24 May, 2014

#BookReview :: Our Moon Has Blood Clots: The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits by Rahul Pandita

Rahul Pandita was fourteen years old in 1990 when he was forced to leave his home in Srinagar along with his family, who were Kashmiri Pandits: the Hindu minority within a Muslim majority Kashmir that was becoming increasingly agitated with the cries of ‘Azadi’ from India. The heartbreaking story of Kashmir has so far been told through the prism of the brutality of the Indian state, and the pro-independence demands of separatists. But there is another part of the story that has remained unrecorded and buried. Our Moon Has Blood Clots is the unspoken chapter in the story of Kashmir, in which it was purged of the Kashmiri Pandit community in a violent ethnic cleansing backed by Islamist militants. Hundreds of people were tortured and killed, and about 3,50,000 Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave their homes and spend the rest of their lives in exile in their own country. Rahul Pandita has written a deeply personal, powerful and unforgettable story of history, home and loss.

I don’t feel qualified enough to review this one hell of an emotional rollercoaster.

This is a firsthand narration situation leading up to and of the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits. The author has documented his own family’s experience and that of those around him. The horrors that the people have faced are not entirely known and while some of us have the barest idea, the real picture is something that has never been openly painted before. Reading it now, from a young boy’s point of view and narrated in a grown and experienced man’s language, it is an experience that one has to feel for themselves.

From the religious differences to the different agendas and to the brutal killings, the author hasn’t spared us any details. Imagine having to flee from your own home not knowing when or if ever you would be able to come back to it. Imagine having you friends murdered for no fault of their own. Imagine women raped and children orphaned as a natural and regular occurrence… well the last one isn’t so hard to imagine as it is our nation’s reality. But still, the effect and the toll it took on people is not something to be taken lightly and the Author has done an absolutely brilliant job of painting the picture for us.

What do we learn something from it or what do we feel something after reading it is going to be different for each one of us. But the fact remains that this is one of the best non-fiction or rather one of the best books by an Indian this year.

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