The Dilemma of ‘A’JK State; trying to understand its cogs and bolts

From Mahmood Ahmed Musafir's search for modern-day governance in 2018 to the Maharajah's dream of a neutral state in 1947. How can we connect the sham democracy of AJK with our diaspora living in a mature democracy in the UK. DAY 47 #ajk #AjkMagayAzadi Quote of the Day “It...

The Importance of Cultural History; Kashmir – a Fragmented Land

The immediate thoughts which sprung to mind when faced with the word ‘history’ were recollections of sitting in a high school classroom making notes on British monarchs. However, it is only after following the dictation of the National Curriculum, I found myself with a...

Whose Kashmir is it? Conflict & Territorial Claims; the abuse of myths

As in my earlier post on Israel and competing myths of exclusive origin, Kashmir serves as a good example of national myths and territorial claims. But unlike Israel, Kashmir has a special place for us. It is the place from where our forebears originated,...

Reconciliation for divided Jammu & Kashmir; working towards peace

At some point in the not too distant future, Commander Farooq of Mong and Dr Karan Singh, son of the last Dogra Jamwal Rajput ruler of Jammu & Kashmir, could (and should) meet in Mong, auspices of the people of “Azad” Jammu & Kashmir. This...

What are cultural spheres?

The term ‘cultural sphere‘ can be used in different contexts. At the core of the idea is the notion that a culture can be shared between people living in a clearly demarcated territory. There are three ingredients that I would like to explore in this...

The curious case of the anecdote becoming narrative

Internalising the negative perceptions of out-group members is not proof that there’s something inherently wrong with your in-group identity. This has happened to lots of people who have been ‘othered’ through a combination of factors that include inaccurate media portrayals, native informants and unjust social...

The Feudalism of the Western Himalaya; Patronage, Caste Myths and Colonialism

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting with some local guys as they consumed copious amounts of alcohol to the backdrop of a varied playlist, and it dawned upon me that my opposite number were unaware of the ‘caste-titles’ they were fondly using...

What’s in a name? A brief look into place names of Azad Kashmir

Unknown (or often untold) stories live on in the names of villages and towns in the Pahar region of divided Jammu & Kashmir. Variably known as the 'Pahari Ilaqah', or the 'Pir Panjal' region, this area has a rich cultural heritage. The names of...

The Solitary Journeyman

The needle has struck, the hour has come, and the open road unwinds. With a heavy heart,  I place my soul’s keeping  into nature’s lair for the journey ahead. Of human depredation, her foibles, her impatience, I know her...

India, Pakistan, and “Kashmir” – the Economist explains…!

This is how the Economist explains the "Kashmir" conflict using the colonial label of 'Hindus' and 'Muslims' - these are 'constructed labels' however common-sense they seem to us today! There is a huge scholarly body of knowledge that demonstrates that before the emergence of...