Independent Kashmir

An incomplete aspiration

By Christopher Snedden

Independent Kashmir


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5614-3
  • Pages: 456
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £30.00
  • Published Date: June 2021
  • BIC Category: Kashmiri, Indian sub-continent, Islamic Countries, Society & social sciences / Nationalism, Regional & National History, HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia, LAW / Islamic, RELIGION / Islam / History, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom, Anthropology


Many disenchanted Kashmiris continue to demand independence or freedom from India. Written by a leading authority on Kashmir's troubled past, this book revisits the topic of independence for the region (also known as Jammu and Kashmir, or J&K), and explores exactly why this aspiration has never been fulfilled. In a rare India-Pakistan agreement, they concur that neither J&K, nor any part of it, can be independent.

Charting a complex history and intense geo-political rivalry from Maharaja Hari Singh's leadership in the mid-1920s to the present, this book offers an essential insight into the disputes that have shaped the region. As tensions continue to rise following government-imposed COVID-19 lockdowns, Snedden asks a vital question: what might independence look like and just how realistic is this aspiration?


'Christopher Snedden's lucidly written and well-researched book engages with the fraught question of the Kashmiri demand for independence for and over which so many have died over the decades. He traces its history, what it has meant to the various parties involved in defining, enabling and thwarting it, and is clear-eyed in presenting both the possibilities and impediments to its realization. The conclusions Snedden reaches may not please everyone but will certainly provoke thought and, in prompting debate, will ensure the question is not closed and forgotten about.'
Mridu Rai, Professor of History, Presidency University, Kolkata

'In a work that is bound to be fiercely debated, Snedden undertakes a challenging journey through the complexities of Kashmiri identity, the elusive concept of "azadi," and the uncertainties surrounding the combination of the two.'
Rajesh Basrur, Visiting Professor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and author of Rising India: Status and Power

'A thought-provoking exploration of Kashmiris' aspirations for independence (in different forms) over time, of the historic circumstances that helped to create this situation and of the one thing on which India and Pakistan agree - that it must not happen.'
Gareth Price, Senior Research Fellow, Chatham House

'A masterly account of the demand for independence in the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Drawing upon extensive primary sources, Christopher Snedden explains how the struggle - rooted primarily in the Kashmir valley - originated centuries ago because of the region's unique location and cultural history, and why it remains a mirage.'
Victoria Schofield, biographer, historian, author of Kashmir in Conflict, India, Pakistan and the Unending War


1 Decolonisation and the departure of the British from India
2 Maharaja Hari Singh and his accession issue
3 The significance of Kashmir and Kashmiri identity in J&K
4 The rise of Kashmiri aspirations, 1924-47
5 Sheikh Abdullah's pursuit of independence for 'Kashmir', 1946-53
6 Sheikh Abdullah's pursuit of independence for 'Kashmir', post-1953
7 Kashmiris and independence since 1988
Conclusion: to be independent, or not to be independent? That is the question
Appendix I: Comparison of Jammu and Kashmir with other entities
Appendix II: Kashmir Valley Muslims in J&K and their numerical dominance
Appendix III: Border or territorial changes, actual or attempted, in South Asia since 15 August 1947


Christopher Snedden is an Australian political scientist, politico-strategic analyst, academic researcher and author

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