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“Our Moon Has Blood Clots – The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits” by Rahul Pandita

Published By Random House India

Rs 499/- Pages  258,  Genre Non-fiction

When the reader finishes reading a book, he emerges from the experience either entertained or more knowledgeable. Very few books have it in them to leave their reader completely speechless and moved to tears for hours on end. Rahul Pandita’s “Our Moon Has Blood Clots” is one such book.

This work of non-fiction is a masterpiece as far as the telling of the controversial exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits from their homes way back in 1989-90 is concerned. Unfortunately, Rahul Pandita belongs to a generation of the Kashmiri Pandits that both experienced and witnessed the exodus.

The  book tells one of the most tragic tales of the modern times. The issue of the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits is laid bare in bone-chilling and mind numbing details. This brutal and most inhuman saga reads like a thriller. Rahul Pandita is successful in keeping the reader turning the pages with the honest account of those turbulent days in the history of the valley.

The book is divided in five parts. In the beginning, the narrator traces the origins of the Kashmiri Pandits and how  misfortunes after misfortunes have befallen upon them at amazing regularities since good olden days.

Soon the narrative shifts to the events of 1989-90 that led to the exodus leaving the Pandits as refugees in their own country. The conspiracy to uproot and scare them into exile is so well-orchestrated and perfectly executed that at the plight of these harried souls often falling to the bullets even the most cruel heart melts like the wax from the burnt-out candle.

The hardships and the betrayals they face at the refugee camps or at the hands of the hostile landlords leave the reader with only one prayer that the almighty must never put even enemies through such tragic and unfortunate conditions.

The events of 1947 when the most horrific tribal raids took place are gory enough to give any reader sleepless nights. How brave Kashmiri Pandits choose to fall to the enemy bullets rather than compromise their dignity and surrender honour. The account of those incidents is so vivid that the tears do not, even once, dry up while going through them.

The fourth and fifth parts deal with how the narrator tries to come to terms with the catastrophe of his homelessness, his special and priceless bond with his elder brother Ravi and his mother’s failing health. As the narrative unfolds at the lightning speed, the reader’s admiration and respect for the lion-hearted narrator only grows.

Who can come to terms with the trauma of his childhood home inhabited by unknown people? What can the visit to such a home abandoned in the most hostile conditions bring forth? The account of this visit is so emotionally charged that the heart goes out to the narrator immediately.

What makes “Our Moon Has Blood Clots” extremely readable is its lucid prose. It is so free flowing with attention paid to every minute detail that the reader feels as if the entire saga is unfolding right before his eyes. The tension keeps building to the last page. The end leaves the reader heart-broken and  thoughtful beyond one’s imagination.

To sum up, these lines from the book come to mind, “When I saw Nehru for the first time in Lal Chowk, I was a refugee in my own state sixty years later, I am a refugee in my own country”. They pierce like an arrow and set us thinking what kind of apology to the Kashmiri Pandits will make them feel good.

“Our Moon Has Blood Clots” is a must read for all those who want to know the first hand authentic account of the exodus that took place twenty three years ago. The readers with weak hearts will want to think twice before plunging themselves in to the beautifully evocative and emotionally charged “Our Moon Has Blood Clots – The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits”.


@GheTa

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