"Not all those who wander are lost." – JRR Tolkien
“The issue of kashmiri pandit’s exodus is nothing more than a matter of laughter or ‘a little something where people had to migrate and for which their children got reservations in colleges’- for many kashmiri pandit’s struggle is minor upheaval. There are many who still do not know what really happened. To know one needs to read the story of The Pandits of Kashmir, and that too firsthand accounts. And that is what this book provides, a detailed firsthand account. To understand the kashmir issue, the struggle of kashmiri pandits needs to be understood first, here is the book review of Our Moon Has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita.”
‘… and an an earlier time when the flowers were not stained
with blood, the moon with blood clots!’
Our Moon Has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita is the truth of the life that Kashmiri Pandits have lived, their exile, their ancestral history, discrimination that has been part of their life, since the 14th century.
Rahul Pandta has written an insightful, and easy to read history of Kashmir Pandits, and how with many Muslim rulers since 14th century, many Pandits had to convert to Islam. How since then, Kashmiri Pandits were ridiculed, humiliated and till date are subject to the same treatment in Kashmir.
Just before this book I read, Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer, and though that book has a different approach towards the story of Kashmir. Both these books, talk about Kashmir on common grounds, and both these books, help one understand, how not only Kashmiri Pandits have had a tragic life, but the Kashmir that once was, no longer is. The brotherhood, the culture that was, no longer is.
I was born three years after my family migrated from their homeland, Sopore, Kashmir. In a way, I had lost everything, much before I was born. I had no cultural heritage, no ancestral history that I could be shown, no place or antiques of my family. I always saw one photograph of our home in Sopore that was a three storey bungalow. And then I saw another photograph of that same, grand home reduced to a single storey, burned down. Then, as a child, I could not understand the graveness of the matter. Though I had been told how we had been made to leave Kashmir by Muslims, but never the reasons, never the humiliation of it all. The human tragedy was very less talked about. Apparently we have moved on. But, whenever Kashmir flashes in front of their eyes on tv, their eyes and heart are glued to it. When they talk about that Kashmir, the pain that you hear in their voice, of having lost their homeland it will make you helpless, as helpless as they were then.
I always asked my father one question, who was the one fighting for us? I failed to understand, that in a country filled with freedom fighters, how come no one raised the issue of the oppression and discrimination Kashmiri Pandits had been subjected to. Outside our community, was there anyone who raised their voice for us? Nobody. And there still is no one. I love Rahul Pandita’s book more so, not only for the first hand accounts and brilliant narration, but for the fact that he has mentioned this fact that nobody fought for us ever. ‘There are no grants for research on the Kashmir issue.’ I agree with his point of comparing our sufferings with those of Jewish prisoners in Auschwitz camp, the campaign against us by Muslims in Kashmir and Pakistan was much like, Hitler’s campaign in Germany, against Jews.
But, we only lost our homeland, never our humanity. And that is the sole reason of our existence. We may still be a minority, but we continue to live a prosperous life because we did not treat anybody else the way we were treated. We did not kill Muslims, the way they killed us. Because in spite of everything, we remembered those Muslim friends who in spite
of the insurgence wave, did not waver and supported us, maybe, discreetly, but did. I was never told to stay away from Muslims, ever. One of my first best friends was a Muslim Kashmiri girl, and my parents loved her as much as they would a Kashmiri Pandit.
Brutal killings of Kashmiri Pandits, the struggle of setting up a home in a place much, much different in culture, language, temperature, and temperament of people, with nothing and as refugees, thousands of Kashmiri Pandits shifted to Jammu, living in one room. Six people living in one room. Thousands living in slums, who had nothing. These stories, rather these realities have been told with as much pain as we had suffered them.
The details of the raid by Kazakhs from Pakistan, in Kashmir, in 1947 has been told as a first-hand account. This raid was the reason why Kashmir joined hands with India and again, Rahul Pandita’s expression and writing style will move you.
Overall, this book will not only acquaint you with the Kashmiri Muslim, and Kashmiri Pandit brotherhood, but also the reasons of the struggle of the Pandits because of many other Kashmiri and Pakistani Muslims. It will help you understand what happened in Kashmir and if you are a Kashmiri Pandit, it will help you understand your struggle and existence.
This is an excellent book about the Kashmir issue, a true book, written very well, with first-hand account of the author himself; it makes the book much more credible and a very interesting read.
For those who want to understand what happened to Kashmir, not just the Kashmiri Pandits, Curfewed Night will help you understand how even the Indian military created problems for Kashmiri Muslims, who were innocent. But, Our Moon has Blood Clots will make you understand why Indian army had to stay in Kashmir.
Curfewed Night, is a good basic book with first-hand accounts of a Muslim Kashmiri, who faces a world, where because of the Kashmir situation he is tagged as a militant if he is a Muslim and who lives a threatened life in Kashmir because of both the militants and the Indian military.
Kashmir has been an issue of debate since 1947. Our Moon Has Blood Clots’ best part is that it talks about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits not as a happening or a sad tale. It talks about it as brutally as it was, as that life shattering experience that changed the entire life course of Kashmiri Pandits and as worse an experience as was of the Jews in Nazi Germany.
To understand the author’s viewpoint http://www.newslaundry.com/2013/01/nl-interviews-rahul-pandita/ Please watch this interview of Rahul Pandita.
– Saburi Pandit