The Crisis in Kashmir: Portents of War, Hopes of Peace

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The Crisis in Kashmir: Portents of War, Hopes of Peace

By Sumit Ganguly
Cambridge University Press, 1997
182 pp. $49.95

This volume represents social science at its best. It is a detailed case study of the Kashmiri insurgency, in which India has deployed 400,000 troops, 15,000 people have died, and 200,000 have become refugees. The book is based on extensive interviews with government officials, Kashmiri activists, journalists, and military personnel -- all against the background of an interesting theory as to why a full-blown popular insurgency emerged when it did. Ganguly's central argument is that the timing of the insurgency can be explained by the linked processes of political mobilization and institutional decay. In an attempt to woo the citizens of Kashmir, the national government in New Delhi dramatically helped expand literacy, mass media, and higher education, which produced a generation of politically sophisticated Kashmiris. At the same time, however, the national government, fearful of secessionism, also stultified the development of Kashmiri political institutions. The volume concludes with some sensible recommendations for moving toward a resolution of the crisis.

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