Khalid Bashir’s book dares popular narratives of Kalhan, Bazaz
Srinagar: Kahmir’s prominent journalists and writers Thursday released a book ‘Kashmir: Exposing the myth behind the narrative’ of writer and former bureaucrat, Khalid Bashir Ahmad which has challenged various historical accounts written on Kashmir by historians including Kalhan and Prem Nath Bazaz.
The book release function was organized by ‘Pen Wielders’, an organisation of writers and journalists at SP College auditorium. The book by Ahmad argues different versions written on Kashmir which had portrayed Muslim rulers in a bad light since the medieval period. The book takes readers to astonishing facts on Kashmir and its people who have faced different invasions amid political and social uncertainties.
Khalid Bashir has been a top-ranking civil service officer who served on many significant posts including Director Information and Secretary Academy of Art Culture and Languages.
The function was presided over by veteran journalist Muhammad Sayeed Malik while noted academic Prof Abdul Qayoom Rafiqi was the chief guest.
Speaking on the occasion Muhammad Sayeed Malik termed Khalid Bashir’s book a brave attempt to ‘deconstruct’ popular historical narratives on Kashmir.
“I have not come across any such book which challenges popular accounts written on Kashmir since ancient times. I was impressed to see that Khalid Bashir’s book has built arguments against Kalhan’s Rajtarangni which has been seen as gospel by many people in Kashmir,” he said.
“The book is a meticulous and unbiased account of various historical occurrences and tragedies. It will go a long way in encouraging the review of different historical accounts,” Malik said.
He said the book reveals various aspects of Kashmir including socio-cultural and socio-political events putting Muslims at the receiving end.
“In different regimes, Muslims had been subjected to injustices and discrimination by the people in power as a part of state policy. However, historians have been writing conflicting accounts, often contrary to the reality,” Malik said.
Author and academic Shahnaz Bashir read an extensive paper on the book. He appreciated the author for deep research of history.
“The book presents all important chronicles of Kashmir history from the medieval period through various events and personalities by building arguments around the popular claims in history books written by Hindus,” he said.
Another reviewer, Tariq Bhat, journalist with The Week magazine, said the author has tried to highlight important facets of J&K including its ancient and present conflicts.
“The chronicles and important references in the book have also criticized various historians, political and non-political forces. From Kalhan’s Rajtarangni and books written against Sikander’s rule to alleged forced migration of Kashmiri Pandits after 1990s” he said.
Senior journalist Naseer A Ganai also acclaimed the writer for his usage of archival material and official sources
“Although, the book is written in the turbulent times but it actually prompts readers to ponder on various important points and revisits many beliefs from 5000 years ago till recent events,” he said.
Ganai called the author as an intelligent researcher and brave historian as the book clearly presented various controversial and sensitive information in an unambiguous manner.
“The writer deserves compliment for writing a daring account,” he said.
Former academician, Prof Rafiqi said the book took me back to my early life when we would listen to oral stories from our elders.
“It gives me a hope that next generation is making efforts to study their past,” he said.
Writer and journalist Yusuf Jameel who conducted the proceedings on the event said the book was the reminder of both dark and bright phases in our history.
“The points written in the book make us rethink over various issues,” he said.
Jameel said the writing was a sincere account with various strong arguments in the book which is the representation of Kashmir.
“This is first of its kind objective account,” he said.
“The book is beautifully written objective account. As far standards of the writings are concerned we shouldn’t judge the writer. We should analyze his writings for the usage of techniques,” he said
In his address, the author expressed gratitude to the audience and said the book was open for comments and critique.