Imagining Kashmir: Emplotment and Colonialism

By Patrick Colm Hogan | Go to book overview

3
Breaching the Ideological Bound aries
Three Films Not (Apparently) about Kashmir

Direct and Indirect Reference

Up to this point, we have been considering direct representations of Kashmir—or, more precisely, fictions that explicitly identify their fictional locale with the real place, Kashmir. In such cases, readers or viewers tend to assume a high level of continuity between the fictional world and the real world. Indeed, they tend to assume that virtually all general conditions are continuous—the same laws, political relations, social conditions, and so on. Moreover, they tend to assume a “type identity” even for fictional particulars. Thus readers and viewers are likely to assume that the same sorts of things occur in Kashmir as occur in the story, even if the particular story events did not occur. In other words, readers or viewers tend to assume fairly extensive identity except in cases where they are given some clear signal to the contrary. (In keeping with this, Prentice and Gerrig point out that reading fiction can have significant effects on our beliefs about and attitudes toward the real world [530–31].)

Direct and explicit reference is, of course, the most obvious way for a fictional work to treat Kashmir. But it is no less possible for a work to address conditions in Kashmir indirectly and inexplicitly. In these cases, our assumptions are very different. Suppose a work presents itself as addressing Gulistan. However, we infer that it is, in some way, at some level, dealing with Kashmir. We do not, in that case, necessarily assume that conditions in the fictional Gulistan are continuous with those in Kashmir; nor do we necessarily assume that events in Gulistan are type identical with events in Kashmir. Put differently, the default is not continuity, with discontinuity necessarily signaled.

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