Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris is a new book authored by Dr. Christopher Snedden. It provides a comprehensive, informed and even-handed narrative of the Kashmir dispute for a generalist audience. The seemingly intractable Kashmir dispute and the fate of the Kashmiris throughout South Asia and beyond are the twin themes in Snedden’s book.
In 1846, the British created the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) — popularly called ‘Kashmir’ — and then quickly sold this prized region to the powerful local raja (ruler), Gulab Singh. Intriguingly, had they retained it, the India-Pakistan dispute over possession of the state may never have arisen, but Britain’s concerns lay elsewhere –– expansionist Russia, beguiling Tibet and unstable China ‘circling’ J&K –– and their agents played the ‘Great Game’ in Afghanistan and ‘Turkistan’.
In his book, Snedden contextualizes the geo-strategic and historical circumstances surrounding the British decision to relinquish prestigious ‘Kashmir’, and explains how they and four Dogra maharajas consolidated and controlled J&K subsequently. He details what comprised this diverse princely state with distant borders and disunified peoples and explains the Maharaja of J&K’s controversial accession to India on 26 October 1947 — and its unintended consequences.
Snedden weaves a compelling narrative that frames the Kashmir dispute, explains why it continues, and assesses what it means politically and administratively for the divided peoples of J&K and their undecided futures.
The views expressed in this book are the authors’ and not necessarily the views of APCSS, U.S. Pacific Command or the U.S. Government.
About the Author
Dr. Christopher Snedden is an Australian politico-strategic analyst, author and academic specializing in South Asia. He has worked with government, business and universities in Australia and overseas. Currently, he is a professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu, Hawaii. He has visited J&K frequently to undertake research and has interviewed many elder statesmen involved in the Kashmir dispute.