Book Review: ‘The Crossroads’ by Kulbhushan Warikoo

At the Crossroads of History: Unveiling the Kashmir-Xinjiang Connection


Book Title: The Crossroads
Author: Kulbhushan Warikoo
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-9357025690
Date Published: Oct. 9, 2023
Price: INR 599

The Crossroads by Kulbhushan Warikoo Book Cover

Book Review

The Crossroads” by Kulbhushan Warikoo, a distinguished scholar with expertise in Himalayan and Central Asian Studies, meticulously unravels the complex history of Kashmir’s pivotal role between India and Xinjiang. Warikoo’s extensive research, fueled by his extensive travels and fieldwork, provides a deep understanding of this intricate region. Delving into the multifaceted power dynamics, the book sheds light on the historical foundations of India-Xinjiang relations, offering invaluable insights into contemporary interactions between Delhi and Beijing. It’s an essential read for those seeking a comprehensive grasp of the intricate tapestry of regional history and politics. Moreover, the book provides a unique perspective on the Sino-Indian border in the Ladakh sector, particularly in Hunza and Gilgit, offering valuable lessons in understanding Chinese strategies in these areas.

The book traces Kashmir’s history as a cultural and economic bridge between India and Xinjiang, from ancient times to the present. It explores various facets of Kashmir’s interaction with Xinjiang, including trade, religion, art, literature, language, and politics. Additionally, it delves into the impact of historical factors like the Anglo-Russian rivalry, Chinese expansionism, the Partition of India, and the ongoing Kashmir conflict on India-Xinjiang relations. Warikoo’s work is a comprehensive and insightful exploration of this critical crossroads in the heart of Asia.

The rich tapestry of religious identities in Kashmir and Xinjiang, inhabited by Muslim-majority populations, has been subjected to assimilation efforts by India and China. Despite differences in struggles and distinct Muslim populations, both countries justify their actions for counterterrorism and modernization, often at the expense of Kashmiri and Uyghur identities. Cross-contextual solidarity is crucial for understanding these strategies.

The Crossroads” is based on various sources, including archival documents, travel accounts, memoirs, official reports, newspapers, journals, books, and interviews. The book is well-written and well-organized, with maps, photographs, tables, charts, and appendices. The book is not only informative but also analytical and critical. It challenges some myths and misconceptions about Kashmir and Xinjiang and offers a balanced and nuanced perspective on the complex issues.

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The book is a valuable contribution to the field of Himalayan and Central Asian Studies, as well as to the understanding of the contemporary geopolitics of Asia. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in the history and culture of Kashmir, Xinjiang, and Central Asia, as well as in the India–China relations.

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