Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Review: Our Moon Has Blood Clots: The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits by Rahul Pandita

On the jacket: 

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 stayed awake the whole of last night to finish reading Our Moon Has Blood Clots because I simply had to. All through I was expecting something good to happen, but! Like most of the country, I am not much acquainted with the real situation up north, neither have I heard any first-hand stories of partition from my ancestors. My mother's ancestors are from Bangladesh, but both family had migrated to the capital city this side, when my grandparents were mere kids. So, to be frank, it's only through books, that I get to know a little bit about how partition, politics and religion have harmed people, leaving them homeless.

I had expected the book to be an account of gory killings and helplessness from the first line, but what I read gave me a mixed bag of emotions. Rahul's tales from his childhood, with examples of how the Pandits were treated, and even a sneak into the past, when different dynasties ruled over Kashmir, I would smile indulgently at the little boy's tales, shiver over the accounts of how one religion treated the other, and wonder over some facts which I read about the first time here. What was constant was the lump in my throat.

Easily on of the best Indian non-fictions, this is not just a tale of someone's life. It's a picture of Kashmir, through the eyes of a Kashmiri on exile from him own home. A true account of what really happened back then, it gives an absolute different perspective from what the media and government have been feeding us. 

A must read, not only to sensitise yourself, but to embrace the facts of how things are in the country.

Rating: *****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

1 comment:

  1. I am waiting for my copy of the book. Being from Kashmir, I have quite an interest in the history of this land and its people. Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer was an amazing book as well. Have you gone through it?


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