Nyla Ali Khan

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Nyla Ali Khan
Nyla Ali Khan 3.jpg
Born (1972-04-28) 28 April 1972 (age 47)
ResidenceJammu and Kashmir, India
Academic work
Notable worksThe Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism and Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between Indian and Pakistan

Dr. Nyla Ali Khan is a Visiting Professor at the University of Oklahoma and Rose State College, and former professor at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.[1] She is the author of four books, including The Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism and Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between Indian and Pakistan, and several articles that focus heavily on the political issues and strife of her homeland, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Despite being the granddaughter of Sheikh Abdullah, Nyla Khan prefers not simply to live in his shadow but to "stand up for myself and be taken seriously ... express my anger without being labeled an 'Islamic militant' ... [and] legitimately question things I don't understand", as she stated in a 2010 interview related to the release of her second book.[2][3][4]


Khan was born in New Delhi, India. Her family is based in Jammu and Kashmir, India and she was raised there in the Kashmir Valley located in the foothills of the Himalayas. Her mother, Suraiya Abdullah Ali, is a retired professor of literature, and her father, Mohammad Ali Matto, is a retired physician. She is the only child of Suraiya Abdullah Ali and Mohammad Ali Matto—and the granddaughter of Sheikh Abdullah. She did her Masters in Postcolonial Literature and Theory at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, and obtained her Ph.D. at the same institution.

In May 2015, Khan was the first Kashmiri woman to be nominated and accepted as a member of the Advisory Council for the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women.[5] The Council serves "as a resource and clearinghouse for research and information on issues related to women and gender bias, to act as an advisory entity on equity issues to state agencies, communities, organizations and businesses of the state, and to establish recommendations for action to improve the quality of life for Oklahoma women, children and families."[6]



In her first book, The Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism, she "examines the writings of V.S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, and Anita Desai, all four living abroad to explain the aberrant behaviour of emigres from the Indian subcontinent to explain why they support religious fundamentalist groups in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh."[7] In doing so, she strives to provide an objective view of how transnationalism can distort impressions of reality. In reviewing her book, Khushwant Singh notes that the transnational subjects examined by Dr. Khan "having settled abroad, [...] develop an exaggerated sense of belonging, swallow fabricated history of their glorious pasts and despite having no intention of returning to the lands of their nativity give emotional and monetary support to subversive elements."[8]

  • Review by Steven Salaita[9]

In her second book, Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between Indian and Pakistan, she examines women in Islam in "the first th[o]rough study of the tragedy of Kashmir done by a Kashmiri woman."[10] "Khan uses the analytical tools of postmodern, feminist criticism to understand and highlight the role--passive and active--that women have played in Kashmir's history, ranging from the 14th century Lal Ded, a mystic poet who laid the foundations of Kashmir's syncretic culture, to the present day Parveena Ahangar who represents the Association of the Parents of the Disappeared People."[11] Interspersed within are oral histories from women who serve to defend Kashmir from invasion, women who had previously been long ignored.[12]

  • Review by Brian Hull in Genre Vol. 46, No. 1, Spring 2013, 103-108.[13]
  • Review by the University of Nebraska Kearney.[14]
  • Review by Amitabh Mattoo in India Today, January 22, 2010[15]
  • Review by Jaskiran Mathur in Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 11 #1 November 2009, 328-332.[16]
  • Review by Dr. Mustafa Kamal, "Of women, politics and Kashmiriyat" in Kashmir Times, Srinagar, Monday, November 9, 2009, 3-4.
  • Review by Seema Kazi in Conveyor, November 2009, 61-63

She undertakes the role of editor in a third book, The Parchment of Kashmir: History, Society, and Polity. The book presents a collection of essays by Kashmiri academics who are "well-known, well-established, and well-respected within Kashmiri society", but who haven’t had much opportunity to reach an audience outside of Kashmir and outside of South Asia.[17]

  • Review by Hari Jaisingh in Book Bazaar, 5 May 2013, 1-2.[18]
  • Review by David Taylor in Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2 (2013), 137-8.[19]
  • Review by John C Hawley in Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 23 October 2013.[20]

Her fourth book, The Life of a Kashmiri Woman: Dialectic of Resistance and Accommodation examines the life of her grandmother, Akbar Jehan "paint[ing] a loving and personal picture of a powerful woman whose role and actions gave Kashmir a model for women's political action in the critical period before and after the partition of India in 1947."[21]

  • Review by Ellora Puri in The Book Review Literary Trust, 12 December 2014.[22]
  • Review by Rehka Chowdhary in Oxford Islamic Studies Online, 19 April 2015.[23]

She has recently been working as an editor for a publication on the region of Jammu and Kashmir with Oxford Islamic Studies Online,[24] which has been recruiting guest editors for projects that examine the "politics, religious practices, economics, women’s and minorities’ rights, geography, arts and culture, [and] major figures" of various Islamic regions. They will be including a featured article by her and plan to expand upon their partnership to provide additional materials to promote education and scholarship about the region.[25]

Khan’s latest book, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s Reflections on Kashmir, is a compendium of the speeches and interviews of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, who reigned as Prime Minister of the State of Jammu and Kashmir from 1948 to 1953, and who was a large presence on the political landscape of India for fifty years. The volume is designed to enable a student of South Asian politics, and the politics of Kashmir in particular, to analyze the ways in which experiences have been constructed historically and have changed overtime. [26]

Book chapters[edit]

  • "The Land of Lalla-Ded: Negation of ‘Kashmiriyat’ and Immiseration of the Kashmiri Woman." Contesting Nation: Gendered Violence in South Asia. Notes on the Postcolonial Present. Ed. Angana Chatterji and Lubna Nazir Chaudhry. New Delhi: Zubaan Books, 2010.
  • "Citizenship in a Transnational Age: Culture and Politics in Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines." In Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines: A Critical Companion. Ed. Murari Prasad. Delhi: Pencraft International, 2007. Forthcoming.

Peer-reviewed articles[edit]

  • “Citizenship in a Transnational Age: Culture and Politics in Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines.The Journal of Indian Writing in English 33.2 (2005): 42-52.
  • “Frederick Douglass : A Reinscriptive Discourse.” World Literature Today 2 (2001): 48-57.
  • “The Reinscription of Dichotomies in Rushdie’s Hybridized Protagonists.” Journal of South Asian Literature 35 (2000): 82-99.

Other articles[edit]

  • "The idealist who loved Kashmir: History revisited." Globeistan 3 April 2013.[27]
  • "Place and the Politics of Identity in Desai's In Custody." Atlantic Literary Review 5.1-2 (2004): 128-145.
  • "Faith that Moved Mountains." The Hindu OP-ED, 11 August 2012.[28]
  • "Understanding Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah." Greater Kashmir: Srinagar Opinion, 7 November 2012.[29]
  • "Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Some memories" The News: International Political Economy, 9 December 2012.[30]
  • "Muslim Women and Violent Protest: Kashmir." Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures. General Editor Suad Joseph. Brill Online, (Forthcoming, 2014)[31]
  • "Home and Hearth" Globeistan 25 September 2014.[32]
  • "Anita Desai" (Nyla Ali Khan, 195-196); "Amitav Ghosh" (Nyla Ali Khan, 297-298) in the Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics: A-G[33]
  • "Hope for peace: The cost of conflict in South Asia" Edmondsun.com 19 December 2014.[34]
  • "Kashmir solution can halt S. Asia’s nuclear race" Globeistan 28 January 2015.[35]
  • "Relevance of Sheikh’s 1960 letter for today’s Indo-Pak leaders" Globeistan 8 September 2015.[36]
  • "To have and to hold till death do us part: Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and the Indian National Congress" Globeistan 8 January 2016.[37]
  • "Until Lions Have Their Historians, Tales of the Hunt Shall Always Glorify the Hunters: Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, History Retold" Counterpunch 22 January 2016[38]
  • "The Ambiguous Identity of a Kashmiri" counterpunch 16 February 2016.[39]
  • "Several Captors Hold Kashmir Captive" Globeistan 29 February 2016.[40]
  • "Historical Distortions Galore" counterpunch 11 April 2016.[41]

Media Contributions[edit]

  • "University of Oklahoma Visiting Professor Explores Life of Her Grandfather," Interview with Ashley Gibson, NewsOK, 14 May 2013.[42]
  • "We Must Try to Emerge as One Community," Interview with Afzal Sofi, Kashmir Reader, 8 August 2012.[43]
  • "Interview with Nyla Ali Khan,", Epilogue, 26 January 2010.[44]
  • "My Grandmother Died a Sad Woman," Interview with Riyaz Wani, Tehelka.com, Issue 9, Volume 12, 28 February 2015.[45]
  • "I seek to reinterpret the repressive framework of colonialism: Dr. Nyla Ali Khan," News Kashmir Magazine, 24 August 2015[46]

Conference presentations[edit]

She co-organized the 2006 South Asian Literary Association Conference on "Postcolonialism and South Asian Diasporas," which was held in conjunction with the Modern Language Association Conference in Philadelphia. Over the years, she has had sixteen conference papers selected for presentation at major conferences, such as the South Asian Literary Association Conference, the Modern Language Association Conference, Annual British Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies Conference, and the International Global Studies Conference.

She presented on "Negotiating the Boundaries of Gender, Community, and Nationhood" at the faculty Roundtable: "Transnational Feminism and Research Methodology." Women’s Studies Conference: "No Limits 2008: Transnational Feminism." University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, Nebraska, 1 Mar. 2008. She also chaired the panel on "Traversing Political, National, and International Spaces." Women’s Studies Conference: "No Limits 2008: Transnational Feminism." She presented "Rethinking State Formation in Kashmir," at the Institute for Public Knowledge, 5 October 2012. Furthermore, she had a presentation entitled "Bridge Builders in the Kashmir Conflict: The Human Dimension and the Role of Civil Society," at the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, the Comparative and Regional Studies Program, the Center for Social Media, the Dialogue Development Group, and the Office of the University Chaplin at American University, 30 October 2012. She has given public lectures on her scholarly work at the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, and at the Center for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada.

  • "Kashmir: The Politics and History of a People," (with host Bryan Hull), Internationalization Initiative, 12 April 2012.[47]
  • "Conversations with Dr. Nyla Ali Khan," (Sponsored by the West Wind Unitarian Church in Norman, OK), 7 February 2015.[48]
  • "The Cost of Conflict in Southeast Asia," Rotary Club of Norman[49]


  1. ^ University of Oklahoma website
  2. ^ Interview in Epilogue magazine
  3. ^ http://issuu.com/epilogue/docs/epilogue-november-2009 November 2009 Vol 3 Issue 12 p 38-41
  4. ^ http://issuu.com/epilogue/docs/epilogue December 2009 Vol 3 Issue 12 p 27-30
  5. ^ "Business spotlight".
  6. ^ "Business spotlight".
  7. ^ "The Tribune - Magazine section - Saturday Extra".
  8. ^ "The Tribune - Magazine section - Saturday Extra".
  9. ^ South Asian Review, Vol. XXVII, No. 1 (2006): 274-275.
  10. ^ "UNK - 'Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan' Focus of New Book by UNK's Dr. Nyla Ali Khan".
  11. ^ "Blood and tears".
  12. ^ "Blood and tears".
  13. ^ Hull, B. (2013). "Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan". Genre. 46: 103–105. doi:10.1215/00166928-1722953.
  14. ^ "UNK - 'Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan' Focus of New Book by UNK's Dr. Nyla Ali Khan".
  15. ^ "Blood and tears".
  16. ^ "Journal of International Women's Studies | Journals and Campus Publications | Bridgewater State University".
  17. ^ "Latest news, comments and reviews from the Gulf Today | gulftoday.ae".
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ [2]
  20. ^ "The parchment of Kashmir: History, society, and polity".
  21. ^ "Palgrave".
  22. ^ http://www.thebookreviewindia.org/articles/archives-4294/2014/December/12/tale-of-a-formidable-matriarch.html
  23. ^ "A woman's journey in Kashmiri politics". 19 April 2015.
  24. ^ "Oxford Islamic Studies Online - Oxford Islamic Studies Online".
  25. ^ "Oxford Islamic Studies Online (announcement) «".
  26. ^ Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah's Reflections on Kashmir | Nyla Ali Khan | Palgrave Macmillan.
  27. ^ "The idealist who loved Kashmir: History revisited «".
  28. ^ Khan, Nyla Ali (10 August 2012). "Faith that moved mountains". The Hindu.
  29. ^ http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2012/Nov/7/understanding-sheikh-muhammad-abdullah-27.asp
  30. ^ "Daily Jang Urdu News | Pakistan News | Latest News - Breaking News".
  31. ^ http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopedia-of-women-and-islamic-cultures/muslim-women-and-violent-protest-kashmir-EWICCOM_002010
  32. ^ "Home and Hearth «".
  33. ^ Keith Booker, M. (2005). Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics: A-G. ISBN 9780313329395.
  34. ^ "Hope for peace: The cost of conflict in South Asia".
  35. ^ "Kashmir solution can halt S. Asia's nuclear race «".
  36. ^ "Relevance of Sheikh's 1960 letter for today's Indo-Pak leaders «".
  37. ^ "To have and to hold till death do us part: Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and the Indian National Congress «".
  38. ^ "Until Lions Have Their Historians, Tales of the Hunt Shall Always Glorify the Hunters: Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, History Retold".
  39. ^ "The Ambiguous Identity of a Kashmiri".
  40. ^ "Several Captors Hold Kashmir Captive «".
  41. ^ "Historical Distortions Galore".
  42. ^ "University of Oklahoma visiting professor explores life of her grandfather". 14 May 2013.
  43. ^ http://www.kashmirreader.com/08102012-ND-%E2%80%98we-must-try-to-emerge-as-one-community%E2%80%99-2584.aspx
  44. ^ "Epilogue Magazine -Jammu and Kashmir: Interview with Nyla Ali Khan". 26 January 2010.
  45. ^ http://www.tehelka.com/my-grandmother-died-a-sad-woman/
  46. ^ "I seek to reinterpret the repressive framework of colonialism: Dr. Nyla Ali Khan". 24 August 2015.
  47. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAY3pyjari8
  48. ^ https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfp1/v/t1.0-9/s720x720/10429343_10152939100336180_209351103431239707_n.jpg?oh=c871c96b852560681a624f074d7a4675&oe=54FD45D0&__gda__=1425640193_16f337fac07dbd7295a923e88400e5cd
  49. ^ "Dr. Nyla Khan: "The Cost of Conflict in Southeast Asia"".