashmiri nationalists are caught in the web of international intrigue, as they negotiate the rivalries between the old and new superpowers and also the competing nationalisms of India and Pakistan, which invariably translate into Hindu-Muslim antagonism.

Both Prakash and Guru refused to give up the idea of a more inclusive Kashmir, with space in it for all faiths and nationalities. Their paths crossed at a juncture of history when both believed that their vision of Kashmir was possible. But their dream has been all but destroyed by the forces of history, leaving Prakash and his comrades alone and isolated, and leading to the hounding and execution of Guru.

This nuanced, multi-layered book combines personal and public narratives, political analysis and the rare insights of an activist who led the campaign to save Mohammad Afzal Guru from the gallows. Singular in scope and focus, and spanning a period of over eight decades, from the 1930s until 2015, this is an unprecedented examination of the history of modern Kashmir.

About the author
Nandita Haksar is a human rights lawyer, teacher, activist and writer. She has been instrumental in setting up the country's first human rights courses at several universities. In 1983, she became the first person to challenge the infamous Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the Supreme Court. She successfully led the campaign for the acquittal of one of the people framed in the Indian Parliament attack case, and has been taking up the cause of migrant workers in the Northeast.Nandita's published works include Demystification of Law for Women (1986); Framing Geelani, Hanging Afzal: Patriotism in the Time of Terror (2009); Rogue Agent: How India's Military Intelligence Betrayed the Burmese Resistance (2010); The Judgement That Never Came: Army Rule in North East India (with Sebastian Hongray, 2011); ABC of Naga Culture and Civilization (2011) and Across the Chicken Neck: Travels in North East India (2013).

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