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Monday, 2 November 2015

Our Moon has Blood Clots

Book Title: Our Moon has Blood Clots
Author: Rahul Pandita 
Our Moon has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita is much more  than a memoir. It is a piece of history, a jagged piece of the truth that you want to hold onto - no matter how much it cuts your hand. It reminds you, as it cuts deeper into you, that there is a truth, a deeper narrative that has been ignored in the mainstream portrayals of Kashmir. It tells you that there is a silence that hangs in the valley - a kind of silence that is so thick, that it echoes and resounds in the valley and beyond.

Rahul Pandita's writing is effortless - and it is the kind of writing that comes from the inheritance of pain, loss and a history of torment. And yet, in the tale he tells you, there is no moment of victimhood - but the powerful undercurrent of survival. He starts with his childhood, recounting a narrative that begins with a beautiful Kashmir, that, according to his grandfather, even the gods are jealous of. As he grows up, the simmering tensions become a real thing, as pages from a school magazine are torn out because they carry the images of a Hindu Goddess, the celebrations in the face of a Pakistani victory in a cricket match, and the battle cry of azaadi - all go through to frighten the Pandit community into a life of exile.

And so begins the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits. Rahul's own family leaves the Valley behind in 1990, after they silently watch a bunch of boys in the neighbourhood deciding to loot and occupy the cadaverous remains of the houses that once were. The exodus is marked with tense moments, and remind you of memoirs from the Holocaust era.

And soon, the Pandit community becomes a large island of "nobody's people" - and the dreams of reclaiming a land they once knew as their home remain in the air, neglected and unattended to. It is a difficult book to read, but an important one, nevertheless - for the silencing of voices has gone on for too long.