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[ 201 ] book review roundtable • demystifying kashmir leadership in New Delhi will be in a position to make significant concessions. Equally important, any lasting agreement must meet the aspirations of all Kashmiris. Currently, few Kashmiri Hindus, Shia Muslims, Buddhists, and other groups would readily join any Sunni-dominated government or political organization. Bridging this dissonance is key to finding a durable solution to the Kashmir dilemma. Author’s Response Navnita Chadha Behera Iam deeply grateful to the reviewers for their thoughtful comments. I share many of their observations and wish here to briefly address some of the issues they have raised. The conceptual lens of post-modernism tends to evoke strong reactions in the domain of realpolitik. Ganguly and Wirsing find little value in using a post-modernist approach due to its apparent limitations in producing policyrelevant research. Yet Wirsing commends the “realism-imbued” discussion of the book’s last chapter on “the Peace Puzzle,” which Ganguly also finds to be “of particular significance to those in the policy making community.” These comments indicate that bridging this gap is indeed possible, provided there is a clear understanding of what the concept stands for. The core theoretical argument of my thesis is that a disjuncture between the plural social realities and the unitary state structures of the modern nation-state lies at the root of tensions and unrest in its polity. The remedy lies in creating alternative and intermediate political structures to give voice to the pluralities—religion, class, caste, ethnic, and linguistic—that make up the identity of the modern nation state. From this standpoint, a post-modernist approach that inculcates a greater sensitivity and respect for the diverse viewpoints—in contrast to the single narrative of modern nation-state, which seeks to subsume and solely represent all social, cultural, economic, and political aspirations of various communities—is better suited to explain the Navnita Chadha Behera teaches in the political science department at Delhi University (India) and is a former visiting scholar in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution. She can be reached at . [ 202 ] asia policy deeply plural realities of the Jammu and Kashmir society. Recognizing this society’s rich, complex, and multi-faceted character is critically important not only for understanding the structural causes of conflict but also for providing opportunities to establish a just, viable, and lasting solution. I agree with Ganguly that the nation-state is “here to stay.” At stake, however, is not the resilience of the idea of nation-state per se but the need to understand the nation-state’s different, as well as changing, political character. This perspective also characterizes the central argument of the book: the Kashmir conflict needs to be understood primarily as a political battle of state-making involving three principal actors (i.e., India, Pakistan, and the people of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the Line of the Control) rather than as either a territorial conflict between India and Pakistan or an ideological, HinduMuslim conflict. None of the critical junctures in Kashmir’s political history—Kashmir’s accession to India, Sheikh Abdullah’s separatist agenda in the 1950s, and the insurgent movement in the 1990s—can be fully explained without understanding the Kashmiris’ divergent notions of their statehood or those of the Indian and Pakistani leadership. Chapter one debunks the traditional argument that the genesis of the Kashmir conflict lay in the Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh’s decision to accede to India, which violated the partition’s principle of the two-nation theory. Though the legality of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession was undoubtedly completed by Maharaja’s signing of the Instrument of Accession, far more important was the political choice of a popular Muslim leader like Sheikh Abdullah to join India as well as his unequivocal repudiation of the two-nation theory. The rationale for Sheikh’s decision lay in the belief that Kashmir’s political future would be more secure in the democratic, secular, and federal polity of India than in the feudal state of Pakistan. Sheikh’s differences with Nehru later grew due to their divergent notions of Kashmir’s political status within the Indian Union. Nehru’s attempts to integrate Jammu and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2960
Print ISSN
1559-0968
Pages
pp. 201-205
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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