Sahba Husain’s Love, Loss and Longing in Kashmir joins a growing body of work about the nature and consequences of the Indian state’s war in Kashmir. Yet, it is an unusual book—an intimate, well-researched memoir looking back at Hussain’s decades of fieldwork and engagements as a researcher on violence and trauma in Kashmir, reconstructed from field notes and interviews, presented as a retrospective narrative.
In a deeply personal and brutally honest introduction to the thematically organised chapters, Husain describes the shock of her first research trip to Kashmir in 2000. Her encounter with the intense militarisation and horrific state violence was profoundly destabilising. Haunted by memories of state repression during the Emergency through which she became politicised as well as by her grief as a recently bereaved daughter, Husain explores questions of positionality, complicity, objectivity, and the risks and privileges of being an Indian, feminist, left-liberal Muslim woman trying to research and write about Kashmir.