- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Random House India; Latest edition (27 April 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9788184005134
- ISBN-13: 978-8184005134
- ASIN: 818400513X
- Package Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2 cm
- Customer Reviews: 561 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Our Moon Has Blood Clots: A Memoir of a Lost Home in Kashmir Paperback – 27 April 2014
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Words have just come from heart and carry all the pain, sufferings and longing. Mr. Rahul has put his heart on paper. A book which opened new horizon for me and gave a perspective to look. A book which you won't read in breaks but would read at a stretch till "_The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it
I wish we could change the past but I know we can't. However we can take lessons from our past and work presently for better future.
Our Moon Has Blood Clots is very insightful and gives a firsthand account of experience of the author himself, who was among the exodus of Kashmir during 1990, at an age of 14. During 1990, there was mass movement of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir to Delhi, Lucknow, Lahore and Allahabad, living their ancestral home, their history and culture behind. The plight of Kashmiri Pandits is now an forgotten story. Our generation will never understand or will try to find out, what made approx. 3.5 lacs Kashmiri Pandits to pack their bags and leave the valley, never to return back and stay in their own country as refugees.
After reading this book, I read Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer. Both these books are set during the same period and tells the story of Kashmir with different approach. Both this book help us to understand that not only Kashmiri Pandits had a tragic life, but also the Muslims had to suffer the brutality of both the militants and Indian Army. The brutal killings, fleeing away from home, setting up a home in a place much different in culture, language in refugee camps in Jammu, these realities are narrated with much pain.
"Our home in Kashmir had twenty-two rooms", my mother used to say this thing to every person she met.
This narrates the experience of a mother, who was in exile, who lost her home and her pride, staying in refugee camps, in tents, sharing the tent with one other family.
The memories through a 14 year old teenager paints a vivid images. Women cramped in lorries travelling towards Jammu, a man raising his fist and telling them that, "you will die", overhearing a conversation of a group of boys, discussing distribution of Pandit's houses which will be empty soon.
"At least go inside and piss; like a dog, you need to mark your territory," one of the boys tells his mate. "It's over," Pandit's father, a government worker, says, "we cannot live here anymore."
Rahul Pandita mentions in the book that he kept a record of each and every Pandit killed in the Valley during the exodus, because he wanted people to know the story of each and every Pandit killed. The government and the media completely neglected the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. In 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a Rs. 1,618 crore package to facilitate the return of the Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. Six thousand jobs were also announced for the Pandit youth in the Valley. Most of the jobs were never filled, due to the fear of being targeted by militants. The settlements provided to Kashmiri Pandits are cheap single-bedroom structures, with no drinking water facility. The real problem is harassment at work from their Muslim colleagues. Many Pandit employees don't receive their salaries on time.
This is an excellent book, full of true tragic stories, acquainting with Hindu-Muslim brotherhood, struggles of Kashmiri Pandits that forced them to flee to Jammu.
For those, who wants to know what happened in Kashmir during 1990s, and not just Kashmiri Pandits, I will suggest to read Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer. It gives an insight on the suffering of the Kashmiri Muslims during this period, how the Indian Army as well as the militants created problems for innocent Muslims. Kashmiri Muslims lives a threatened life in Kashmir because of both the Militants and the Indian Army and are tagged as militant where ever they go for being Kashmiri Muslim. It also gives an insight about how the Kashmiri youth are misguided by the Militants to cross the border and to go to Pakistan to get trained as an militant.
When the Hindu Pandit exodus happened in Kashmir in 1990, none were to know that such a horrific incident could give back anything worth, but with this book, we have an exception. Our Moon Has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita is a memoir of a lost home, of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits like Pandita himself, when they were forced out of the valley by insurgents funded by our neighboring country. But you may ask what good has it given? The biggest good it has given us is hope, hope that despite such barbaric crimes being committed openly against a part of the society, and after suffering at the hands of these barbarians, there remains enough humanity alive in them to not want the same thing for their tormentors.
Pandita was a young boy of 14 when he fled from his 22-roomed home in Srinagar with his parents and sister to Jammu where they lived in a single room, shifting localities and landlords for several years before he was able to save enough to buy a house in Delhi NCR. The story flits between the past and the present and is narrated by Pandita, who now is a journalist and still lives away from what was once his home. I don’t think I need to mention the gory details of the exodus which makes me shiver each time I read about it. How the families threatened then would have dealt with it, I can’t even begin to comprehend. The fear, the torture, the murders of loved ones...and the final blow of being chased away from their homes, these people had real strength to survive it.
While a lot of books talk about what happened in Kashmir, none that I’ve read talked about what happened after that, the reality of the refugees and the impact the exodus had on their lives. The promised government help, the rehabilitation and the retribution of the culprits, all just stay in papers or election speeches. Almost closing the third decade anniversary of the exodus, the Pandit community still remains in refugee settlements out of town, for the lack of better facilities or out of sheer habit and comfort, I don’t know. They have become hostile, both to those who want to help them and to those who want to dupe them and I can’t blame them.
Whenever I go for a vacation to some other city or country, I start feeling a little homesick even before I begin my journey though I know that I’ll be coming back in a few days. Imagine not having this fall back at all, the feeling of being homesick with no home to go to. You, or me, or anyone who hasn’t been through what these people have been through can never, never know what it feels like to have a home, and not be able to go back to it, to unwillingly leave the place where our ancestors had lived, and fathers have lived and we had lived and to wander into uncertainty, to become refugees in our own country and have no sense of identity, to being duped, ridiculed, taken advantage of and looked down upon, and to one day go back to the place that once was our home and find someone else calling it their home, with authority and without our consent, heartbreaking.
I hadn’t known about the 1990 Pandit exodus until I came across my first ever book on it late last year. I was ashamed, both at what had happened and myself, for not knowing about it earlier. But am wiser now and have started reading true accounts on the issue. Chancing upon this book was no coincidence, but well-done research and a thumbs up from fellow readers. I knew this book will prove to be a life-changing chapter in my life and it truly proved to be. The feeling of homelessness (no pun intended) crept up in me when I turned the last page, what next? The book left me drained emotionally, and I haven’t been able to pick up anything after it. It’s been more than two weeks if you must know.
I read this book both fast and slow, not wanting it to finish yet wanting the author’s ordeal to end. The words tugged at my heartstrings in the beginning, gearing up for a full-fledged attack on my emotions after just a few pages into the book. Of all the questions that hadn’t been answered, and probably will never be, the biggest that remains is why? Why did it have to happen? Why did they do it? Why the Pandits? Was it necessary? What has been achieved? Are human lives so cheap? We would never know.
The burden is not of the things left behind, but what we carry in our mind, the memories of the place that was once home.
Top international reviews
This book presents a balanced and fairly accurate historical and cultural view of the happenings in the Valley most of which get obscured away from the general public by the Indian and foreign media and the Indian Government. I would recommend this to every person trying to understand the Kashmir issue!
I should start by saying that our history has huge gaps....I heard about this book on NDTV's program on Kashmiri Pandits and I ordered it in Kindle edition. I could not keep it down until I had finished it because finally I was learning about the plight of the Pandits; raw,as it happened with no efforts at glossing over the harsh reality of this ethnic cleansing in Modern India.
While living in Delhi I was a witness to the trickle of Pandits into Delhi and daily saw their pathetic little wooden kiosks on Yusuf Sarai road in the grime and heat of Delhi.I knew they had to leave their homes just as we Punjabis had left ours, first in 1947 and then during the insurgency in Punjab but the full scale of the horror in Kashmir has never been known to ordinary citizens.
Rahul writes clearly,honestly and with no intent to tar the minority community.He tells the story simply as it happened and I hope that the Muslims ( if they ever read it) acknowledge to themselves that hidden in their stories of victimisation (both real and perceived) are the stories of these victims.The brutailty is shocking and the role of Pakistan dastardly.
This is a must read for those tired of the one sided narrative on Kashmir.
By simply talking about a few temples,Rahul brings into focus the centrality of Kashmir to Hinduism. Islam came later and thanks to Pakistan,our governments misguided rhetoric and the incomplete media coverage in the west, many within India also tend to believe that Kashmir is Muslim....Kashmir has Muslims but the land remains the shared ancestral land of Hindus,Buddhists Muslims and Siks.....its not just a piece of real estate. Thank you Rahul for this book
Global apathy towards the "victims" of recent conflicts/wars at the time of this comment, goes to prove the existence of an enlightened public who no longer sympathize in the cause of the "victims" based on specific current incidents, but instead look at it from a historical perspective where the so-called current "victims" are "aggressors" of the past against several communities, and hence be apathetic.
This is a must read for anyone who wants to understand Kashmir issues. It is alarming that such a book is coming out only after two decades. Large portion of Indians yet to really understand what happened in Kashmir.
Several narratives were so poignant I had to literally stop reading, to drink some water and clear the large lump in my throat. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to get a complete perspective of the Kashmir issue. Most media commentaries tend to highlight only the Indo--Pak tensions over Kashmir, or the alleged human rights violations of the Indian state's response to the violent separatist strife.
The horrible sins committed against the Pandit minority by the terrorists and the criminal elements of the majority community, have long been conveniently brushed under the carpet. That is a tragedy which this book seeks to redress. As George Santayana's immortal quote goes 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it'. Kudos to the author, for having the courage to rise above his deep pain, to pen this compelling memoir.
One prays that this cycle of communal strife ends one day soon, and all of us can live in amity together. But the first step towards that, is to shed sham political correctness and to acknowledge wrongs, whoever committed them. A selective amnesia helps no one ultimately.
There are very few books or documentaries of this tragedy available -even after almost a quarter of a century - and Rahul Pandita deserves all the kudos for surviving through those times and writing a fabulous book. A must read for everyone lest we let this happen with any community. Hopefully the displaced find their peace and the government manages to rehabilitate them soon.