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Islam, Women, and the Violence in Kashmir: Khan inspired by grandfathers legacy to write book on gender issues in Kashmir
Lyndsey Luxford
Antelope Staff
Photo from Internet
Photo from Internet

A long journey comes to a close for UNK associate professor of English Dr. Nyla Khan with the publication of her book “Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan.”

Khan, a native from Kashmir, has been researching and writing since 2005, going back every year to do field work and to do research for the book. Khan’s perspective comes with a lot of validity because she was raised in the midst of all the political turmoil.

“I chose to write about the problem in Kashmir because my grandfather was the first prime minister of Kashmir. He was head of the government from 1948 to 1953. In 1953, the government of India had him ousted and imprisoned because of the emphasis he laid on the right to self-determination. He remained a political prisoner for 22 years. He returned to Kashmir in 1975.  He was a political figure who had a tremendous mass appeal, so when he returned, he was installed head of state. He remained in office until he died in 1982,” Khan said.

Kashmir is technically part of India, but this is a politically disputed territory. The country has been trying to gain independence since 1989. “The country has tremendous political upheaval; it is very traumatic for lay people who have to fend for themselves. This militant movement has caused cultural and graphical dislocation for some people. It just does not feel safe in Kashmir,” Khan said.

The country remains in turmoil. One of the country’s main sources of income is tourism. However, tourism has been greatly affected—not just for large companies, but people who own small businesses like cab driving services, hotel owners and people who own gondolas, too.

Since Khan could not always be in Kashmir, she also turned to the Internet and books to find scholarly material. “I have been geographically removed from Kashmir since 1998, but not emotionally or psychologically. Working on this book helped me to reconnect to my roots,” Khan said.  

Khan wants readers to understand the complexity of the Kashmir issue. Khan says she gets students that have not even heard of Kashmir. “I would like to make people aware of how complex it is— and how important a resolution is,” she said.

Khan’s book is now available in the UNK library and online. It will be reprinted in the United States in the next couple of months and will be more accessible.

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