Ashutosh Mehndiratta was born and raised in New Delhi. He holds an MBA from the University of Alabama and has had a long career in
Book Review: Our Moon Has Blood Clots
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There’s no one better than Rahul Pandita, the author of this book, to summarize my thoughts as I reached the end of Our Moon Has Blood Clots:
“Another problem is the apathy of the media and a majority of India’s intellectual class who refuse to even acknowledge the suffering of the Pandits. No campaigns were ever run for us; no fellowships or grants given for research on our exodus. For the media, the Kashmir issue has remained largely black and white – here are a people who were victims of brutalization at the hands of the Indian state. But the media has failed to see, and has largely ignored the fact that the same people also victimized another people.
It has become unfashionable to speak about us, or raise the issue of our exodus. But I have made it my mission to talk about the ‘other story’ of Kashmir.”
When it comes to Kashmir, we always see the current chaos and atrocities going on there that are a result of fascist oppressive politics. These should be talked about and against, there’s no doubt about it. But there’s a past to Kashmir that’s gruesome, filled with violence and invasions, religious fanaticism and terrorism, and an exodus that forced its Kashmiri Pandit residents into two options: flee or die. And this past isn’t seen and talked about as much, which does a disservice to the people who have suffered.
Rahul Pandita was 14 years old when the exodus took place in 1990. A Hindu family in a Muslim majority area, the Pandits were either forced to convert, killed using various methods, or if they were lucky, escaped with their lives, while their homes burned or were taken over by ‘jihadis’ fighting for what they called ‘Azadi’ from the Indian State. They didn’t want ‘infidels’ living there and claimed the land to be theirs, when fact is that these very Pandits had been living there for millennia.
The author recounts his past, his experience of fleeing from Kashmir, losing his home, losing his friends, memories souring, the people he and his family lost, the humanity that’s still chugging through his veins because as he tells someone, ‘I’ve lost my home, not my humanity’, the heartbreaks he and his family felt, the untethered feeling that comes with displacement – it’s gut-wrenching to read and I, for one, shed angry tears for two reasons. One, because of the pain radiating from this book. And two, because however much we feel their pain, mine can never equal theirs because I didn’t go through it. Helplessness overcame me, because I couldn’t do anything. Anger overcame me, because all of this happened and not many people talk about these atrocities for whatever reason. Disgust overcame me, because humanity continues to fail itself over and over again.
This isn’t a comprehensive history of Kashmir. It’s a memoir, and Rahul Pandita’s heartbreak and pain comes tumbling through. Combined with the horrors of the past, this book is a potent force that will bring you to your knees while pouring this knowledge over your head. Nay, dumping it over your head, because everything that happened isn’t as delicate as some much romanticized stories tend to tell.
Our Moon Has Blood Clots is a good place to start if you want to educate yourself about the Kashmiri Pandit exodus, but one caveat to keep in mind is to not put the onus of giving out every detail related to it on the author’s shoulders.
This is definitely a book that everyone must, must read. Without barriers.
Do check out another review of this book on Hindustan Times by Manjula Narayan
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In this workshop we will share with you our decade long experience of navigating the world of publishing in India (and abroad) . Suitable for authors looking to edit their manuscripts, publish their books and understand how to market their books effectively.
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