The Moral Path Beyond War: A Narrative Inquiry into the Experiences That Have Influenced the Moral Perspectives of Kashmiri Youth

Srinivasan, Aarthi
Benade, Leon
Couch, Daniel
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

This study is centred on the experiences and perspectives of eight young people, living in Kashmir, a conflict region in India. Studies and news reports on Kashmir largely focus on the politics of the conflict, its clinical and psychological effects, and the violence, while the voices of Kashmiri youth remain insufficiently represented. The narratives of the participants represented as short stories reveal experiences of education and everyday life in Kashmir and their identity as Kashmiris, and how this is shaped by conflict. Analysis of these experiences showed that the aspirations, mundane decisions, and moral perspectives of the participants were influenced by their fear of military violence, instances of being marginalised and stereotyped as violent people in other parts of India, and by the Government’s denial of equal opportunity and sustained education. Despite these experiences, motivated by their desire for peace and an end to the conflict, the participants sought to stay in Kashmir to support its transformation. Apart from its methodological contributions, this study indicates potential for further studies on education and moral philosophy grounded on the voices of youth in conflict regions.

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