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This panel will bring together Kashmiri women scholars who will share their perspectives on identity, nationalism, gender and womanhood from their work.

Indian-controlled Kashmir is one of the longest-running international disputes, with violence taking place every day. Women and issues affecting primarily women are relegated to secondary positions in such conflict zones and wars, even though women are an integral part of polities and societies.

This event is open to all students and staff at the University of Westminster, as well as the members of the public. Email [email protected] to book a place.


Bi Bi Ishrat Hassan is a PhD scholar in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Ishrat’s research study is aimed at documenting the narratives of Muslim women from the scenic but conflict-ravaged Kashmir, who embody an intersection of multiple beleaguered and marginalised identities by being women, Muslim and  Kashmiri. She insists on choosing her identity rather than letting an orientalist or nationalist discourse dictate an identity for her.

Asiya Zahoor teaches English Literature at Baramulla Degree College, Kashmir. She is currently on a University Grants Commission fellowship doing research into the literature of Kashmir. In 2008, Asiya received a St Hilda’s Research Grant to study Psycholinguistics at the University of Oxford. Prior to that, she studied Caribbean literature at the University of Kashmir.

Asiya has authored two books, Language and Migration: investigating Psycholinguistic Processes (Published in 2010 by VDM, Germany) and Diaspora and Caribbean Aesthetics (2011 by Lambert Publications, UK). Asiya has made two films and has curated a website to help preserve the languages and literature of Kashmir.

Discussant: Mantasha Binti Rashid has been engaged in Kashmir through multiple ways: by writing about social issues for local newspapers, hosting TV shows about youth engagement, working for non-governmental organisations in Kashmir and Delhi and then serving as Undersecretary in the state government.

Upon receiving a Fulbright Fellowship (2014) in America, she completed her second Masters in Gender and Policy and is currently pursuing her PhD on Women and Kashmir. She works on and practices Intersectional Feminism and has started Kashmir Women’s Collective with the aim of creating strong feminist voices in the valley of Kashmir.

Chair: Dr Nitasha Kaul is a novelist, academic, poet, economist, and artist. Her novel Residue (Rainlight, 2014), shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize, deals with themes of (Kashmiri) identity, nation-state borders, and absence. Her first book was a scholarly monograph on economics and philosophy titled Imagining Economics Otherwise: Encounters with Identity/Difference (Routledge, 2007).

Currently, she teaches in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster. She continues to write and speak on issues of democracy, political economy, neoliberalism, Kashmir, nationalism in India, and Bhutan.


This event is based on the Centre for the Study of Democracy's Post-colonial politics, development and emerging powers research theme. In addition to other issues, this investigates how religion, history, territoriality, political economy, militarisation, democratisation and resistance have contributed to a volatile politics that disconnects states and people. The explicit focus is on engagement with communities and impacting upon public debates around these contentious subjects. Kashmir is one such subject.