Author : Rahul Pandita
Publisher : Random House India
ISBN : 978-8-18400-087-0
Rahul Pandita brings the ugly yet true story of Kashmiri Pandits who endured the torture from time to time since 1947 because of their faith in one way of reaching the almighty. In an ideal world, this reason for such brutal behaviour sounds so senseless and shallow but oft man has managed to put even animals to shame by his lowly actions.
Rahul was 14 years old in 1990 when his family was forced to exit their home in Srinagar during ethnic cleaning by Islamic militant. This was the time when the threatening calls for 'Azadi' from India by Kashmiri Muslims were getting louder, aggressive and violent against the minority population of Kashmiri Pandits. People were tortured and killed and were forced to leave their homes and spend the rest of their lives in exile in their own country.
As the author reminisces his personal story full of incidents of torture, violence, looting, exodus and unhealed scars, many policies and politicians stand disrobed in front of truth and revelation. While narrating his personal experience as well as those of others in the similar situation, he talks about the fictional mask that has conveniently been given to the facts to suit the needs. The narrative reflects the pain and suffering of the author - who witnessed everything first hand at a very tender age, who saw his parents mourning the loss of their loved ones, who saw a big part of their being dying when they became refugees in their own country, who still yearns to go back to his roots someday. This heart wrenching tale brings in front the ignored plight of a big section of Kashmiri land.
'For me, exile is permanent. Homelessness is permanent. I am uprooted in my mind. There is nothing I can do about it. My idea of home is too perfect. And home and love are two intertwined. I am like my grandfather, who never left his village his whole life. It was deeply embedded in his matrix, too perfect to be replicated elsewhere.' There is yearning, there is hope and there is pain when Rahul says, 'We will return permanently'.
'Our Moon has Blood Clots' is a sad yet compelling story about the open wounds of numerous families which became homeless and refugees in a matter of hours and days because of some mad fundamentalist fervor. Rahul Pandita has taken it upon himself to bring the names and numbers of every person who bore the brunt of this brutality. "I have made it my mission to talk about the 'other story' of Kashmir. I have reduced my life to names and numbers, I have memorised the names of every Pandit killed during those dark days, and the circumstances in which he or she was killed. I have memorised the number of people killed in each district. I have memorised how many of us were registered as refugees in Jammu and elsewhere." This is his way of making people aware of the forgotten chapter in the history of Kashmir.
It is heartening to read that in spite of such extremely harsh circumstances, the humane traits can thrive if one so desires and Rahul Pandita owes his thinking to his upbringing when he could confront an army chief by saying, "I have lost my home, not my humanity".
A great book to understand the real blood-stained history of the 'Paradise on Earth'.
A brief timeline at the end summarises the events in chronological order for reference.