Trust amid “trust deficit”

War, credit, and improvidence in Kashmir

by ADITI SARAF

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In Kashmir, traders used the term “trust deficit” both to refer to the lack of faith in the Indian state, and to the mistrust that tinged credit transactions within their own community. Although trust‐based informal credit had been undermined by political violence and mistrust, it remained the basis of capital and commodity circulation in the marketplace, challenging normative assumptions of trust as a prerequisite for credit. The concept of reflective improvidence illuminates how traders maintained economic relations amid violence and volatility by deviating from traditional practices of forecast that are commonly drawn on to determine credit transactions. Instead, the open temporal dynamic between trust and credit emerged as a site where traders transformed commercial and political relations in the flux of war and uncertain futures. Traders forged collectivities that, however tenuous, resisted the communalized narratives that sought to frame the Kashmir conflict. [violence, commerce, trust, credit, frontiers, war economy, Srinagar, Kashmir]