Zunaira Komal

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Davis, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10011

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Komal, Zunaira (California, Davis, U. of) "The Psychiatric Life of Azad Kashmir: Healing, Liberation and Islam"

ZUNAIRA KOMAL, then a graduate student at University of California, Davis, California, was awarded funding in February 2021 to aid research on “The Psychiatric Life of Azad Kashmir: Healing, Liberation, and Islam.” This dissertation fieldwork research consisted of twelve months of ethnographic research on the development of psychiatry in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 2005 in Kashmir. Particularly, this study explores the way in which psychiatry in this disputed territory (disputed between India and Pakistan) interacts with traditional practices of Islamic cures of the soul, as well as with the liberation struggle for Kashmir’s independence. Data collection included long-term ethnographic work at several hospitals and faith-healers’ clinics. Research findings showed that the rise of new discourses about mental health in the region are being mutually engaged and transformed by Islamic practices of healing, suffering, and resisting – making it so that this encounter between psychiatry and Islam is shaped both by antagonism and creative resonance.


Komal, Zunaira. 2022. “On Manic Poems: Listening for the Sense of ‘Azadi’ in Divine Calamity,” Political Theology 23:6, 543-559.