David Devadas. 2018. The Generation of Rage in Kashmir

AuthorSyed Eesar Mehdi
Date01 August 2019
Published date01 August 2019
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 225
David Devadas. 2018. The Generation of Rage in Kashmir. New Delhi:
Oxford University Press, pp. 223, ISBN: 9780199477999.
DOI: 10.1177/2347797019842720
The state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has been the focus of the enduring rivalry
between India and Pakistan. So far, the colossal amount of literature written on
militancy in Kashmir has emphasised the role of Pakistan in the conflict, typically
holding it solely responsible for violence and unrest. However, David Devadas’s
The Generation of Rage in Kashmir tries to go beyond this understanding of the
Kashmir conflict by looking at the causes behind the fresh wave of militancy. It is
exactly in this context that the book is a valuable addition to the existing literature.
The book is neatly divided into 11 chapters which are coherently interlinked
with the common theme being the alienation of youth throughout the conflict.
One major problem with the book is the continuous repetition of its main
arguments in almost every chapter. Nevertheless, the book raises many pertinent
questions. The core questions that it seeks to answer include why did the
counterinsurgency operations not stop even after the decline of militancy around
2004? What is the nexus between conflict economy and counterinsurgency
apparatus? How has the continuous humiliation of Kashmiri youth given rise to
this new wave of militancy?
Devadas argues a leading cause of the Kashmir unrest is that the Indian state
continued its counterinsurgency operations in Kashmir after 2004, when militancy
had reached its lowest ebb, illustrating their blindness to the many changes that
were seeping out. This blindness was fourfold: First, the Indian Central
Government did not recognise that the insurgency that started in 1989 had
effectively ended with a noticeable drop both in quality of militant’s appeal and in
quantity of their operations. Second, they failed to see the generational change
taking shape in Kashmir. Third, the Indian government did not recognise that the
aspirations of this new generation were to settle down peacefully and seek
economic opportunities. Finally, they failed to see this generation was willing to
search for a dignified life with no sense of fear (p. 10). Despite the aspirations of
this new Kashmiri generation, by 2007, the continuous humiliation and witch-
hunting by the Indian Armed Forces and the local police created a deep sense of
rage within the youth. The protests of 2008 and 2010 were clear markers of that
collective anger against the state. In fact, anti-Indian sentiment was the common
denominator to these protests ‘nurtured by sense of being wronged, past and
continuing human rights violations and a forbidding military presence in the
valley’ (Mattoo & Roy, 2011, pp. 54–58).
However, Indian intelligentsia blithely considered these protests as the
continuation of the early insurgency and assumed a concealed connection to
Pakistan in fuelling these protests. In reality, the 2008 and 2010 protests were
peaceful and exclusively against the killings of innocents (p. 35). This was the
early stage, and people were still accepting the legitimacy of armed forces against
militants by staying away from the encounters between army and the militants. It
was only in 2016, after the killing of Burhan Wani, a Hizbul Mujahideen

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