Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

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Strong Military and Weak Statehood: The Case of Self‐Governance Through Rasookh in Kashmir

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Abstract:  The article focuses its gaze on the Indian-controlled valley of Kashmir to highlight how the militarily strong state resonates with weak statehood in Kashmir. Being faced with popular contentious politics, the state in Kashmir is argued to survive through militarised authoritarian control leading to the pervading social condition of fear and insecurity. Thus, rather than a provider of security, the situation in Kashmir is marked by the least expectations of security from the state. The article highlights rasookh as a means of self-governance popularly employed in Kashmir to socially navigate the prevalent precarious circumstances, especially drawing security by virtue of informal connections. The article becomes significant to firstly, highlight how the prevalent political structures condition and inform individual behaviour, and secondly, to examine the way different individuals develop institutionalised responses as an experience of those structures. The article through the case of Kashmir portrays how weak statehood in Kashmir predominantly informs the pervading social condition of fear and insecurity and how self-governance under rasookh becomes a means of compensating for the prevalent precarity. The article draws from the neo-institutionalist literature understanding the state as an ensemble of formal and informal institutions, mainly understanding institutions from the Lauthian perspective as ordered patterns of behaviour. From that perspective, rasookh is made sense of as an informal institution—an “uncodified but socially accepted pattern of behaviour”. The article provides original contributions by highlighting the under-researched societal aspect of analysing self-governance through rasookh (an informal institution) and highlighting everyday, societal dynamics that underpin it.

Keywords:  informal institutions; Kashmir; micro-regulation; rasookh; repression; self-governance; weak statehood



© Touseef Yousuf Mir. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.