Book Review #3: Kashmir As I See It: From Within And Afar By Ashok Dhar

Oindri Kundu
Jun 10, 2019   •  37 views

Name- Kashmir As I See It: From Within and Afar

Author- Ashok Dhar

Publisher-Rupa Publications

Buy it from-Amazon


Stories of the trauma and betrayal faced by Kashmiris have been told, the events retraced and analysis offered. And yet, one of the most long-standing disputes in India’s post-Independence history remains unsettled. If it were up to Lal Ded, a Sufi poet, she would offer the most difficult solution so far—to look within. Kashmir As I See It, a personal journey interspersed with geopolitical analysis, is not only about the state but also about the voice that yearns to be home again. Ashok Dhar slowly and carefully uncovers multiple layers of the conflict to show that apart from being a territorial dispute, it is also about historicity, morality and leadership—aspects that have

been neglected so far. He holds that looking merely at the legality of the state’s accession is like looking at an iceberg; peace will not come if we have not examined what Kashmiriyat is. This rigorously researched and passionately honest account shows us a way to look for solutions that are not merely reflective but practical, using tools extracted from management studies such as game theory. A radical approach that throws open a new window of inquiry to resolve an age-old issue!

My view:

To be honest, I have never fully been aware of the Kashmir problem even though it was and still is a hot topic of discussion. My best friend is fully aware of all the problems associated with Kashmir and its people but sadly I have not been that knowledgeable about it........until now.

Ashok Dhar, born and brought up in Kashmir, talks about a myriad of problems related to culture, politics, and history of Kashmir, faced by the Kashmiris in 'Kashmir as I See It' and it has been dealt with artistically. He has kept in mind both logic and emotion. It is a carefully balanced written book and deals with almost all the complexities and disputes that have taken place over the past few years. The author's approach to all the sensitive topics seems well balanced in both logic and intellectual aspect giving rise to a well thought out book. By slowly and carefully uncovering the multiple layers of the Kashmir conflict, Ashok Dhar shows that Kashmir is also about the aspects that have been neglected so far, like historicity, morality and leadership and not only a territorial dispute. The way the author has described the land of Kashmir- so vivid and beautifully- that one automatically imagines oneself to be in the country, just through his narration.

In this autobiographical journey, the author also reflects upon how, ironically, communalism was never an original problem of Kashmir. He also

dares to ask the one true question about the Kashmir conundrum: if the Kashmir issue is resolved, what would Pakistan fight over?

The writing also shows the intensive research the author has done in order to make this book worth the read. Written in a moderate language, this book is about human failures and triumphs and also about the truth. It is a gripping narrative as it gives amazing insight on Kashmir through the writer's eyes and also brings about first-hand experiences in the paradise on earth called Kashmir.

Overall, it is an enlightening and compelling read that gives the reader a comprehensive understanding of Kashmir, its history, politics, culture and people, and importantly its problems both past and present. The subject has been holistically approached, with great sensitivity and objectivity and suggests solutions to the same. It's a must-read for all as everyone both those who have little information and those who know it all.

Overall rating: 4.5/5