HarperCollins India brings you an anthology of deeply felt essays, providing important insights into the political aspirations of the people of Kashmir

‘A primer as well as a sophisticated analysis… I hope it will be widely read’ — Arundhati Roy

About the book

The accession of Kashmir to the Indian Union in 1947 had raised objections both in Kashmir and India, echoes of which continue to be heard even today. At the time, Sheikh Abdullah was the uncrowned king of Kashmir; today, his grave is under security lest it be vandalized. What accounts for this change in attitude?

A Desolation Called Peace provides important insights to understand the political aspirations of the people of Kashmir and the change in their perceptions since Independence. Written and edited by Kashmiri authors, this collection of ethnographic essays explores the desire for ‘azadi’ as a historical and indigenous demand. While the accounts traverse the period from before 1947 to the momentous time of 1989 when militancy began, the essays illustrate how postcolonial politics has impinged on Kashmiri lives and aspirations, thus paving the way for the intractable dispute of today. This anthology of deeply felt essays will enable an understanding of Kashmir beyond the hackneyed tropes that portray the issue reductively as a proxy war, terrorism or a simple law and order situation.

We are exhilarated to know these Kashmiri life stories peering into the not so distant past and that give context to the Kashmir question are accessible for the perusal of the Indian readers.” – Ather Zia


About the editors

Ather Zia is a poet and political anthropologist who teaches at University of Northern Colorado, Greeley. Ather is the author of Resisting Disappearances: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir (Washington University Press, 2019) and co-editor of Resisting Occupation in Kashmir (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). She is the founder editor of Kashmir Lit (www.kashmirlit.org), an ezine that is publishing writings on Kashmir since 2008. In 2010 she helped co-found the Critical Kashmir Studies Collective (www.criticalkashmirstudies.com), an interdisciplinary network of scholars working on the Kashmir region.

Javaid Iqbal Bhat is an assistant professor in the Department of English, University of Kashmir. He specializes in literary theory and criticism, British fiction, South Asian fiction, diaspora literature and romanticism. Among others, he has published essays in Third Text, Springer and Folklore. He is the author of books Scars of Summer, Mourning Memories: Amarnath Row to the Year of Dead Eyes and Covering a Decade: Reflections on Kashmir Cauldron and Global Affairs (2007-2017). He is a regular columnist for Greater Kashmir, Srinagar and Daily Times, Lahore.

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