Making Genealogies, Creating Pasts: Shajre-nasb as an alternative archival practice in Kashmir w/ Idrees Kanth
Shajre nasb can be described as a mapping exercise that provides a genealogical account of a particular khandan (clan). It is an old practice that has usually involved the Syed families of Kashmir who claim to have descended directly from the family of the Prophet Muhammad, and therefore do not perceive themselves as originally Kashmiri. As a document it represents a story of origins, belonging and migration while embodying particular families with a sense of privilege and power. Often these stories involve Islamic preachers who are supposed to have come over to Kashmir from places like Hamdan, Kasahan, Andrab, etc., in West Asia after the fourteenth century to spread Islam in the Valley. The shajre nasb could thus also be approached as an alternative archive and an archival practice that reconfigures Kashmir’s past as a narrative of movement and mobility that challenges Statist accounts of its history.
Idrees Kanth earned his MA and PhD in History from Leiden University in the Netherlands. His area of interest and focus is modern and early modern Kashmir and South Asian history, Islamic history and Archives and Public histories. He has taught in universities in Leiden, Delhi and Kashmir. He is currently affiliated with Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), Leiden University.
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