This essay examines the “Line of Control” (LOC) dividing the region of Jammu and Kashmir into two parts controlled by India and Pakistan, respectively. It does so to establish the LOC as a symptom and marker of what I term “cartographic irresolution.” Through theoretical arguments for the creation of a borderland of uncertainty around the LOC, I claim that this LOC borderland should be regarded as constituting a set of epistemological and material effects distinct from those produced by the official Indo-Pak border, which resulted from the Partition of 1947. I also examine select Pakistani, Kashmiri, and Indian texts that are marked, in form and content, by the irresolution produced by the LOC, in order to illustrate how this irresolution might affect the nationalisms concerned. In particular, a short story by Kashmiri author A. G. Athar enables me to conclude the article by considering, through the idea of a “critical melancholia,” the ethical dimension of cartographic irresolution. I end by suggesting that we might also use this approach in thinking about recent geopolitical developments such as the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus route.
Ananya Jahanara Kabir; Cartographic Irresolution and the Line of Control. Social Text 1 December 2009; 27 (4 (101)): 45–66. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-2009-054
Download citation file: