It’s not until few months ago that we got to hear the real picture of the Kashmir issue from someone who has gone through it all! An issue which we have talked about, read about and heard about, but about which we probably know nothing really. Most people think everything would be settled if no war is waged over Kashmir!?! 21 years of staying in exile with every moment spent in anticipation of returning to their motherland – ask any Kashmir Pandit what they feel about it and it will tug at your heart strings without fail!
We became friends with one such family in Hyderabad, and met a few more people through them and their experiences would melt the heart of any stone-hearted person too! One such migrant, told us about her neighbour’s family – all of them were killed except one and when she begged them to kill her too, they left her alive and told her they needed someone to weep over the dead bodies too!
Every time they carry a sack of Kashmiri veggies from Jammu, I know how much it warms their heart – they feel the scent of Kashmir in it and wonder if anybody can understand how much they have lost in the past 21 years.
And recently, I laid my hands on one book which has thrown light on what happened during the period – written by a Pandit, who had to leave Kashmir in 1990 due to the political turmoil, it is based on all that they had to go through before, while and after leaving their land, and that includes the present.
The book captures the mixed feelings so well – people wondered whether they were being cowards in running away from their homes, or brave in putting up their bold face and going away to save their lives. The feelings of people who lost 2 generations – one group whose young sons were taken away to camps to train them for earning their azaadi, and the Pandits – whose older gen could not adapt themselves to not breathing the air of another land they had taken refuge in! The beautiful bond that flourished between the Pandits and the Muslims, one which had to be broken just because of the existing turmoil and how the neighbours, friends and the classmates missed each other and waited for them to return back to their homelands, in the hope of living their lives like before.
In addition to handling such an important issue so well, all credit to the author for writing so beautifully in just his debut novel! Do pick up the book and am sure you will love reading it!