Through a brief yet meticulous study of Kashmiri history, particularly grounded in the different dealings that outsiders have had with a Kashmiri population, Arsilan Aziz presents this paper recounting how Kashmir began to figure in foreign imaginations through the optics of a peculiar orientalism. It was one that primarily targeted Kashmiri Muslims and maintained the one quality that makes orientalism what it is: the capacity to spread, through a genealogy of knowledge and power employed to caricature and characterize a dispossessed peoples, to then be passed on from generation to generation in non-linear ways in an attempt to maintain a lineage of power and supremacy. Aziz takes readers through carefully cited texts to validate his points while also referencing the work of notable scholars who have written about the portrayal of Kashmiris, and particularly Muslims, through that peculiar and abhorrent orientalist gaze. In doing so, Aziz unveils the manner in which such orientalist approaches to Kashmir manifest in contemporary times in mainstream Indian media, while remaining unchecked and unquestioned.
Orientalism, Kashmir and Islam — by Arsilan Aziz