Theatrics of a ‘Violent State’ or ‘State of Violence’: Mapping Histories and Memories of Partition in Jammu and Kashmir

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Abstract

This article engages with the subjective experiences of violence that have been written out of the histories of Partition in Kashmir. By reading the official archives ‘along the archival grain’, and by invoking the ‘small voice of history’ through memoirs (which have mostly remained untapped), this article attempts to highlight multiple experiences of Partition in the state. While the ‘tribal invasion’ of Kashmir has become the primary Indian nationalist trope in writing histories of the violence of 1947, the ‘communal violence’ which engulfed Jammu province has been treated as ‘someone else’s history—or even, not history at all’. Such narratives emphasise the political nature of violence in the state in 1947, presenting it as an exceptional space which remained above, as opposed to implicated in, the communal violence. In the case of ‘partition violence’ in Kashmir, I argue one cannot separate the political from the ‘communal’ and vice versa. An analysis of the violence in Jammu province allows one to understand the many ways in which the entanglement of the two played out against the backdrop of Kashmir’s contested accession.

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APA

Rashid, I. (2020). Theatrics of a ‘Violent State’ or ‘State of Violence’: Mapping Histories and Memories of Partition in Jammu and Kashmir. South Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies, 43(2), 215–231. https://doi.org/10.1080/00856401.2020.1712774

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