Imagining Kashmir: Emplotment and Colonialism

By Patrick Colm Hogan | Go to book overview

6
Fractured Tales and Colonial Traumas
Disfigured Stories in Kashmiri Short Fiction

Though it may not be clear from the preceding analyses, the most important narrative prototype for Kashmir, after the heroic, is the sacrificial. As noted in the introduction to this book, the sacrificial narrative—with its depiction of seduction, then sin, leading to in-group devastation—tends to become prominent in nationalism when the condition of the home society is so weak (or devastated) that it precludes the possibility of any full military confrontation of the heroic type. The subnational predominance of heroic and sacrificial emplotments is consistent with findings in political psychology. Specifically, research “suggests two emotional routes to protest.” The first is “an anger route” linked with a sense of “efficacy.” The second involves a “‘nothing to lose’ strategy” when “the situation is seen as hopeless” (Klandermans and Van Stekelenburg 785). The former correlates with the heroic emplotment; the latter, with the sacrificial emplotment.

More precisely, in nationalist contexts, the sacrificial narrative tends to be integrated into a more extended heroic emplotment. The sacrifice—either of the guilty parties or of an innocent victim—is what enables the struggle to advance toward a heroic confrontation. This is a component in some Indian narratives—for example, the story of Mohd Maqbool Sherwani, who sacrificed his life in the 1947 conflict, thereby allowing the Indian Army to arrive and partially defeat the Pakistanbacked uprising and invasion. A relatively recent version of “the martyrdom of Sherwani” may be found in a 2005 Times of India story by Rahul Singh, “Who Changed the Face of ’47 War?” (For a literary treatment of these events, see Anand’s Death of a Hero; on the historical facts of the case, see Whitehead 213–14.)

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