Authors: Sanjay Kak
Publisher: Penguin (2011)
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Few words have the ability to incite excitement, and opinions, in India like Kashmir does. Last year was an especially brutal one in the Valleys history. Numerous Kashmiri’s, many of them young boys, were killed in encounters between the people and the State. The bloodbath rightly elicited outrage from many parts of the world. Unfortunately the memory of those unaffected is very short; in India, particularly so.
For these reasons and more, this book, Until My Freedom Has Come: The New Intifada in Kashmir, couldn’t have been brought out at a better time. Released roughly a year after the people’s protests in Kashmir, this book brings together the voices of journalists, intellectuals and others from the valley offering outsiders an insight into what life in a militarized zone is really like.
To those of us just exposed to the sensationalist voice of the media, this book will be a painful and heartfelt read. To those who have lived their lives largely cocooned from any news of the atrocities the Indian State seems capable of committing, this book will stun and astound. Possibly for the first time, a mainstream publication in India has had the courage to compile first hand accounts of people from the valley and beyond; the voices of those who have suffered and lost. The book manages to capture the rage and suffering of lives destroyed by an unfair conflict, while simultaneously encouraging hope by showing us the raw courage of a people unwilling to be unheard.
Moving and haunting, the book will at times leave readers with a sense of unmitigated anguish and at others, sheer anger. The book is a powerful read for anyone interested in the political turmoil faced by Kashmir today. It’s a reflection of an exciting new phase in Kashmir, and leaves you wanting to know more.
Verdict: This book is a necessity for those who want to know more about the conflict in Kashmir.