Hillary Brenhouse has reported on cultural and religious issues from France, the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and India. A frequent contributor to TIME, her writing has also appeared in Slate, the Oxford American, the International Herald Tribune and others.
For centuries, the Kashmir Valley’s Muslim majority and its upper-caste Hindus, called Pandits, lived peaceably in the same districts. But twenty-two years ago, under threat of a separatist Islamic insurgency, close to 400,000 Pandits left the region in a mass exodus. Only now, in a period of rare calm for Kashmir, are they beginning to return to their ancestral homeland, many in response to a rehabilitation package being offered by the central and local governments.
Brenhouse has explored this slow and uneasy homecoming, considering, through the narratives of several returnees, its political implications in the Valley, the current state of Hindu-Muslim relations and the distinct challenges of reintegration.