On 5 August 2019, the status of Jammu and Kashmir was altered by revoking Articles 370 and 35A, constitutional clauses that gave the region a sliver of autonomy since its accession to India in 1947. On the ground in the erstwhile state, the destiny of 1.4 crore Indian citizens had been decided while they were cocooned in their homes, trapped between concertina wires and barricades. Petitions challenging the abrogation are yet to be heard by the Supreme Court.
The home minister announced, 'Not a drop of blood was shed', even as officials defined Kashmir's deafening silence as 'willing acceptance'. The silence was accompanied by increased military presence in what was already one of the most militarized zones of the world. Roads were sealed, the internet suspended and communication brought to a halt. Kashmir became a war zone in the dead of night.
A Dismantled State is a brave chronicle by Anuradha Bhasin, one of Kashmir's foremost journalists, and is crucial to understanding what happened in the Kashmir Valley after August 2019. Traversing history and geographies, and based on eyewitness accounts from a range of people, it tells the story of a land India desperately wants to make its own. Urgent, fearless and revealing, this book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand Indian democracy's turn towards authoritarianism.
About the Author
Anuradha Bhasin has been a journalist for over three decades, and is executive editor of Kashmir Times, Jammu and Kashmir's oldest English daily. Her massive body of work on the Kashmir conflict, human rights and politics includes newspaper reports and articles that have appeared in national and international publications. She has also written short and monograph-length research papers and contributed chapters to anthologies. She is a Commonwealth Fellow, 2016, and currently a John S. Knight fellow (2022-2023) at Stanford University, California.