Kashmiris and independence since 1988
in Independent Kashmir
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This chapter focuses on azadi, particularly on aspects associated with its interpretation as ‘independence’. After a scene-setting overview of the Kashmiris’ anti-India uprising and its five phases, the chapter discusses some of the meanings, interpretations and usages of this vexed term. It then discusses the significant constitutional and administrative changes that New Delhi imposed on J&K in 2019 – and which comprise a sixth, and uncertain, phase to the Kashmiris’ anti-India uprising. For some members of the Indian Government, these changes seemingly have resolved both the issue of J&K’s special status and Kashmiris’ sense of being special. Supposedly, Kashmiris are now just like other Indians. Taking azadi specifically to mean independence, the chapter then discusses the feasibility of either an independent J&K or an independent Kashmir surviving as an independent state. The chapter concludes that there are now two ‘realities’ concerning J&K: the Indian reality that J&K is fully integrated into India and the Kashmiri reality that most Kashmiris want little to do with India: they want azadi.

Independent Kashmir

An incomplete aspiration

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