By Anita Krishan
Thank you, Mr Altaf Khan, for sparing time to read ‘Tears of Jhelum’ and then writing its review. I both agree and disagree with your perspective. I agree that the famous couplet describing the beauty of Kashmir has been incorrectly attributed to Firdaus. Also, a terrorist would never call his comrade a terrorist. I have no justification for these technical faults. ‘To err is human’, Shakespeare had made it easy to err. But, please do not tear a book carrying the underlying message of compassion for the suffering humanity.
I have been to Kashmir only for a one week (2004) during my lifetime, and wondered about the unrest hidden behind the serene beauty (It is also apparent in my narration). Many of my misconceptions were also cleared when I interacted with the locals, the misconceptions galore in the rest of India even today. The idea to write the book was initiated then. I feel that you have completely missed my appeal for peace and brotherhood in the world. I know my effort and affect is going to be miniscule . . . but I made an effort.
I would also like to stress that this book is not a political comment. It is a humble attempt at highlighting the plight of individual lives that are struggling for survival in the strife torn regions. I fully understand that excesses have been committed in the Valley and people have suffered, including the Kashmiri Pandits. I have discussed misery of the both the sides.
The book aims exclusively at reflecting the pain in the lives of the common man. It is an attempt to project human sufferings, and I repeat, is not a political debate. My book aims at removing the doubts in the minds of common people elsewhere that every Kashmiri is not a “terrorist”, all inhabitants of the Valley don’t support fundamentalism, everyone did not participate in the murders of the Pandits or aided in their migration. There is still rationality and sane voices, which have not lost their “Kashmiriyat”. Above all, it’s a humble attempt of breaking the wall that divides people…an appeal to remove the ill feelings and shun people who instigate divisions of hearts. I would want brotherhood to prevail. I hope you appreciate the fundamental thought behind this book.
With prayers for peace and prosperity of the region of Kashmir in my heart.