Book: Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle
Author: Saifuddin Soz
Publisher: Rupa Publications
One of the most sensitive subjects currently in India, Kashmir has been the victim of political unrest and prejudices, militancy, terrorism and religious fanaticism since aristocracy spread its roots there. With a solution to the turmoils in Kashmir seeming to be aeons away, it becomes imperative for one to understand the origins of the unrest in Kashmir. How did the ‘paradise on earth’ become a living hell for its inhabitants? Who is responsible for the downfall of Kashmir? When did it all begin? In this book, Saifuddin Soz answers all this and more.
Hailing from Kashmir, Saifuddin Soz is an Indian professor and a long-time Member of Parliament of India. With a Master’s in Economics, he has worked as a professor in several colleges in Kashmir and has a thorough knowledge of the history of Kashmir. Having authored several books addressing the crisis in Kashmir, Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle is his latest work. The book takes us through a detailed history of Kashmir, through records old and new and accounts of travellers, both Indian and foreign. He talks about the mythological tales surrounding the origins of Kashmir and progresses through several facts as found in books like Rajatarangini and Kashmir: Exposing the Myth Behind the Narrative, and extensively quotes historians like Marc Aurel Stein. He has also added his opinions to each of the revelations in the books and time and again urges the reader to form their own.
Over a long period of time, a tolerant social behaviour of humanism, toetherness, respect for each other’s beliefs evolved, which became a unique feature of the life in Kashmir and got ultimately recognized as Kashmiriyat.
The book is an eye-opener for anyone wanting to know about the history of Kashmir. For instance, for someone who has been hearing nothing but stories of atrocities in Kashmir now, I was thoroughly surprised by the harmony that existed between the citizens of Kashmir, before autocracy took over. The author takes us through the struggles of the Kashmiris under the hands of the Afghans, the Sikhs and the Dogras, and their fight for freedom. He further gives great insight into the Treaty of Amritsar and the Delhi Agreement of 1952 and tells us how armed militancy began and progressed in Kashmir. The book ends with his valuable opinions on what lays ahead for the future of Kashmir and what can be the possible solutions to the prevailing issues there.
Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle by Saifuddin Soz gives us an insight into the history of Kashmir and the reasons behind its current situation. The author being someone who has been witness to the struggles of Kashmir, who holds a position of power and has had his own daughter kidnapped by the militants, these insights are as real as it gets. Because of the extensive historical anecdotes, the book begins a bit slow. But it quickly progresses into a smooth read and I was glued to it till the very end. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know Kashmir’s history and the stories of its struggle.
PS: I received a copy of the book from the publishers in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.