The Conflict in Kashmir
Sumantra Bose

Seminar Introduction

Amidst the tumult of the independence and the partition of India in 1947, Hari Singh, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, committed what has been labelled as one of the most
Kashmir map
University of Texas Library/CIA
controversial political acts of the twentieth century. He handed over control of the coveted kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir to India, despite Pakistani protests and calls for a referendum that would allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide whether they would rather accede to India or the newly created Pakistan. The conflict in Kashmir is one of the bitterest legacies of the partition of India.

Over half a century later, there is no sign of an end to this dense and complicated dispute. A series of wars and ongoing guerrilla operations have ensured that Jammu and Kashmir has remained one of the most volatile and bloody regions of the world. Further demands and new conflicts have added twisted complications to an argument that has not been resolved.  

In this seminar, Sumantra Bose provides a uniquely clear and balanced introduction to the origins of the conflict, the major issues at stake, the players in the saga and the possibility of resolution. In an era when ethnic conflicts seem to be erupting throughout the world, an understanding of the specificity of Kashmir provides an illuminating and thought-provoking comparison. This seminar has been updated to include a consideration of events in Kashmir since the events of 11 September 2001, and the impact of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on the balance of power in Kashmir.


  • Session 1 The Origins of the Conflict
  • Session 2 The Players in the Conflict
  • Session 3 Geography, Politics and the Fighters of Kashmir: An Eyewitness Account
  • Session 4 Exploring Peace in Kashmir
  • Session 5 Beyond September 11: War and Peace in Kashmir
  • Session 6 Glossary Terms
Learning Objectives:
  • Describe the particular historical origins of the conflict in Kashmir.
  • Compare and contrast the competing maximalist claims for total ownership of Kashmir.
  • List and identify the various players in the conflict and their political and military aims.
  • Explain the ethnic, religious, geographic and linguistic divisions that serve to complicate loyalties within the conflict in Kashmir.
  • Give an account of the latest movements towards cease-fire and peace in Kashmir.
  • List the possible solutions to the conflict in Kashmir and identify the problems facing each of these possibilities.
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