centuries Kashmir has been a fascinating subject for authors and analysts.
Volumes have been written about its multi-taceted aspects. But since the
division of the Indian subcontinent and emergence of independent states
of India and Pakistan, the predominent theme of such books has been political.
But since the closing months of 1989, the Islamic fundamentalism struck the Valley of Kashmir, Firdaus (paradise on earth), with fanatic ferocity. The cult of the gun overwhelmed the ideals of human brotherhood preached for centuries by the Valley's Rishis, Soofis, saints and savants. And this paradise has became a hell.
True to their cult, the fanatic terrorists misnamed militants struck against the temples of learning schools, colleges, cultural cum media institutions, as well as development projects and state buildings etc. Special target of the fundamentalists' lunatic fury was the peace-loving and talented minority community, popularly known as the Kashmiri Pandits. About three lakh members of this community had to run for their lives, leaving behind everything. At present they are living and suffering the indignities as refugees in their own motherland.
This extremely aweful and shocking experience has given birth to a different kind of authors and analysts. Their books, some of them already published, is the result of their firsthand experience, as well as their revised opinions and rethinking on many vital subjects that deeply concern and influence our contemporary life. This book by Prof. Mohan Lal Koul, Kashmir: Past and Present-Unravelling the Mystique, is one such book.
One may or may not agree with the assessment and conclusion that the author has arrived at, but these words of a renowned scholar-administrator, Shri T.N. Chaturvedi (M.P.) from his well-argued Foreword will certainly compel the reader to ponder over the issues that very much concern us. He writes: "It is a scholary and documented work.... In any case, an honest book dealing with Kashmir is bound to be controversial. But that speaks of its relevance and worthwhileness. Shri Kaul has indeed succeeded in unveiling the past and unravelling the present of Kashmir for any discerning reader, and in giving a glimpse of the unfolding tragedy in the future, unless the nation takes lessons from the past and acts in the present."
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