Amar Sohal, 'Pure Kashmir: Nature in the Political Thought of Sheikh Abdullah, Muhammad Iqbal and Jawaharlal Nehru'
17 May 16:00
Oxford South Asian Intellectual History Seminar
Venue: Online - Zoom
Speaker(s): Amar Sohal (University of Cambridge)
Chair: Zobia Haq
Bringing political thought to bear upon one of the world’s most pressing geopolitical problems, this paper explores Kashmiri engagements with nature and how these served late colonial attempts to concurrently champion two nations: ethno-linguistic and almost homogenous Kashmir, and heterogenous but organic India. Disconnected from human endeavour and, therefore, astonishingly unreliant on other ideas to define Kashmir’s distinctiveness, the idea of natural purity had something in common with the earlier New World nationalisms of colonial white settlers who sought to remake conquered lands. But since Kashmiris had long resisted what they saw as the theft of their beautiful land by more powerful, envious outsiders, how far was it possible for their twentieth-century thinkers to integrate this disruptive idea of an inhuman nature into an otherwise historicised sense of nationhood?
Amar Sohal is an Early-Career Research Fellow in Politics and International Studies at Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge. His doctoral research, at Merton College, University of Oxford, explored the political ideas of Abul Kalam Azad, Sheikh Abdullah, and Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and argued for the presence of a distinct Muslim secularity within the grander intellectual family of twentieth-century Indian secular nationalism. He is currently revising this dissertation for a monograph.