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No place for 'Kashmiri' in Kashmiri Nationalism

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  • Idreas Khandy
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/01/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Nations and Nationalism
Issue number1
Volume27
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)260-278
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date3/08/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Language is often taken as a primary differentiating factor between people as it functions as a vehicle of cultural expression, thus becoming one of the primary markers of identity. In the history of nationalism, language has always enjoyed a privileged position. Not only had the German Romantics such as Herder and Fichte held language as the fundamental characteristic of a nation, but modernist scholars such as Anderson, too, have given language a central place in their respective assessments of nationalism. In Anderson's analysis, ‘languages of power’ enable an imagined community to become real. However, are all nationalisms glotto‐centric? If not, why not? This article takes the case of Kashmiri nationalism, or the Tehreek, to demonstrate that language and nationalism are not necessarily codependent. The paper will first explain why Kashmiri never came to become a language of power in the region and how the disadvantaged position of the Kashmiri language precludes/d it from having any significant role in Kashmiri nationalism. Second, the paper argues that the multilingualism of Kashmiris has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Tehreek and allowed Kashmiri nationalism to assert its civic character.