Hamīñ Ast? traces the constitutional and legal history of Article 370 from its origins as a placeholder that guaranteed the state a say in any future constitutional arrangement till they drafted their own Constitution until its sudden nullification whose political and legal ramifications are still unfolding. 

Arghya, Jinaly, Kevin, and Pranay apply a legal lens to the matter, analysing the birth and trajectory of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

“ One way of making sense of the events of August 2019 is to see them as the culmination of decades-old efforts toward full legal integration of J&K. In the process, Article 370 shape-shifted from a procedural compromise to a substantive cornerstone to, ultimately, a point where it could not withstand its own contradictions. Whenever the final word on Article 370 is spoken, what is certain is that Hamiñ Ast will surely be an indispensable guide in making sense of it. ”
“ Looked at in the kind of depth that Hamin Ast has, it becomes clear that the controversy over Article 370 has to do not simply with Jammu and Kashmir, India and Pakistan, or Hindus and Muslims as those on the right and left maintain. What determines the weakness of the latter’s protests against its nullification is the second-class character of the Constitution’s rights and protections more generally.  ”
“ Hamīñ Ast is an outstanding book that chronicles the turbulent life of Article 370. While it was intended to be a temporary provision, it lived on for seven decades. This concise book, in six chapters, gives a complete account of what led to the drafting of Article 370 and the gradual integration of that state through a series of orders.  As this Article is now history, this book helps us understand what led to its birth and what led to its unexpected but inevitable demise ”
“ This factual account of the birth, the steady erosion, and the final virtual disappearance of Article 370 makes fascinating reading for anyone who has followed developments in Jammu &  Kashmir since 1947. Free from the usual harsh bias on one side or the other in books on Jammu & Kashmir, Hamīñ Ast is a rare account which is well researched by the authors and based on actual events and documents. It is a useful reference book for students of constitutional law and politics. ”

MORE ABOUT THE BOOK

The nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution of India on 5th and 6th August, 2019 ended the ‘special status’ of Jammu and Kashmir. Article 370 was the constitutional basis for this special status, keeping the state distinct from the rest of India.

In 1950, when the Republic of India formally took shape, Jammu and Kashmir was certainly a special state. It was the only princely state that had been integrated into India on the condition that its future would be determined by the will of its own people. That will, would be ascertained by Jammu and Kashmir’s own Constituent Assembly which would deliberate on the exact contours of their future relationship with India. Till such time, Article 370 would hold the field—a stop-gap signifying a precarious and hard-won compromise.

Like with many stop-gaps, Article 370 contained within it the seeds of its own nullification. A procedure was outlined by which the President of India on the recommendation of the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly could abrogate the provision in its entirety or nullify its effect. Those seeds were unexpectedly germinated in Parliament in August 2019 to complete the full integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India.

Much has been said and written on the political and constitutional history of Jammu and Kashmir. The existing literature and scholarship on the state covers aspects of its ethnography, history, politics, the dispute at the United Nations, militancy and its consequent militarisation leading to a near-permanent state of internal turmoil. When it comes to work specifically on Article 370- the constitutional link that bound the state to India- the literature is comparatively sparse. Some academic documentation exists, but very little that can be read by an interested non-academic audience.

This book fills that void with a detailed biography of Article 370, one of the most complex provisions in the Constitution of India. It is the journey of a provision of law from its cradle to its grave through a contested birth, lawyerly machinations in its early years, endemic political skulduggery, episodic displays of judicial statesmanship and a sudden and swift demise. It is a book that can be read by anyone interested in Jammu and Kashmir, Indian federalism, the Indian Constitution or the Supreme Court where the fate of the article currently hangs in the balance.

OUR AUTHORS

  • Arghya Sengupta

    Arghya Sengupta is the Founder and Research Direc...

  • Jinaly Dani

    Jinaly Dani is a Senior Resident Fellow and Team ...

  • Kevin James

    Kevin James is a Research Associate at the Centre...

  • Pranay Modi

    Pranay Modi is a Research Analyst at Hashed Emerg...

  • Hamīñ Ast? – Chapter 2 – Afterthought

    Audiobooks  |  Listen to  Kevin James

    Even as questions surrounding the establishment of a popular and responsible government in Jammu and Kashmir dominated India’s concerns, the Constituent Assembly continued with its work. - Excerpts from Chapter 2

  • Hamīñ Ast? – Chapter 1 – Compromise

    Audiobooks  |  Listen to  Kevin James

    In May 1949 with the enactment of the Indian Constitution only months away, the future status of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir remained indeterminate. - Excerpts from Chapter 1.

  • Episode on Hamīñ Ast? A Biography of Article 370

    Podcast  |  by  Jinaly Dani

    In this Podcast episode, Naveed Mehmood Ahmad discusses 'Hamīñ Ast? A Biography of Article 370' with co-author Jinaly Dani. Hamīñ Ast? traces the constitutional and legal history of Article 370 from its origins as a placeholder that guar...

  • Video on Hamīñ Ast? A Biography on Article 370

    • Videos
    • July 10, 2022
    • 2 Minute 40 Seconds

    How did this article come to be in 1950? What happened over the course of the last 70 years that made Jammu and Kashmir a 'special state?' Arghya Sengupta and Jinaly Dani, co-authors of the book 'Hamīñ Ast? A Biography on Article 370' here introdu...

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  • Launch of Hamīñ Ast? Book Cover

    • Videos
    • October 31, 2022
    • 0:44

    Watch the animated video of the book cover for 'Hamīñ Ast? A Biography of Article 370,' Vidhi's first digital book, that was released on August 5th, 2022. This is the first book from Navi Books the open-access digital book publishing website by th...

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    • Blogs

    Why Was Article 370 Not Abrogated Earlier?

    “Article 370 is neither a wall nor a mountain, but...it is a tunnel. It is through this tunnel that a good deal of traffic has already passed and more will.” Gulzarilal Nanda In 1950, the State of J&K was included in the Union of India o...

    by Pranay Modi

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    • Blogs
    • 9 Minute Read

    Looking Back at the Abrogation of Article 370

    Today marks the passage of two years since the ‘abrogation’ of Article 370 of the Constitution of India. A lot has happened since then, but it is worth our while to look back and consider the abrogation in greater depth. This blog does just that...

    by Pranay Modi

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