“From Home to House: Writings of Kashmiri Pandits in Exile” is a beautiful collection of heart wrenching short stories. The book hold excerpts from celebrated books like The Garden of Solitude, Blood on Forehead and Refugee in My Own Country. It carries stories of a fanatic friend, an aging old man, encounter with militants, and with non-fiction essays all by exiled Kashmiri Pandits. Some are translated from Kashmiri and Hindi to English. Stories like Addition, Subtraction and division, Under the shadow of Militancy and Garden of Solitude stands out of crowd.
While writing this piece, I was constantly thinking about how many people actually read the preface of any anthology. This book’s preface made me learn that preface works like the holy symbols imprinted on front doors. They tell a lot about house owner like religious leanings of house owners. In case of such books, we get to know how book publishers think about the issue. The preface leads us to the fateful night of 19th January 1990 exactly when exodus begun. But it tells a different story and contradicts with Rahul Pandita’s book especially on part of Kashmiri Muslims. In RP’s memoir, we have learned that Kashmiri Muslims played the role of a catalyst in the crisis. They got overpowered with greed and religious extremism. This book describes helplessness on part of Kashmiri Muslims. Yet it gives a new perspective. As the book carries personal experiences and echoes the voice of KP groups so it must be read widely.
Stories I loved:
The Garden of Solitude: Excerpted from Siddharth Gigoo’s famous book The Garden of Solitude is a great read. I am quoting one line from the story: “Everyday I live the life of a centipede, I crawl. I lick. I hide. I sting. I wake up to the fumes o f kerosine in the Morning.” Siddharth Gigoo has shown the refugee camps in such a way that while reading you begin feeling the pain of exiled KPs.
Addition, Subtraction and division: It shows the discomfort of an exiled KP in other caste marriages. The pain of losing ages family tradition reflects beautifully. But as survival demands a big price so Kashmiriyat is the price for exiled KPs.
50 Words Verdict
It is an easy read for people who are interested in reading stories from varied people. Multiple accounts on one specific topic helps the reader in understanding the problem and pain of affected community collectively. Hence It’s a good book to read.