A young lawyer recently said: “if Kashmir is a litmus test of Indian democracy, it is also the harbinger of what is to come for all of us citizens of India. Kashmir is in many ways the litmus test of Indian democracy”. That comment became the last sentence of the just released report on human rights in Jammu and Kashmir, co-authored by Dr Radha Kumar.
This Talk will discuss the various facets of the Kashmir issue, the acts of omission and commission by various governments, and the resulting situation on the ground, viewed in the context of the current changes to India’s democracy, which some are now calling the Second Republic. Dr. Kumar asks whether there will be any place for federalism in this republic, and whether India is moving towards a (notional) national security state in which the rights to identity and dissent will be permanently curbed.
Dr Radha Kumar, Activist & Author
Radha Kumar is former Director General of the Delhi Policy Group and a specialist on peace and security. Earlier Director of the Mandela Centre for Peace at Jamia Millia Islamia University (2005-10), Dr. Kumar was also Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York (1999-2003), Associate Fellow at the Institute for War and Peace Studies at Columbia University (1996-8) and Executive Director of the Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly in Prague (1992-4). She has served on the boards of the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Foundation for Communal Harmony and is currently member of the United Nations University Council (which she chaired from 2016-19), and Board member of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
She was a member of the three-person Group of Interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir appointed by the Government of India (2010-11), who prepared the report titled A New Compact for Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr. Kumar’s latest books are Paradise at War: A Political History of Kashmir (Aleph: 2018) and A Gender Atlas of India (Sage: 2018).