Seeking Solomon’s Wisdom: Reflections of a Daughter of Kashmir from the Land of Oklahoma

This generation of Kashmiris is war-weary, embittered, and despondent.

I would venture to say that we crave a world in which social justice, political enfranchisement, cultural pride, and self-realization are the order of the day.

I yearn for a world in which the living tradition of legends, myths, fables of yore, is resuscitated, reviving the imaginative life of Kashmir.

Myths and legends have, historically, been the collective expression of a people’s identity, enabling them to voice their cultural reality.

The recuperation of a culture, the reinvigoration of Kashmir’s rich heritage, and the revival of Kashmir’s mythos, might not heal the greatly mauled body politic overnight, but it would certainly provide a much needed step in the right direction.

In the greatly circumscribed “narrative public space” of contemporary Kashmir, folklorists and storytellers don’t enjoy the free rein that they did years ago, which is why multigenre and layered narratives would provide a much needed breath of fresh air.

Also, Jammu and Kashmir is a conglomerate in which regional, communal, and ethnic divides have been exacerbated in the wake of the recent happenings in the state.

I emphasize that these seemingly unbridgeable chasms underline the need for interdisciplinary academic interventions that seek to bridge the divide between the three parts of the state as well as explore historical linkages with parts of the state in Pakistan.

Nyla Ali Khan is the author of Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism, Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir, The Life of a Kashmiri Woman, and the editor of The Parchment of Kashmir. Nyla Ali Khan has also served as an guest editor working on articles from the Jammu and Kashmir region for Oxford University Press (New York), helping to identify, commission, and review articles. She can be reached at nylakhan@aol.com.

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