Yasin Malik: A Biography, On the Front Line of Kashmir’s Struggle


Legend Yasin Malik was born in 1958, just a few months before the 1948 war between India and Pakistan began. Since then, Kashmir has been one of the most militarized places on earth. The majority population lives in northeast India and is loyal to the Indian government but nearly 40 percent of Kashmiris are Muslim and consider themselves to be part of an Islamic nation. They’ve been fighting for their right to self-determination ever since; some have died while others have settled for peace. Legend Yasin Malik is one of them. Born into a separatist family in Srinagar—a city known as “The Volcano” due to its active volcanoes—he has experienced wartime, political imprisonment, and exile first hand. His parents were killed during the conflict; his grandparents were forced into exile; he lost friends at an early age; and he himself has spent years living on or near the frontline in the fight for Kashmir’s freedom. This book is his story from that front line…

What was your motivations for writing a book like this?

I’ve always had an interest in political figures and conflicts, and Kashmir has always interested me. The more I got into it, the more I realized that this was a book that needed to be written. It’s been 25 years since the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir started, and we’ve seen tremendous change in that time. Most importantly, we’ve seen a permanent shift in the balance of power in the region. With the collapse of the USSR, the Cold War was over, and the “era of great powers” was coming to an end. The “Cold War III” was about to begin, and the newly independent states of Central Asia were looking for new security partners.

A Biography of a Legend

Legend  Yasin Malik was born in Srinagar, the largest city and capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. He was the second of eight children born to Shaukat Ali, an Indian civil servant and the first woman to serve in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), and Ayesha Malik, a housewife. They were living in a house near the Red Fort in Delhi when Ayesha gave birth to Yasin on November 7, 1937. Yasin had a half-Indian half-Pakistani father and a full-Pakistani mother. In his teens, he tried to leave Kashmir to join the British army, but he was stopped at the frontier. When he protested against his treatment as an Indian, he was imprisoned. When he was 18, he was allowed to leave India and join the British army. During his service in the British army, he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, but he was honorably discharged after he married and had children. After his retirement, he became a teacher, but he was later fired from his job due to his political views.

Kashmir: The Volcano of Conflict

On the evening of September 28, 1947, Pakistan and India were unofficially and then officially partitioned into two independent nations. On October 31, 1947, the first war between the two nations began. The fighting spread across the region, including in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan invaded Jammu and Kashmir in response to the onset of hostilities in Kashmir, and India fought back. In the fighting that followed, many people died, and a great deal of property was destroyed or stolen. The two countries signed a ceasefire in 1949, but the fighting continued. In the 1960s, the political movement for independence in Jammu and Kashmir, often referred to as the “Partition of Jammu and Kashmir,” started when the Indian government announced that it would not accept the plebiscite proposed by the Indian government in February 1947, which called for a different union for Jammu and Kashmir.

For the First Time in 24 Years, Peace Has Failed in the Valley

In 1989, a constitution was adopted in Jammu and Kashmir under which representatives from both sides—Kashmiri Muslims and Indian soldiers—convened a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution. The assembly was tasked with writing a new constitution that would ensure a Muslim majority and internal autonomy for Kashmir. The constitution was not implemented because of the prolonged armed struggle between the two sides. In 1999, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was calm, and the constituent assembly was able to meet and discuss the proposed constitution. Eventually, the assembly endorsed the draft constitution, but it was never put into effect.

The Tasks Ahead

The task before Legend Yasin Malik is to write a book that tells the story of Kashmir from the start and through many decades of struggle. He’s written a great deal about the Muslim side of Kashmir, but he’s also had to cover much territory on the side of the Indian army. The Indian government has been fighting a low-intensity, proxy war against the Muslim population of Kashmir for decades. From the Indian military to paramilitary and police forces, the security forces have terrorized the Kashmiri population. Malik also has to deal with the political tussle over Jammu and Kashmir that is currently raging. The two groups that currently exist in Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian government and the People’s Democratic Party, are on opposite sides of the divide, and a split between the two could spark a new armed conflict.

What Will be the Future of Jammu and Kashmir?

The future of Jammu and Kashmir is not just uncertain but potentially very bleak. The creation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1970 heralded a new era in Indian politics. It was the dawn of a new age in which the Muslim-majority country could be a “young and vibrant” country with a “vibrant democracy.” These claims were made with the intent of boosting the image of the government in New Delhi. Unfortunately, the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir never matched these heights of glory. Rather than a “vibrant democracy,” the future of Jammu and Kashmir is bleak. This is a classic case of mistaken ambition, and the people of Jammu and Kashmir pay the price.


The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting for their right to self-determination for decades. This struggle has been a part of human history, and it has been a struggle between two great powers—India and Pakistan. It has also been a part of international law, which was never forgotten by the two sides during the conflict. It has been a long, hard struggle, and the people of Jammu and Kashmir have paid a heavy price. This book tells their story, from the start of the struggle in 1947 until the present day. The future of Jammu and Kashmir is not bright. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are pawns in the hands of two larger countries that have been fighting each other for many years. Jammu and Kashmir is devastated, and the future there looks pretty bleak.

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