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

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The Era of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah - I

The era of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was marked by a single-minded assertion by the people of Kashmir of their identity. The question of their external affiliation – constitutionally, politically and emotionally – had, more or less, been stabilised during the life-time of the leader who had symbolised Kashmiri aspirations uninterruptedly for over half a century.

This paper attempts a retrospective assessment of the era of Sheikh Abdullah and the prospects for the future development of Kashmiri identity within the state as well as in the country. The paper is divided into four sections. Section I traces the historical assertion of Kashmiri identity in the context of political awakening in the state which first took the form of Muslim consciousness and opposition to Dogra rule but which soon shed its exclusive Muslim character and become a struggle against monarchy itself. Section II delineates the various regional identities within the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the attempts of the National Conference, representative organisations of the overwhelming majority of the population in the Valley, to incorporate them within its fold. Sections III and IV, which will be published next week, consider the continuing efforts to evolve a composite identity for the state and the obstacles in the emergence and consolidation of such an identity. Sections I and II of the paper appeared last week. Sections III and IV are published below.

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