Andrew Whitehead talks on ‘New Kashmir’ at Central University

Andrew Whitehead talks on ‘New Kashmir’ at Central University

Nazima Sidiq
SRINAGAR: Former BBC India correspondent and honorary professor at the University of Nottingham Dr. Andrew Whitehead delivered a talk on “The Rise and Fall of New Kashmir” at Central University of Kashmir.
Known for his comprehensive reportage of Kashmir in 1990s for BBC, Whitehead is the author of acclaimed book ‘A Mission in Kashmir’.  The special lecture, was organised by department of Convergent Journalism in collaboration with the department of Politics & Governance.
In his talk, Dr Whitehead deliberated on the new Kashmir document in detail and how Kashmir nationalism was influenced by Stalin’s Constitution for Soviet Union.
He also talked about the manner in which Indian and Kashmir nationalisms “intertwined and diverged”.
He talked about the emergence of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah as a popular leader and some of the important political development in 1947-48 which shaped the course of events in coming year.
On October 27 1947, Whitehead said, when the first Indian troopers landed in the valley, they came with the keen support of the leading Kashmir political figure, Sheikh Abdullah, a Kashmiri nationalist who at that was also an Indian nationalist.    He supported and organised voluntary force to support Indian troopers in repelling force of Pakistani tribe men, he said. Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mehraj-ud-din Mir was the chief guest on the occasion said that Dr Whitehead raised many important issues regarding the political history of Kashmir.
“History of Kashmir has witnessed many ups and downs resulting in confusion, crisis and miseries. Kashmir has its own identity. It was known as a nation much before India and Pakistan came into existence,” Prof Mir said.
Some students hearing the lecture remarked that the speaker limited himself to history. “It was a good to listen to such an experienced person, but I didn’t   find it much informative as as he mostly spoke about recorded history,” a student wishing not to be named said.
“There was nothing new in it and he didn’t relate to the present situation of Kashmir conflict in lieu of Kashmir history and future political discourse.”

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