The long-standing political conflict in the Kashmir Valley has resulted in identity based polarization and subsequent displacement of communities. Reconciliation between Hindus (also known as Pandits) and Muslims is viewed as an important step in any sustainable effort towards conflict resolution and peacebuilding in the Valley. This paper begins by examining the much debated territorial and cultural concept of ‘Kashmiriyat’ and instead proposes an alternative lens that emphasizes on shared history as opposed to common identity. We approach reconciliation through a socio-psychological lens by examining the role of a shared cultural past and historical coexistence- or simply put as shared history, as a positive resource that can be appraised by facilitating intergroup contact through certain channels. The possible impediments are discussed and future directions have been outlined. The conclusion emphasizes on the need to focus on intra-communal reconciliation in populations suffering from ongoing intractable conflict, and the necessary need for future research to focus on elements like shared history and collective memory that can be essential in post conflict recovery.

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Sramana Majumdar is Adjunct faculty at the Department of Psychology, School of Human Studies, Ambedkar University, Delhi. She completed her PhD from the Department of Psychology, Jamia Millia Islamia where she worked on exposure to political conflict, collective violence and youth in Kashmir. She has also been interested in looking at gendered aspects of exposure to violence, collective memory, intergroup reconciliation and the role of identity in protracted conflict. A Fulbright- Nehru Doctoral Fellow and a UGC Senior Research Fellow, she has headed the research team at Outline India, a Research start up based out of Gurgaon, on national and international projects related to education, health and sanitation, across states in India. She was also a part of the UGC and United Kingdom Indian Education and Research Initiative team that has been working on Intergroup Contact and Collective Action in Educational settings in India. She was selected as the only representative from India to participate in the Advanced Research Training Seminar on Community Psychology, held as part of the International Congress of Psychology in South Africa, 2012. Drawing from political-social psychology, history and conflict studies, her approach to the study of intergroup conflict, violence and community argues for a more inclusive, interdisciplinary method to reintegrate psychology and highlight its essential role, within the overall discourse on conflict.


Reconciliation, Intergroup Contact, Shared History, Collective Memory, Kashmir

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