An Inquiry into the Debates around "Kashmiriyat"

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Ashish Kumar Singh
Wakar Amin


Jammu and Kashmir was once known as a place of communal harmony and peaceful coexistence. The notion of religious harmony and peace, which emerged mainly due to the strong socioreligious ties among various communities, is often referred to as Kashmiriyat. Although it started off as a sociocultural phenomenon with more emphasis on tolerance among different communities, the idea of Kashmiriyat was exploited by successive political regimes to strengthen their political positioning. After the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, and the rise of militancy in 1989, the concept of Kashmiriyat changed form. As a system of cohabitation and shared values, Kashmiriyat has been present in Kashmiri society since the inception of different religious traditions in Jammu and Kashmir, however, the term itself evolved in the latter part of the twentieth century. This article analyzes the events and issues that have given Kashmiriyat different meanings. We make use of the existing literature and interactions with current scholars to present our findings. By reexamining the historical context of the term, the article provides a better understanding of its multiple usages. The article then concludes with the note that Kashmiriyat should be maintained as it was once understood—synonymous with peaceful coexistence. 

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Author Biographies

Ashish Kumar Singh, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow

Ashish Kumar Singh is a doctoral candidate at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia and can be reached at ashish.tiss@gmail .com.

Wakar Amin, University of Kashmir

Wakar Amin is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of Kashmir, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India and can be reached at and wakaramin78@gmail .com.