When you are reading a book written by an English Professor, your expectations will definitely rise and when those expectations are not met, you would feel highly disappointed. That’s how I felt after reading this book.
I received the book from Blackbuck Publication to review and I accepted for the main reason because I really liked the story. I have read a lot about the Kashmiri Pundits who had to leave their homes and were called migrants in their own country. I won’t say that I understand their pain because no one else can understand their pain but them only. The Kashmiri Pundits suffered atrocities on the hands of Jihadis and their own country-men. They were butchered and torn away and yet very few came forward to help them.
This book is the story of Siddharta, the youngest son of Nund Pundit’s family. While he was counting the days for his return back home, his family was destroyed. His Elder brother went missing, his elder sister was raped and her body parts were torn away, his parents were beaten up and his little sister was left traumatized by the terrorists. They were forced to leave their big home and land and were forced to migrate to a small room in migrant camp of Jammu. The worst part was that they didn’t receive much support from their own fellow-country-men. They were treated as outsiders in Jammu and Siddharta was even denied admission in the regular school as he was a Kashmiri migrant. The sudden turn of events forced the young boy to turn into a man. At an age when he should be focusing on his studies and enjoying life, he is forced to take up the responsibility of the family. He has to suffer the discrimation but that did not force him to give up on life. He studied harder than ever and scored very well in his exams. During his graduation, he was introduced to the world of literature, philosophy and yoga. It is at this time he makes attempts to understand the true meaning of life. In this attempt of his, he makes some mistakes but at the same time learns a lot too. His interest in literature takes him to the Nagaland where he wishes to do a Doctorate in literature and at the same time teach the students. It is in this place, he experienced the hatred, the love and finally he gets something which completes him as a person.
Though the book expresses lots of different things and the author has made an attempt to cover almost everything in his book but I liked the part about the Kashmiri Pundits most. Author was successful in expressing pain and agony of Kashmiri Pundits. At some points the pain would be so much that your own heart would cry out for them, some of the incidents are so horrible that you would not be able to believe that people actually suffered so much and that too in their own country. What I understood from the book was that author was trying to make us understand the meaning of life and death and its importance. But at times he lost his control at the story and there are lots of loopholes and discontinuity which hampers the flow of the story. At one moment you would be immersed deep in the story and other moment you would be left wondering what exactly the author meant. The book has a very deep meaning to it and author’s intentions are also very pure but he has not been successfully able to express his emotions and ideas so well. At times, there are too many characters in the book and there are sudden and strange thing happening and you would fail to understand that what exactly the author was trying to express at that very moment.
As I have said earlier that my expectations were too high from the author with him being having a doctorate in English and I am sure some of you might agree with me. It’s the lines like the following which irritated me the most:
“The white the black the short the tall the fat the slim the Hindu the Muslim the Christian the Sikh the Buddhist the Jain the Kashmiri the Dogri the Ladakhi the Gujjar the Brahmin the Vaish the Kshatriys the Harijan were one in feeling his agony.” Or “They bit her cheeks her lips her ears her nose they squeezed her arms her shoulders her breasts they bit her belly her thighs her vulva and then in the fury of lust entered her.”
There are some more things in the book which does not make any sense. If only author could have left them out and would have used a bit few characters, this book would have turned out to be a great one.
But still I would say that if you are interested in reading about the Kashmiri Pundits and you also feel that world would be much better place without the hatred and racial discrimination and wish to understand the meaning of life and death then you can read this book once. The book may have its shortcomings but still it does have a deep meaning to it which does make it a good read.
Author: Ravi Dhar
Publisher: Blackbuck Publishers