Book Review: Footprints in the Sand

Book Review: Footprints in the Sand

Name of the Book: Footprints in the Sand

Author: Peerzada Abdul Rashid (Phone 9419354542)

Price: Rs 245

Distributors: M/S Kashmir Book Depot, Lal Chowk Srinagar (Phone 9419006031)

Publishers: Al-Hayat Printographers Madina Chowk Gowkadal Srinagar

Pages: 122 + hard cover

“Footprints in the Sand” is a popular allegorical religious poem. It describes a person who sees two pairs of footprints in the sand, one of which belonged to God and another to him or herself.

A page from the book:

“One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life, each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of foot prints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of foot prints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most, you would leave me.

The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

(Excerpt from a prayer by Anonymous)

This book is a compendium of articles on different topics and subjects. It is written in a simple style with light themes of everyday significance.

Many old items of art and craft are not around us today. We miss them badly and want our new generation to come to know them so that they appreciate and admire their beauty and usefulness. They will also come to know the trials and tribulations which the people faced then. Kashmir is famous for its old art and craft and it is said that old is gold. Therefore, chapters on things used in olden days, like Kasaba, Kunz and Muhul, pottery, Samovar, Yender, Tonga etc, have been included. Other topics on culture, heritage, morality and beauty of the valley have also been taken up.

It is hoped that the book will be of interest to the reader as it is written in a simple style. The topics don’t have any continuity as such and discuss varied subjects. We find different designs in paintings, flowers of various colours in a garden or flower beds, etc. Different varieties of dishes are also put in one plate in Wazwan, the famous Kashmir cuisine. Various subjects have been discussed in one single book, accordingly.

As the title of the book suggests, the book is representative of all that our beautiful valley is known and stands for. Its contribution to art, culture, heritage, human values and literature, for which it is renowned world over, is unparalleled. The same needs to be remembered and revisited again and again lest we forget. This book is a humble endeavour in that direction.

The book dwells on situations, scenarios and episodes of great significance which bear a close connection with our real life and touch our hearts and minds. Humanism, aim of life and fellow feeling is what is sought to be highlighted in the articles, which include: ‘A little assurance of Humanity is a great deal’; ‘The necessity of self-regulations and customary laws’; ‘Human behaviour and social relations’; ‘Happy are they who know where happiness lies’; ‘Humanity at crossroads’; ‘The Pious Promise’.

While reading the book, we peep into our glorious past and are, for some time, lost in the wilderness of ancient times while reading topics on Tonga, Kanz and Mohul, Samovar, Yender, Kasaba, etc. More objects of heritage and artefacts of civilisation have been summed up in yet another single article titled ‘Marvels that were unique to Kashmir’. Every effort has been made to provide authentic details of the subject and maintaining the brevity of the content at the same time. In fact, this is the essence of the book which makes it fit to be included in the school curriculum to make our new generation aware of our glorious past.

For mountaineers, trekkers and nature lovers there is more than what meets the eye in some articles, which give wings to the imagination of the reader and make him fly high in the sky from Kajinag to Shishnag, Gurez to Amarnath, and Pirpanjal range to Shamsbari range and on to various valleys, sub valleys, mountain ranges and other places of tourist interest and trekkers’ paradise. A treat to the eyes and ecstasy to the mind is provided while going through the pages of articles like ‘Kashmir: An artistic display’; ‘Blessed rivers, mountains and souls of our valley; ‘Mountains, thy nature is spiritual’.

Every effort has been made to highlight the places which have hitherto remained hidden but are of tremendous tourist potential. This is like a bird’s eye view of the entire valley and will enrich our general knowledge and is a must read for students of civil services examinations and all others.

The boom in modern day’s information technology and advancement in the telecom sector, the social media, mobile phones and the internet has made us forget the days when one would crave for the arrival of a telegram and people would greet each other if they received one. Some articles vividly describe such scenario while at the same time touch the finer elements of human feelings of joy, sorrow and pathos. One really feels nostalgic while reading the articles in the book: ‘Nostalgia: Lost and Found: A tale of a Telegram’; ‘Nostalgia: The Telegraph Man’; ‘A milestone without a stone;’ ‘Nostalgia: Mr. Late Lateef’.

Other articles like ‘Tarazoo holds a lesson in Balance’, ‘Love and loyalty to Home Sweet Home’, ‘Symbols, Signs and Signposts’ speak volumes about human values and convey a strong message to humanity as a whole. Last but not the least is the article on ‘Hazrat Sheikhul Aalam (RA): The most revered Reshi of Kashmir’. This article has lent an aura of sacredness to the book besides providing insight of highest order into our culture and art, flora and fauna, environment and ecology, of which Hazrat Sheikh (RA) was a great proponent.

In short, the book ‘Footprints in the Sand’ is a treatise on every aspect of Kashmir and is fit to be made a “must read” for every Kashmiri and for all who love Kashmir irrespective of caste, colour and creed.

The book is moderately priced and can be ordered directly from the author or the distributor.


The writer is a Lecturer of Zoology with School Education Department, J&K

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