In this talk, Dr. Hafsa Kanjwal discusses her new book Colonizing Kashmir: State-Building Under Indian Occupation. The book interrogates how Kashmir was made “integral” to India through a study of the decade long rule (1953-1963) of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, the second Prime Minister of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Drawing upon a wide array of bureaucratic documents, propaganda materials, memoirs, literary sources, and oral interviews in English, Urdu, and Kashmiri, Kanjwal examines the intentions, tensions, and unintended consequences of Bakshi’s state-building policies in the context of India’s colonial occupation. She reveals how the Kashmir government tailored its policies to integrate Kashmir’s Muslims while also showing how these policies were marked by inter-religious tension, corruption, and political repression. Challenging the binaries of colonial and postcolonial, Kanjwal historicizes India’s occupation of Kashmir through processes of emotional integration, development, normalization, and empowerment to highlight the new hierarchies of power and domination that emerged in the aftermath of decolonization. In doing so, she urges us to question triumphalist narratives of India’s state-formation, as well as the sovereignty claims of the modern nation-state.
Hafsa Kanjwal is an assistant professor of South Asian History in the Department of History at Lafayette College where she teaches courses on the history of the modern world, South Asian history, and Islam in the Modern World. As a historian of modern Kashmir, she is the author of Colonizing Kashmir: State-building Under Indian Occupation (Stanford University Press, 2023), which examines how the Indian and Kashmir governments utilized state-building to entrench India’s colonial occupation of Kashmir in the aftermath of Partition.
Hafsa has written and spoken on her research for a variety of news outlets including The Washington Post, Al Jazeera English, and the BBC. She received her Ph.D. in History and Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan.