Rating – 5/5 Stars
After “Kashmirnama”, the author has come up with yet another deeply researched piece of excellence. “Kashmir and Kashmiri Pandit” takes a deep dive into the plight of Kashmiri pandits throughout the lifetime of Kashmir (1500 years, to be precise).
The book touches every ruler who put a foot in or ruled Kashmir. Based on published facts, this book is a complete account of the exodus. In the end, the author has published snippets of his interactions with locals who didn’t leave the state in 1990. It helps to see the situation from the point of view of a local Kashmiri.
We sitting far away from Kashmir, blindly believes whatever is told to us through social media like it is devoid of any pandit now, all the temples in Kashmir were demolished or all the places with Hindu names have been changed. The author has blasted them by providing fact-based evidence, including photographs of grand temples, streets with Hindu names, and Interviews of pandits living there. The author doesn’t claim that attacks on temples never happened or names didn’t change but restrain from exaggerating the situation.
For any event, he quotes 3-4 renowned author and then analysis their prejudices to understand who could be saying it accurately and who could be biased. Throughout the book, he has tried to maintain a balanced stance. However, his leftist ideology is palpable when he explains the situation from a Muslim’s angle. At many points, he seems biased and tries to mollify the intensity of the situation.
It is an audacious and courageous attempt to put forward the real story of Kashmiri Pandits and how the situations worsened and reached exodus. Those of have read “Kashmirnama” may find a lot of similarities between these two. Although, the focus of this book is entirely on the story of the exodus.