This book traces the roots of modern-day Kashmir and the role of Sheikh Abdullah in its making. As the most influential political figurehead in twentieth-century Kashmir, he played a crucial role in its transformation from a kingdom to a state in independent India.

He was enigmatic and complex, to say the least. Following his meteoric rise, he dominated the political scene for more than 50 years, with enduring impact. The volume presents a keen analysis of pre-Independence events which led to the emergence of a controversial and confused identity of the region. It also looks at other major themes in the political life of Kashmir, including the formation of the Muslim Conference, the plebiscite movement and the Kashmir Accord.

A major intervention in the political life of South Asia, this book presents an inside-view of the history of modern Kashmir through the life and times of Sheikh Abdullah. It will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of politics, history, and modern South Asia.

chapter |9 pages


chapter 2|9 pages

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah

Early life and ideological background

chapter 3|20 pages

Harbinger of national consciousness

From Reading Room Party to Muslim Conference

chapter 4|13 pages

Role as Muslim Conference president

chapter 5|21 pages

Nationalization of a secular movement

chapter 6|25 pages

Role as National Conference president

Confronting with alternative voices

chapter 7|36 pages


Swimming against the tide?

chapter 8|39 pages

In power (1947–1953)

Shaky foundations of a democratic edifice

chapter 9|43 pages

Out of power

Trapped in his own cage

chapter 10|16 pages


A lion made toothless

chapter 11|23 pages

Regaining power

A shadow of his own

chapter 12|11 pages