One by one they all left

HT City - - My City / Lifestyle - HEENA KHAN

Avery mat­ter-of-fact nar­ra­tion, with no trace or ef­fort to sen­sa­tion­alise pain, the book A Long Dream of Home, a col­lec­tion of es­says doc­u­ment­ing the pros­e­cu­tion, ex­o­dus and ex­ile of Kash­miri Pan­dits dur­ing the 1990s armed in­sur­gency, is a hum­ble at­tempt to get the com­mu­nity to speak their col­lec­tive angst. Jointly edited by Sid­dhartha Gi­goo and Varad Sharma, this work of non-fic­tion tries to piece to­gether sto­ries of a com­mu­nity that is fast dwin­dling. Two and a half decades of vi­o­lence and the long­ing for peace, 1989 marked yet an­other chap­ter of wrongs for the Val­ley. Th­ese es­says are akin to raw di­ary en­tries with lit­tle or no pre­tence of lan­guage and ex­pres­sion. Sen­tences are crisp and to-the-point. There is a crav­ing for al­mond or­chards, for Chi­nar trees, for sim­pler times, for days much be­fore the nights be­came long, dark and win­try, much be­fore the air was slashed with mis­trust and days marred with cur­fews; much be­fore it be­came im­por­tant for Kash­miris to fol­low Pak­istan Stan­dard Time. There is a sense of be­trayal nursed by the Kash­miri Pan­dits against the Mus­lim ma­jor­ity, as one of the con­trib­u­tors puts it, ‘our in­ter­twin­ing his­to­ries came in the way of our con­flict­ing mem­o­ries’. TI­TLE: A Long Dream of Home AU­THOR: Edited by Sid­dhartha Gi­goo and Varad Sharma PUB­LISHER: Blooms­bury PRICE: ` 499

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