Indian-administered Kashmir, high in the Himalayan foothills, has been the scene of four years of fighting between Kashmiri secessionists and Indian security forces. Indian troops are in control of the streets of Srinagar, the state capital, but Kashmir's Muslim militants are a force to be reckoned with. They have imposed an austere lifestyle on what used to be an enticing tourist spot, as Andrew Whitehead discovered:
Don't go to Srinagar for the nightlife. Even if you're willing to risk the military patrols, you might be just a little disappointed. The guide to Kashmir still on sale at Srinagar airport lists twenty-three category 'A' hotel. The choice has narrowed a little of late. There's just one hotel still open. Ahdoos. Homely enough; eager to please; and with a better than average restaurant. Not that it's got a lot of competition. Thinking of dining out in Srinagar? Think again! The cinema? Sorry, all closed. A nightcap? Not a chance. There is a notice in every bedroom in Ahdoos hotel. Alcohol is not permitted - anyone drinking in their room does so at their own risk.
This is the new political correctness, Kashmir-style. It's not rotting livers Ahdoos is warning you against, but the new puritans of Kashmiri nationalism. The people who closed down the cinemas, burnt out the clubs, turned the beer stores into sweet shops and told Kashmiri women to dress with due modesty.
It has to be said that the young men and women of Srinagar do not bridle all that much at this asceticism. The streets are deserted after dark, not imply because there's nowhere to go. The Kashmir Valley is awash with Indian troops. Go where you will, there they are. Lolling by the roadside; searching passengers on a minibus; settling in to roadside bunkers. Given the persistent allegations of arbitrary detention, torture, even custodial killings levelled against Indian forces in Kashmir, going without an evening out is only common sense.
Friday prayers at Srinagar's main mosque - and it feels more like a meeting of the resistance. The devotional duties over, the chief priest leads the worshippers in chants of "azaadi", freedom. Then a leader of a local mujahideen takes the microphone. He issues a call to arms. No-one takes it amiss.
"Kashmir is not at peace", the hotel valet told me as I checked in. It's one of the world's unreported wars. Four years of guerilla insurgency have taken thousands of lives, without shaking Delhi's determination to hold on. The casualties are considerable - it's not quite Bosnia but a lot more bloody than Northern Ireland. The mutual animosity between the Muslims of the Kashmir Valley and the Indian security forces all around them is all too evident.
Kashmir is the only Indian state where Muslims are in a majority. But this is not, at root, a communal conflict, however much neighbouring Pakistan has tried to portray it as one. Islamabad arms and trains some of the guerilla outfits. Kalashnikov-toting veterans of Afghanistan have moved south in search of a new jihad. But the best known, and probably best supported, of the Kashmiri groups says it wants only independence. Kashmir has been fighting for freedom for 400 years, a leader of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front insisted. We fought the Moghuls and we fought the Afghans - and they were Muslims. So why should we now want to be part of Pakistan?
But even the secular-minded JKLF operates within earshot of Kashmir's muezzins. My clandestine meeting with the JKLF was within the grounds of a mosque. It was the JKLF which ordered Srinagar's cinemas to close down and boarded up the beer shops. They say now it was to deprive the Indian government of tax revenue rather than to impose moral censorship. But Islam and Kashmiri nationalism are so closely entwined, neither will do anything to offend the other.
So what do young Kashmiris do of an evening? Well, they stay in. Sometimes watching videos - of Hindi films, from the country they are fighting to escape. And some of course have an evening job - lobbing grenades at Indian sentry posts, taking pot shots at paramilitary patrols, that sort of thing.
Srinagar was once a tourist centre. One day, surely, it will be again. The beauty of Kashmir defies the conventional cliches. In the foothills of the Himalayas, adorned with the most magical lakes, and a climate all the rest of India envies. But it's difficult to conceive of more polarised enemies. And while this stand-off continues, young Kashmiris and young Indian soldiers will carry on getting killed; Srinagar's hotels will stay boarded up; and the zealots among Kashmir's Muslims will continue to call the shots.