This was my first reading of the detailed account of Kashmir’s postmodern history describing the Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. Before this, I had read snippets in Bipin Chandra’s India since Independence and articles on the internet. Anyway, there’s not a huge amount of literature that I could find on the subject.
There was always a lump sitting in my throat when I was reading this book and a stabbing pain in my heart. Rahul Pandita has done justice to his memories of home by beautifully wrapping them in a story without including any propaganda. As it’s usually the case when you read other narratives of the exodus. Sometimes the book is a bittersweet experience when the author describes his paternal and maternal home in the valley. This weaves a beautiful before-terror image of Kashmir. He mainly focuses on the brutalities and the changing relationship of Pandits with the State. It’s surely a burning agony for a person who has always faced a feeling of homelessness or anyone who sympathizes with and understands this part of the history. As Pandita says,-
“Someone who is uprooted in his mind”
I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in knowing the other side of the Kashmir state. For the liberals who have forgotten the past and are too distracted with the present. One should remember that the wounds of the past usually heal in the present and some remain sore for the lifetime. Kashmir is one such wound of India. Every coin has two faces and one should know both of them to make a judgment.