Imagining Kashmir: Emplotment and Colonialism

By Patrick Colm Hogan | Go to book overview

4
Kashmiri Alternatives
Rival Ideologies in Three Anglophone Novels

Up to this point, we have largely set aside the observations and attitudes of Kashmiris themselves, except insofar as these figure in polling data and the like. We began our examination of Kashmir with Salman Rushdie’s novel Shalimar the Clown. Though of Kashmiri ancestry, Rushdie was born and raised outside Kashmir. After that, we have focused on film. Again, it is valuable to consider film since dominant political ideology is formed and disseminated to a great extent through mass media. In keeping with this, the collaborative nature of film production makes it likely that individual idiosyncrasy of expression and representation will be lessened. The possibility of individual dissent from dominant views may be particularly significant when it comes to the representation of Kashmir by Kashmiris. The point is perhaps most obvious with respect to Muslim and separatist views. But even Kashmiri Hindus who largely share the dominant anti-Pakistan ideology are likely to present Kashmiri life and Kashmiri people differently from non-Kashmiris, if for no other reason than the fact that “Kashmiri” is a possible identity category for them. On the other hand, it is important not to romanticize the “subaltern voice,” as it is sometimes called, assuming that Kashmiris will necessarily be, so to speak, ideology free. In fact, Kashmiris, too, are affected by distortive ideologies, whether the politically dominant (colonial) ideology of the Indian government or the parallel (anticolonial) ideologies of the Kashmiri nationalists—or Pakistani (colonial) ideology, or some combination of these.

This chapter turns from largely non-Kashmiri films to Kashmiri novels. It begins with a transitional case, much as chapter 3 ended with a transitional case (a film written, directed, and produced by someone raised in Kashmir): a graphic novel, which is partially written by a

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