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Kashmir's Contested PastsNarratives, Sacred Geographies, and the Historical Imagination$
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Chitralekha Zutshi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199450671

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199450671.001.0001

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The Divided Public

The Divided Public

Battles over History and Territory in Contemporary Kashmir

(p.298) 6 The Divided Public
Kashmir's Contested Pasts

Chitralekha Zutshi

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 reflects on the increasingly fractured nature of the narrative public in contemporary Kashmir. No longer a unified domain, it has split into multiple, mutually oppositional publics that are advocating particular versions of Kashmir’s history and ultimately definitions of Kashmir itself. These versions re-write Kashmir’s past as either purely Hindu or purely Islamic, and denigrate the people’s ways of engaging with their past through stories in texts, oral traditions, and performances. As a result, their definitions of Kashmir as land and place, rather than a territory, are under consistent attack in the Urdu and English press and publications market. Since these ideas are labelled ahistorical based on the standards of disciplinary history and objective truth, the chapter ends with a plea for a more nuanced approach to history writing in Kashmir that draws on and learns from the richness of Kashmir’s long and adaptable historical tradition.

Keywords:   narrative public, territory, history, Hindu, Islamic, disciplinary history, objective truth

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