chapter  5
Kashmir’s Agony
WithPhillips Talbot
Pages 20

The long-smoldering unhappiness of Kashmiri Muslims with Indian rule exploded into widespread violence in 1990, producing an intense challenge to New Delhi's authority. Insurgent activists and their supporters in the Valley of Kashmir mounted mass demonstrations, strikes, arson attacks, kidnappings, and assassinations. To a considerable portion of Kashmir's tiny but traditionally influential community of Hindu Brahmans, the year brought the misery of migration: tens of thousands of Hindu families fled from the valley to safer locations in neighboring Jammu, Punjab, or Delhi. The mile-high Kashmir Valley is a small corner of the world for turbulence with such broad ramifications. Despite the international complexities of the three nations' claims in the state, the events of 1990 demonstrated how many of the Kashmir Valley's troubles stem from conditions within the valley. From pre-Muslim times onward, Kashmiri Pandits have made outstanding achievements in scholarship, literary pursuits, the law, and service to a long succession of ruling houses.