Identity politics

Greater Kashmir

This refers to “Storm in a teacup” by Asma Khan Lone; In January 2014 Asma wrote in an article in The Hindu. “Mapping the Kashmir Trajectory” in which she mentions “India’s inability to recognise the undercurrents of Kashmir’s preoccupation with its identity further exacerbated Kashmiri vulnerability. Generating an additional set of grievances, it stymied the prospects of a constructive and trustful engagement between India and Kashmir.” She highlighted Kashmir as ethnic conflict as delineated in the famous Ted Gurr Model, saying this model was with full force present in Kashmir: identity, grievances, opportunity and capacity. The model is very interesting and when I was studying the same model at Islamic University, I was told by my teacher that model shows grievances, mobilization, and contagion having direct impact on rebellion; repression, regional political control, educational levels, economical differentials and unemployment rates. Moreover it directly determine grievance; identity, repression, grievance, democratization, and group size effect.
This analysis makes me think that how can be a person who writes one thing in a national paper and defends the same occupier in another. If identity based thinking can be amenable to such brutal manipulation, where can be the remedy found? It is not about the debate – to abrogate article 370? It is a matter of preserving identity.
It can make a little sense to treat identity as general evil – rather draw on the understanding that the occupier can be challenged to preserve combative identity that Sajad Lone rejected when he formed a political party of his own. His father set an example by resigning when Indra – Abdullah accord happened. He stated that he cannot cheat his own people and joined later in early 90s freedom movement with Syed Ali Shah Geelani and others.  
It is difficult to challenge a system which has exacerbated violence and is still perpetuating war crimes in Kashmir but that doesn’t mean to surrender to power and do not resist.


Altaf Bashir
Srinagar