New book on Kashmir goes beyond conflict

Titled "Kashmir", the book written by Historian Chitralekha Zutshi is part of the Oxford India's short introduction series.

Not limiting Kashmir to a "zone of conflict", a new book throws light on the rich history of the valley, describing it as a "sacred space", "princely state", "nation", "secular symbol" and more.

Titled "Kashmir", the book written by Historian Chitralekha Zutshi is part of the Oxford India's short introduction series.

Rendered in evocative and lucid prose, the book, according to the author, talks about Kashmir as a "geographic entity as well as a composite of multiple ideas".

"It highlights not just how Kashmir was defined in particular periods, but also why and by whom.

"In the process, it brings to light the ever-changing and yet interconnected political and religious institutions and ideologies, literary traditions, and social classes that shaped the history of this region," reads the introduction of the book.

Comprising of only seven chapters, according to the publishers, the intention behind this short book is to untangle the "complex issue of Kashmir".

They noted that since 1947-48, when India and Pakistan fought their first war over Kashmir, the region has been reduced to an "endlessly disputed territory".  

"... the people of this region and its rich history are often forgotten. This short introduction untangles the complex issue of Kashmir to help readers understand not just its past, present, and future, but also the sources of the existing misconceptions about it," it added.

Presently a History Professor at the College of William & Mary, in the USA, Zutshi's earlier books include "Kashmir: History, Politics, Representation" (2018); "Kashmir's Contested Pasts: Narratives, Sacred Geographies, and the Historical Imagination" (2014). 

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