Raised in Kashmir in the 1970s and the 1980s, I instinctively knew that my parents would protect me from the shackles of restrictive traditions and from the pigeonholes of modernity. My own wariness of statism, perhaps, stems from my Mother’s fraught childhood and youth. Her father, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, reigned as Prime Minister of the State of Jammu and Kashmir from 1948 to 1953. In this article, I attempt to historicize the fraught relationship between two elected Prime Ministers, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru, which ended up deepening the trust deficit between the people of Kashmir and the rest of India. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, to friends as well as foes, symbolized Kashmiri nationalism, and his long incarceration was a clear indication that Prime Minister Nehru’s government would not allow a powerful regional leader to blossom. When the pledge to hold a referendum in Jammu and Kashmir was not kept by the governments of India and Pakistan, his advocacy of the right of self-determination for the state led to his imprisonment. He was shuttled from one jail to another until 1972 and remained out of power until 1975. Despite tremendous changes in the world order, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah did not lose faith in the international system which was premised on Woodrow Wilson’s principle of self-determination, post-World War 1. The Sheikh, I argue, sought self-determination for Jammu and Kashmir as a territorial unit, not as a Muslim nation. He wanted Kashmir to be an international polity. I posit that he perceived the evolution of Kashmiri nationalism in world-historical terms, as opposed to a domestic and local issue. After the rumblings and subsequent explosion of armed insurgency and counter insurgency in Kashmir in 1989, a few of those organizations that advocated armed resistance to secure the right of self-determination for the people of Kashmir, in accordance with the United Nations Resolutions of 21 April and 3 June 1948, of 14 March 1950 and 30 March 1951, blamed the nationalist leader, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, for having, purportedly, succumbed to pressures brought on by the government of India in 1975.He had given the clarion call for Kashmiri nationalism. After 1975, the allegation levelled against the Sheikh was that he had, purportedly, capitulated to the insistence of the government of India to relinquish the struggle for autonomy or self-determination. It was a heart-rending period for Mother to see reductive readings of her father’s ideology and the attempted erasure of the political and sociocultural edifice of which he had been the primary architect. In one of those few and far between moments of unburdening herself, Mother recalled that the Sheikh had remained clear headed about his political ideology during his time in internment and even until he breathed his last. The Kashmir dispute has remained troublingly infantile in its irresolvability. The re-mushrooming of the separatist movement in Kashmir in1989 and the subsequent creation of a political vacuum has allowed the insidious infiltration of distrust and suspicion into the relationship between Kashmir, and the two nuclear powers in the Indian subcontinent, India and Pakistan It would be relevant to mention that the partition of India in 1947 into the dominions of India and Pakistan along religious lines enabled divisive forces of violence and brutality to rip the common anti-colonial, cultural legacy to pieces. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, on the contrary, was ambivalent about the partition because he did not agree with the rationale of the two-nation theory. He was equally ambivalent about acceding to India, because he felt that if that choice was made, Pakistan would always create juggernauts in the political and economic progress of Kashmir. Was Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah willing to concede the necessity of political compromise and accommodation? Did the Sheikh draw attention to the political, cultural, and territorial compromises that the autonomy model might entail? He did categorically declare that ‘Neither the friendship of Pandit Nehru or of Congress nor their support of our freedom movement would have any influence upon our decision if we felt that the interests of four million Kashmiris lay in our accession to Pakistan’ (quotedin Brecher 1953: 35).The decision to accede to either India or Pakistan placed Maharaja Hari Singh in a dilemma. At the time, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah harboured the mirage of an independent Jammu and Kashmir. But he believed, in the interests of expediency, that provisional accession to predominantly Hindu India was a better option than unconditional accession to predominantly Muslim Pakistan. He felt that the political voice and socioeconomic interests of Kashmiris would be greatly threatened and diminished by the plutocracy of Pakistan, which was predominantly feudal. The successful implementation of the land to the tiller program by the Sheikh Abdullah-led state government in Jammu and Kashmir would have been a pipe dream in a country like Pakistan, which was ruled by the feudal aristocracy. The “defining moment in Jammu and Kashmir’s post-Indian independence history” came in 1950 when disenfranchised peasants “were freed from the shackles of landlords through a law that gave them ownership rights on the land they tilled. . . . The sweeping land reforms under the Big Landed Estates Abolition Act passed on July 13, 1950, changed the complexion of Kashmiri society. The historical image of the emaciated local farmer in tatters, with sunken faces and listless eyes, toiling to fill the granaries of landlords changed overnight into one of a landowner who expected to benefit from the labour he had put in for generations” (Ahmed, F.). This program emphasized the necessity of abolishing exploitative landlordism without compensation and enfranchising tillers by granting them the lands they worked on. Many policy makers in the Indian subcontinent, political scientists, and economists have acknowledged the effectiveness and rigor of land reforms in Jammu and Kashmir. In August 1952, Nehru declared in the Indian parliament: “We do not wish to win people against their will with the help of armed force; and if the people of Kashmir wish to part company with us, they may go their way and we shall go ours. We want no forced marriages, no forced unions” (Bhattacharjea 2008: xiv; Lamb 1991: 46-47). But, once again, he equivocated and sought to capitalize on the formation of the defacto border by declaring in 1955 that he had asked his Pakistani counterparts to consider resolving the Kashmir issue by converting the de facto border into a permanent international one between the two nation-states. Nehru’s endeavour to renege on his oft-repeated promise of holding a plebiscitecreated a hostile obstinacy in Pakistan. Nehru’s sentimentalism and vacillation regarding Kashmir, perhaps, played a large role in keeping this issue of international dimensions in limbo. The Kashmir dispute has thus remained troublingly infantile in its irresolvability. The re-mushrooming of the separatist movement in Kashmir in1989 and the subsequent creation of a political vacuum has allowed the insidious infiltration of distrust and suspicion into the relationship between Kashmir, and the two nuclear powers in the Indian subcontinent, India and Pakistan. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s ouster on August 9, 1953, at the behest of the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his subsequent arrest, was an event that alienated the Kashmiri masses and cast his next of kin as personae non grata. The Sheikh’s vociferous protests against, what he perceived as, endeavours to erode the constitutional autonomy of the state and undemocratically legitimize its integration into the Indian Union earned him the disapprobation of some of his former allies. The writer is the author of Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism, Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir, The Life of a Kashmiri Woman, and the editor of The Parchment of Kashmir. Nyla Ali Khan has also served as guest editor working on articles from the Jammu and Kashmir region for Oxford University Press (New York), helping to identify, commission, and review articles. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, November 20th 2018.