Even though this is a small book, it is not an easy one to read. Pain, anger, distress and helplessness is what you experience while reading through the book. The other day I was seeing a debate on the television on the 25th anniversary of the mass exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits which was trying to ascertain who really was responsible for the exodus of the Kashmiri pandits. Though at the end of the debate I lamented at the loss of more than 30 minutes of my precious time as it was nothing more than mud-slinging among the spokespersons of the political parties who were invited. But that debate did trigger me to read this book which was in my ‘To-reads’for a long time.
It is a personal recounting of the mass exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits from their own homes and the elements who were involved in this act of extreme brutality. There are so many personal stories of the Pandits who had to flee from their state. The author also takes us back to the period of 1947 when the tribal invaders had attacked the state, through an account told by Rahul’s uncle. probably that was where all this started.
The tragedy of the Kashmiri Pandits is much more than the bloodshed and loss of personal lives. They have been wiped from history. Many have been converted, many have left the country, many have forgotten their rituals. Is there anything more sad? I fail to understand just as the author as to what ‘Azaadi’ required one’s own people to be killed with such brutality.