Kashmir has remained a central component of how, following the Partition of the South Asian subcontinent, both India and Pakistan have imagined themselves. On television debates in Delhi and Islamabad, over trade meetings in Karachi and Mumbai, the future of Kashmiris has been discussed and argued for more than seven decades. Yet, there is a conspicuous absence of a Kashmiri presence within these debates and a staggering inability to transcend the political to think about azadi in cultural, religious, or economic terms. Soch will explore what exactly it means to find what poet Agha Shahid Ali called “The Country Without a Post Office,” allowing for an honest imagining of Kashmir that goes beyond its relationship to the nations surrounding it.
Nyla Ali Khan
Author, Visiting Professor at the University of Oklahoma
Dr. Nyla Ali Khan is the author of three critically acclaimed books : The Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism, in which she critiques the nostalgic support of subversive elements by the affluent diaspora from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In her second book, Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan, she examine the seminal spiritual and political role of women in Kashmir, while also highlighting the plight of Kashmir generally as a gnarled bone of contention between India and Pakistan. This monograph is now used as a teaching text in several universities because of the growing interest in Kashmir. Most recently she have edited a major anthology, The Parchment of Kashmir: History, Society, and Polity, which develops an unparalleled understanding of the region’s culture, resilience and fate as political pawn. Several reviews of the anthology have appeared in academic journals. Her fourth book, which is a hybrid form of academic memoir and biography, on her maternal grandmother, Begum Akbar Jehan Abdullah, was released in June 2014 and is critically acclaimed as well. She visits Kashmir frequently and have recently been active in giving lectures on the subject on Kashmir at universities in Oregon, Maryland, California, Washington DC, and New York. Nyla's goal is to engage in reflective action as an educator working with diverse cultural and social groups questioning the exclusivity of cultural nationalism, the erosion of cultural syncretism, the ever-increasing dominance of religious fundamentalism, and the irrational resistance to cultural and linguistic differences. Nyla was recently made a member of the Advisory Council of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women . Nyla Ali Khan has served as an guest editor working on articles from the Jammu and Kashmir region for Oxford University Press (New York), helping to identify, commission, and review articles. She also has contributed a featured article highlighting the history of the Quit Kashmir movement.Nyla is a Visiting Professor at the University of Oklahoma and former professor at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. She is the author of two books, including The Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism and Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between Indian and Pakistan, and several articles that focus heavily on the political issues and strife of her homeland, Jammu and Kashmir. Despite being the granddaughter of Sheikh Abdullah, Nyla Khan prefers not simply to live in his shadow but to "stand up for myself and be taken seriously express my anger without being labeled an 'Islamic militant' legitimately question things I don't understand", as she stated in a 2010 interview related to the release of her second book.