Kaash Kashmir is a play that highlights a very important but very much neglected issue of the violence meted out to the Kashmiri Pandits, and them leaving the valley in mass numbers. It is the story of Rohan, a Hindu boy, and Ayesha, a Muslim girl. Their families have lived peacefully as neighbors for all their lives. But then there are miscreants and militants powered and supported by terrorist groups who want to drive Hindus out of the valley in the name of the struggle for Kashmir’s Independence (or Kashmir’s joining Pakistan as some powers want it to be). The Pandit family struggles with life in a Jammu refugee camp before moving to Delhi. Rohan grows up to join the Indian Army and finds himself posted in Kashmir among the people he once knew and loved.
To be truthful, I had little or no idea about the issue and was appalled at what I read. I felt ashamed that I have stayed ignorant about this for so long even when I had people who about me, capable of giving a first-hand account of what really happened. This book has urged me to read more about this time period. Layers of dust gathered over the years may have dulled the incident but I now know the pain would never have dulled for the people who really suffered.
I am not used to reading plays and hence it took me about ten pages to get hang of the style but once I did, it was a fast read. I mostly read the dialogues skipping the names. Language is easy. The characters are adequately developed. I was not really impressed by the storytelling style though. It was very flat.
Need to get the facts right:
There are a couple of things I could do and do without in the book. The author takes a very strong point of view against Arundhati Roy which I found really harsh and unnecessary. Also, he makes a huge show of pointing out facts but gets some basic things wrong. Like who celebrates Dussehra in December or how it is three decades between 1971 and 1991. Some math error indeed.
It is a short read but gives you quite something to ponder over and kind of provides you the highlights on what is happening in one part of our country. I would recommend it to anyone wanting a starter on the 1991 exodus of Kashmiri Pandits but I know there are so many better texts out there to be read.
I want to request anyone reading this review to suggest me some good books to be read on this topic. Please.
Book: Kaash Kashmir Author: Rajesh Talwar Format: Kindle Edition Publication: 2017 No. of pages: 196 My rating: 3/5