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The truth about modern Kashmir

india Updated: Feb 09, 2007 18:10 IST

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Demystifying Kashmir
Author:
Navnita Chadha Behera
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
Format: Clothbound
Pages: 359
ISBN: 978-0-8157-0860-5
Price: $28.95

The Kashmir issue is typically cast as a "territorial dispute" between two belligerent and well-armed powers in South Asia. But there is much more to the story than that.

In Demystifying Kashmir, Navnita Chadha Behera breaks away from conventional assumptions and challenges long-held stereotypes to redefine the dangerous conflict over control of that tumultuous region. Her nuanced portrait brings much-needed fresh and important perspective to the Kashmir question and the conflict between India and Pakistan.

The Jammu and Kashmir state is home to an extraordinary medley of races, tribal groups, languages, and religions, making it one of the subcontinent's most diverse regions. Behera argues that recognising the rich, complex, and multi-faceted character of Kashmir is critically important not only for understanding the structural causes of the conflict but also for providing opportunities to establish a just, viable, and lasting solution. Demystifying Kashmir provides a deeper understanding of the region, its people and politics, and the dangerous controversy swirling around them.

This remarkable book traces the history of Kashmir from pre-partition India to the situation today. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the philosophical underpinnings of the conflict and the local, bilateral, and international dynamics of the key players involved, including New Delhi, Islamabad, political groups and militant outfits on both sides of the Line of Control, and international powers. The book explores the political and military components of India's and Pakistan's Kashmir strategy, the self-determination debate, and the insurgent movement that began in 1989. The conclusion focuses on what Behera terms the four Ps: the parameters, players, policies, and prognosis of the ongoing peace process in Kashmir.

Based on extensive field research and primary sources, Demystifying Kashmir breaks new ground by framing the conflict as a political battle of state-making between India and Pakistan rather than as a rigid and ideological Hindu-Muslim conflict. Behera's work will be an essential resource for anyone concerned with international peace and the fate of the subcontinent.

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