A campaign of school burnings is under way in Kashmir. This is not quite as simple a phenomenon as it might instinctively appear. This piece by Arif Ayaz Parrey helps us understand why. A reader may of course disagree with various of his claims, and I suspect the average Indian reader will most decidedly do so. But it’s necessary reading to make sense of contemporary Kashmir.
It’s also a reminder that Kashmir is not just a playground for media narratives from Delhi, but in fact has a lot of smart people who write smart, provocative things that deserve to be read. Indeed, one of the most striking things I’ve noticed is that many Kashmiris separatist intellectuals view the whole Indian national debate as tangential, even orthogonal, to what they view as the key political questions at stake. Too often, Kashmir is reduced to NC or PDP politicians on Barkha Dutt’s show talking about autonomy and human rights, to be chastised by security hawks and the Hindu right talking about national unity, jihad, and Pakistan. Reading what non-cable-channel Kashmiris have to say beyond these lenses is not much work, yet done surprisingly little.