Kashmir and the battle for the borders of international law

Sen, Rohini (2021) Kashmir and the battle for the borders of international law. NALSAR Student Law Review, 15. pp. 92-126. ISSN 09750216

[thumbnail of NSLR2021.pdf]
NSLR2021.pdf - Published Version

Download (810kB) | Preview


Modern statehood is an act of erasure and a product of colonial boundary making. Here, law and artificial frontiers come together to create a disembodied sense of belonging through ideas of territorial sovereignty and citizenship. International law is inseparable from this territorial statehood and subsequently locates its own borders in abstract ideas of security, development and containment of territory – systematically erasing memories, polity and communities of precolonial forms and colonized spaces. In this strange inheritance of territorial borders, post-colonial states as mirrors of colonial ‘othering’ also assert themselves in ways where land is continually acquired and controlled at the expense of its most significant stakeholder – the people. While a conversation on statehood and borders is not new in international law, contrary to its conventional framing, I urge that these continuities suggest a different discussion from the ones we lock ourselves in. There are concerns with territoriality itself, as opposed to territorial concerns in the international law sense.

To do this, I engage with Kashmir as a site of legal unpacking and a challenge to modern (territorial) statehood where Kashmir becomes relevant for three reasons. First, its stale topicality renders it necessary to resist the normalization of this state of exception and violence. Second, it is one of the most complex manifestations of competing identarian and relational claims, enmeshed and disguised in a limited notion of territoriality and terrain. And third, located in Kashmir is the expression of citizenship as an extension of the statehood idiom where the vision of citizens as economic agents is disrupted by the systematic refusal of Kashmiris to unquestioningly accept this mandate. A form of double ‘othering’ occurs where the ‘unproductive’, un-citizen is also a Muslim un-citizen. In this context, I find myself asking the following questions - what does/should an endorsement of the right of self determination mean in international law for a nation which is ‘stateless’”? And where can we go from here in a way where the lay of the land is not forced into the myth of violent territoriality once again? This paper is an attempt to problematize territoriality and allow ourselves to critically imagine a relocation of Kashmiri land to where it truly belongs – in the people.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Kashmir |
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Mr. Syed Anas
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2022 09:56
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2022 10:05
Official URL: https://nslr.in/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Vol-XV-...
URI: https://pure.jgu.edu.in/id/eprint/1401


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item