Shades of Nationalism
FRAMED AS A TERRORISTNationality in Kashmir is a tricky subject where on one hand, India and Pakistan are tirelessly extending their claims; and on the other hand, the idealistic Kashmiris fight for their ‘Azaadi’ (independent Kashmir). The forces that opposed the idea of independent Kashmir have managed to give it a communal colour and have ensured that the fight is seen more as a religious war.

Nandita Haksar, a well-respected human rights lawyer tells the complex story of Kashmiri nationalism through two perspectives — Sampat Prakash and Mohammad Afzal Guru in her latest book ‘The Many Faces of Kashmiri Nationalism’. Prakash is a Kashmiri Pandit and Communist trade union leader who became active in politics during the Cold War years, and Guru was the Kashmiri Muslim who became active in the early days of the Kashmir insurgency. Although these two subjects belong to two different generations and communities, it is the similarities between the two men, according to Haksar, which gave her a glimpse into the complexities defining Kashmiri nationalism. Haksar had also led the campaign to save Afzal Guru from execution.

The book provides rare insights into the ideas of Kashmiri struggle for political inclusion. It urges the readers to break away from the stereotypical notions of communalism while understanding the subject. The growth of Hindutva ideology and political Islam are certainly making it difficult to have a nuanced conversation, Haksar points out.

From the Cold War to the Present Day
Speaking Tiger, Pages 335

— Nandita Haksar


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