Kashmir: tormented state and global flashpoint

Until this year, the state of Jammu and Kashmir nominally enjoyed special autonomy under the Indian Constitution. However, as the only state in India with a Muslim-majority population, it has nonetheless been the subject of constant friction amongst India, Pakistan, and China.

Following the Indo-Pakistani war of 1947-48, India administered major parts of the disputed territory, but turbulent relations between India and Pakistan have resulted in intermittent conflict, and the area has seen prolonged and bloody strife between India and many Kashmiris resisting Indian rule, resulting in horrific human rights abuses, including torture, enforced disappearance, extra-judicial killings, rape, massacre, and pillage.

In early August 2019, the Indian Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government passed resolutions to bifurcate the territory, and end both the autonomy as well as the statehood, and bring Jammu and Kashmir under the direct rule of Delhi. A lockdown was imposed in the region, the internet and phone services were blocked, and political leaders were put under house arrest, and there has been no let-up in this since early August. This has gravely escalated tension, both in Kashmir, and between the two nuclear powers of Pakistan and India, with serious international implications.

Nitasha Kaul will discuss this alarming situation with us. She is a Kashmiri academic, economist, novelist and poet, and has spoken and published widely on varied themes including social theory, democracy, and postcolonial critique, with particular focus on Bhutan and Kashmir. She has held teaching posts in many international universities, and is currently Associate Professor in Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster

Her work over the last two decades is linked on the cv page of her website.

2nd December 2019


Internal Contradictions of the Indian Democracy: A Critical Perspective

Nitasha Kaul is a London-based Kashmiri novelist, academic, economist, and artist. Her first book was ‘Imagining Economics Otherwise’ (Routledge, 2007) and her novel ‘Residue’ was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2009. She has held university positions in economics, politics, and creative writing in the UK and in Bhutan. Aside from publishing fiction and poetry she has also authored numerous articles on several themes including identity, economy, social theory and democracy. Currently, she is a Visiting Fellow in Politics and International Relations at Westminster, London.

Dr Kaul helps us to examine the protracted disputes of recognition and redistribution that lie at the heart of democratic functioning in India. She will refer to the conflicts in Kashmir, ‘North East’ India and Naxal regions in her discussion of the internal contradictions of democracy in India, making special reference to the political and economic relationships.