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Jammu and Kashmir

Kashmiriyat as Empty Signifier

Neil Aggarwal
Taylor and Francis Online

Abstract: The disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir represents the unfinished business of the Partition of India and Pakistan. This essay examines how claims to Kashmir by India, Pakistan, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and the Kashmiri Pandits influence usage of the term ‘Kashmiriyat’ (i.e. the ethos of being Kashmiri). The term is frequently invoked with inconsistent meaning. Kashmiriyat is analysed, through linguistic and semiotic theories of the ‘empty signifier’, to identify which groups are present and absent within sociopolitical discourses.