Peace, tourism and political games in Kashmir

While praise is heaped on tourism, its actual contribution to Kashmir’s economy is unknown [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera  – Opinion – Al Jazeera English]

For a second summer in a row, the Indian establishment and media are agog with Kashmir’s bumper tourism season.

The heavy inflow of tourists, after a gap of 23 years, when India had practically sealed off Kashmir to the outside world, is interpreted as a loss of popular appetite in Kashmir for dissident politics. The constant refrain is that the Kashmiri dissidents, who don’t accept Kashmir’s union with India as final, no longer command the popular support they did a couple of years back. The inability of the dissident leaders to mobilise Kashmiris on the scale as in 2008 and 2010, when hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris rose up against Indian rule, defying severe clampdowns, braving bullets and teargas canisters, is also portrayed as a sign of the transforming political climate in Kashmir.

Peace, tourism and political games in Kashmir – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

One response to “Peace, tourism and political games in Kashmir

  1. 'Blood and Tourism in Kashmir'

    “Tourism is in my blood,” he told me, “We are boat people.”

    – Kashmiri tour guide, Yasir Iqbal

    By Mehboob Jeelani – Fall 2013

    Last summer, during an overnight bus trip from New Delhi to Srinagar—the summer capital of the Indian-controlled state of Jammu and Kashmir—I met a young man, with non-branded aviator sunglasses perched on his head, accompanied by two Canadian male backpackers about his age. He responded to the questions of his traveling companions in English with a mix of British and American accents. “You’ll love this journey,” he assured them. “You are going to heaven.”

    He gave them two bottles of mineral water and some biscuits before retiring on a seat beside me. The bus was crammed with people from across North India: Punjabis, Biharis, and a handful of Kashmiris. As we drove out of Delhi, the man with the aviators tapped me on my shoulder. He asked me in Hindi if I was interested in trading my window seat for his aisle seat. I declined curtly …

    Quotes from Blood and Tourism in Kashmir

    In return he offered a handshake. He switched to Kashmiri. “Are you Kashmiri?” he asked me.“ Your accent sounds Kashmiri.”

    The Indian security establishment came down heavily on the citizenry, turning a land often called “heaven on earth” into the world’s most militarized zone, with a ratio of one Indian soldier to every ten civilians. Those who survived on tourism ate their savings and scraped together different work.


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