After the first edition of Islam, Women, and the Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan, published in June 2009,was reviewed by several Kashmiri academics, it was pointed out to me that autonomy was an inadequate solution.The intractability of the Kashmir conflict has made advocates of conflict resolution rather wary of applying a seemingly workable but facile solution to the complex political conflict. Mainstream media, intellectuals housed in academic institutions, formulators of public policy, members of think tanks are quick to point out that regardless of the bloody and seemingly infinite nature of a political, ethnic, or racial conflict a viable solution can always be found to dilute the fierceness of a conflictual situation. But one is cautioned against glibly advocating a kitsch solution to the Kashmir conundrum by the complexity of the Kashmir conflict, which embodies the brutalities of nation-building devoid of myth or self-infatuation. The unruliness of the Kashmir conflict has led many to confuse the idea of nation with the power and brute force of the nation-states of India and Pakistan. Political negotiation and accommodation can lead a war-weary people out of duplicitous rhetoric, political domination, and forceful imposition. The debate amongst political thinkers, scholars, and policy makers about finding viable ways to placate marginalized ethnic minorities in J & K has been infinite. Since the advent of Independence, New Delhi’s and Islamabad’s self-deluding and self-serving “democratic” approach has been to allow the disaffected people of J & K to voice their opinions within the existing political framework legitimized by governmental rhetoric. The reasonableness of the autonomy solution advocated by mainstream political parties in J & K may seem axiomatic, but what is the likelihood of its being adopted in an undiluted form to metamorphose Kashmir’s political, cultural, or territorial circumstances? The unruliness of the Kashmir conflict has led many to confuse the idea of nation with the power and brute force of the nation-states of India and Pakistan. Political negotiation and accommodation can lead a war-weary people out of duplicitous rhetoric, political domination, and forceful imposition Both India and Pakistan have a long history of deploying rhetorical strategies to skirt the issue of plebiscite or complete secession of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. When feeling particularly belligerent Pakistan cries itself hoarse declaring the legitimacy of plebiscite held under United Nations auspices in J & K; India responds just as aggressively by demanding the complete withdrawal of Pakistani troops from the territory of pre-partition J & K; or, in a moment of neighborly solicitude, for conversion of the LOC to a permanent International border. Which of these solutions is the most viable? Currently, mainstream political parties in J & K have jumped on the autonomy bandwagon. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, the differences between them are not insignificant. New Delhi asserts, time and again, that a revitalized Indian federalism will accommodate Kashmiri demands for an autonomous existence. But, historically, federalism hasn’t always adequately redressed the grievances of disaffected ethnic minorities. Here, I concur with Robert G. Wirsing’s observation that, “while autonomy seems to imply less self-rule than does the term confederalism, for instance, it is generally understood to imply greater self-rule than federalism, which as in the American case, need not cater to ethnic group minorities at all” (2003: 199). Given Kashmir’s treacherous political climate and the rampant political factionalism in that region, the appeal of an ambiguous “autonomy” remains intact for some groups but for others, as has been forcefully pointed out to me by a couple of political scientists, it is a wrong narrative to establish in the case of Kashmir. Sadly, the Kashmir conflict is no longer just about establishing the pristine legitimacy of the right of self-determination of the people of the J & K, the former princely state. Rather, prolonging the conflictual situation works in the interests of some of the actors, state as well as non-state, on both sides of the LOC. Some civil and military officials, Indian, Pakistani, and Kashmiri, have been beneficiaries of the militarization of Kashmir and the business of the “war on terror.” Also, some militants, armed and unarmed, have cashed in on the political instability in the state to establish lucrative careers. For such individuals and groups self-determination and autonomy work well as hollow slogans stripped of any substantive content. The dismal truth is that the wish to establish the legitimacy of self-determination or autonomy vis-à-vis J & K is not universal. The current political discourse in the state has strayed far from home. 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, December 1st 2018.