The story is about a Bangalore born and bred woman, Shalini, on a trip to Kishtwar in Jammu and Kashmir, looking for Basheer Ahmed- a cloth salesperson whom her mother had befriended back in Bangalore. Her stay in Kashmir gives her (and through her to the reader- Indian reader, in particular), a glimpse into the workings that lead to Kashmir’s plight. Through events which are routine to the residents, but baffle Shalini, the Indian reader is shown the presence of militancy sympathizers, their motivations, counter-motivations and the precarious placement of Kashmir at the intersection of two types of terror- one by the militants, one by the Indian State/ Army.
The real beauty of the story lies in that it doesn’t focus on acts of terrorism, nor on pages and pages of Army brutality, but on myriad emotions- the relationship between a mother and daughter, between friends, between strangers, on love, desire and lust. Laced with many strong female characters- from the independent Shalini, to her fiery mother, the resilient Zoya, and to my most favorite- the friendly and funny Amina, it is a most endearing tale of relationships in the backdrop of geopolitical strains.
What this book also reminds us very explicitly is our privilege in sitting comfortably and talking about Kashmir- how Kashmir is nothing more than a ‘dinner party’ discussion for us, how far removed we are in our understanding of the ground realities of Kashmir, and how easily we can detach ourselves from the fate of that land- how much ever we claim to love it, how much ever we oppose the Indian State’s heavy-handedness in Kashmir, we will, in the end, fall back into the comforts of our lives, distant from Kashmir, sometimes in geography, and always in hard realities. The story leaves us wondering what more price needs to be paid for freedom in one of the most heavily militarized places in the world.
ये था The Far Field का रिव्यू। तो अगर कुछ अच्छा पढ़ना है तो इसे पढ़ें।
तब तक पढ़ते रहिए।