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Book review of Kasheer: One of the best written books on Kashmir- A fiction yet next to reality

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Author : Sahana Vijayakumar
Translated from Kannada by : Hemanth Shantigramha
Published by : Garuda Prakashan

Let me start the review by acknowledging the English translator: Shri Hemanth Shantigramha Ji. According to me he has done an excellent job translating the book from Kannada, the language in which the book is originally written in. Unfortunately, I do not know kannada, so I haven’t read the book in that language, so I cannot compare the translation. However, I still feel that the translator has done an excellent job , as I did feel the emotions that the author probably wanted the reader to feel, while reading this book.

Kasheer, means Kashmir in the Lost Koshur language. This is a multi narrative book and we see the events happening in the book through the perspectives of several people such as Narendra (The protagonist) who calls himself a researcher, but is much more than that, Mushtaq (a stone pelter in Kashmir), Meeradevi quote, unquote, an activist, Kashmir itself, Kailash Pandit, Hridyanath Pandit, Bashir Ahmed and many other people. Honestly, this is the only thing that I can nit-pick about this book. Too many narratives, which by the way, are all interesting to read about. So I wouldn’t particularly blame the author for not editing them out. But these many narratives might be too much for a beginner. An intermediate level reader will not have a problem though.

The book is basically about the genocide of the Kashmiri Pandits on and even before January 19, 1990. Narendra, the main protagonist, is a man who if exists in real life, can be the inspiration for many. A man with such deep knowledge and understanding of several topics, it is next to impossible for him to loose a debate about a topic, which he is well aware about, the list of those topics, by the way, is endless. The amount of information that the author has provided us through his character, about several topics such as, our history, Mohammad, Islam and many other topics, is INSANE! The amount of research done by the author is also unbelievable. Some amazing topics were truly interesting to read about, like the origin of Azaan and hijab. But reading about some things like the origin of stone pelting, it truly breaks one heart. The author has given proper sources and bibliography for almost everywhere when required. I can personally vouch for the author on this, because I spent the past two weeks, basically fact-checking the book. If you appreciate the effort, do like this video, share it with someone to whom you think it might be useful and subscribe to the channel.

So Narendra travels to Kashmir, after having a debate with Meeradevi, when she mentions that how he can comment on Kashmiris by only reading books and not actually visiting the place and seeing the plight of the people. He is welcomed by Sanjeev Kaul, a Kashmiri Pandit. Sanjeev helps Narendra discover the real Kashmir, not the reel one that tourists visit. He visits the homes of the people who stay there, the past homes of the Kashmiri Pandits, pre-exodus. He is deeply moved by seeing the standard of living that the Pandits were used to have and how they were living now. He also meets people like Kailash Pandit, who has a heart wrenching story, to make any human cry! He also helps people like Salim and Mushtaq, who are confused about their future. I truly appreciate the character of Salim. According to me, he is the true definition of a Muslim. He, unlike many others in Kashmir, but like several other true Muslims in the rest of the world, believes in peace and denies the violent aspects of his religion and religiously follows those parts that promote harmony.

The book goes in graphic details about how Kashmiri Pandits were murdered and the women abducted by Islamic extremists. The details are disturbing, yes, but also a very important part of the book, for the readers to understand why the Kashmiris had no other choice but to flee. The way these people are brainwashed, fleeing was the only choice. History is an eyewitness, these people had to flee out of their homes SEVEN TIMES! Now they are living as refugees at their own land.

I will recommend this book to each and every person, regardless of their ideologies. The Kashmir issue probably couldn’t have been written in any better fictionalized manner. Hats off to the author’s research on the topic. She had done something that no one has dared to do. I Will definitely read more of her work in the future.

Five out of Five stars.

About Me:

Hi , I am Harsh Agrawal . I am a Student Pursuing my BBA from RTMNU , Nagpur . I am the founder of the Keetabi Keeda Media Group. We read and review books of various genres such as Fiction , History , Politics , Self-help , Finance etc. Do connect with us on our Instagram . The handle is @keetabi_keeda. 

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