ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Rekha ChowdharySubscribe to Rekha Chowdhary

Kashmir: Elections 2002: Implications for Politics of Separatism

The recent assembly election provides important insights into the political psyche of Kashmir today. In many ways, the current election can be seen as a reversal of 1987 assembly elections which by eroding the democratic space had become catalyst for extension of separatist politics. This election has brought about a change in the regime through the popular verdict and to that extent has become instrumental in providing a linkage between the people and the government. For a state known for its history of making and unmaking of governments at the behest of the centre it indeed has been a historic election.

Kashmir: Lone's Liberal Legacy

Abdul Gani Lone's assassination is likely to have a profound impact on the movement towards a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. For, despite the multiplicity of actors representing mainstream politics and militant organisations, there are not many who have the capacity and the dynamism to respond to the local sensitivities in the way he could

Panchayat Elections in Kashmir

People's response to the panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir, which are being conducted in a phased manner since January this year, has differed depending on the political situation prevailing in different parts of the state. While the elections have evoked an enthusiastic response in many parts of Jammu and Ladakh, in Kashmir valley they have been virtually a paper exercise. Political processes and institutions in the valley suffer from a crisis of legitimacy. Panchayati institutions are perceived as a part of the existing structure of power that bears no relation to the aspirations and choices of people.

Autonomy Demand

Over the past 12 years the dominant discourse in Kashmir, defined by the separatist agenda has pushed into the background serious thinking on the autonomy issue. The State Autonomy Committee report, recently tabled in a special session of the state assembly, has prompted a reopening of that discourse. Notwithstanding the limitations of the Report, it has wide-ranging political implications for the state and its relationship with New Delhi.

Political Upsurge in Kashmir-Then and Now

Then and Now Rekha Chowdhary UNDERLYING the present political upsurge in Kashmir there lies a distinct conception of Kashmiri identity. Kashmiriyat, as this identity is commonly known, is a manifestation of cultural-linguistic bonds strengthened by a common heritage. Besides other historical factors, this heritage has been enriched by a tradition of intellectual and spiritual development over the centuries. Its geographical compactness has made it possible to maintain the uniqueness of Kashmir region which gets reflected in varied socio-cultural dimensions of day to day life of Kashmiri community. An overwhelming majority of Kashmiris share a common religion. Hence many observers emphasise Islam as an important factor underlying Kashmiriyat, Of course, there arc instances when Kashmiri identity takes religious overtones. Yet, such overtones do not represent any consistent pattern. Hence Kashmiriyat can be better understood with reference to culture than religion.

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