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    Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir

    By: Nyla Ali Khan

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    "Since 1989, religious fundamentalism and exclusionary nationalism in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir have generated political and social turmoil that has eroded the cultural syncretism that has long been part of the ethos and history of Kashmir. These forces are responsible for the silencing of dissenters, economic deprivation, lack of infrastructure, mass displacements, political anarchy, and repression of women. Historical Kashmiri culture inscribes a wide range of experiences, which centralizing institutions attempt to render invisible and homogeneous. Women in Kashmir, as in other postcolonial countries, are positioned in relation to their own class and cultural realities, their own histories, their sensitivity to the diversity of cultural traditions and to the questions and conflicts within them. They constantly grapple with the legacies of Sufi Islam, their own struggles not just with the devastating effects of Indian occupation and Pakistani infiltration, but also with the discourses of cultural nationalism and religious fundamentalism propagated in the valley. I position myself with reference to the West as well as with communities outside the West, so I speak with a complex awareness of and investment in representation.I analyze the ways in which experiences have been constructed historically and have changed over time. The refusal to wallow in grief and a desire to deconstruct the Camelot-like atmosphere of that period impelled me to undertake this cross-disciplinary project regarding the political history, composite culture, literature of the state; the attempted relegation of Kashmiri women to the archives of memory, and their persistent endeavors to rise from the ashes of immolated identities. "--Provided by publisher.

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