Rahul Pandita · 257 pages
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“During Aurangzeb’s rule, which lasted for forty-nine years from 1658 onwards, there were many phases during which Pandits were persecuted. One of his fourteen governors, Iftikhar Khan, who ruled for four years from 1671, was particularly brutal towards the community. It was during his rule that a group of Pandits approached the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, in Punjab and begged him to save their faith. He told them to return to Kashmir and tell the Mughal rulers that if they could convert him (Tegh Bahadur), all Kashmiri Pandits would accept Islam. This later led to the Guru’s martyrdom, but the Pandits were saved.”
“I’m on bridge, bridge is on water, bridge-bridge cancel, I’m on water.”
“Another problem is the apathy of the media and a majority of India’s intellectual class who refuse to even acknowledge the suffering of the Pandits.”
“Another problem is the apathy of the media and a majority of India’s intellectual class who refuse to even acknowledge the suffering of the Pandits. No campaigns were ever run for us; no fellowships or grants given for research on our exodus. For the media, the Kashmir issue has remained largely black and white—here are a people who were victims of brutalization at the hands of the Indian state. But the media has failed to see, and has largely ignored the fact that the same people also victimized another”
“During the rule of another governor, Atta Muhammad Khan, Lawrence writes: Any Musalman who met a Pandit would jump on his back, and take a ride.”
“Women had been herded like cattle into the backs of trucks. Father and I got out of the taxi to stretch our legs. In one of the trucks, a woman lifted the tarpaulin sheet covering the back and peered outside. There was nothing peculiar about her except the blankness in her eyes. They were like a void that sucked you in. Years later, I saw a picture of a Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz. When I saw his eyes, my mind was immediately transported to that day, and I was reminded of the look in that woman’s eyes.”
“One of his fourteen governors, Iftikhar Khan, who ruled for four years from 1671, was particularly brutal towards the community. It was during his rule that a group of Pandits approached the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, in Punjab and begged him to save their faith. He told them to return to Kashmir and tell the Mughal rulers that if they could convert him (Tegh Bahadur), all Kashmiri Pandits would accept Islam. This later led to the Guru’s martyrdom, but the Pandits were saved.”
“For most of us, Kashmir means a calendar hanging in our parents’ bedroom, or a mutton dish cooked in the traditional way on Shivratri, or a cousin’s marriage that the elders insist must be solemnized in Jammu. A”
“it. But, sometimes, when I’m angry at the TV shows where our murderers speak about our return, I do. On its front page is a picture of Ravi’s mutilated face. The blood from his nose—the result of a blow from the butt of a Kalashnikov—has dried up. His forehead still looks beautiful and clear, and so does his moustache that I had wanted to imitate when I was young.”
“Sometimes it is best to leave things ambiguous, suspended, so that some hope remains.”
“I remember the day when I realized I had no memory of her voice. That morning I had been reading the newspapers like I did everyday. I would read a report or two, and Ma would point out advertisements of houses for sale. There were many of them.”
“Home is the place that expects the most of you, but still welcomes you at your worst. And she has always been my home, my Merminia.”
“Debates about justice and rights are often, unavoidably, debates about the purpose of social institutions, the goods they allocate, and the virtues they honor and reward. Despite our best attempts to make law neutral on such questions, it may not be possible to say what’s just without arguing about the nature of the good life.”
“But there was, she knew, something else. Happiness, she supposed. Whatever that might be. What, exactly, she wondered, was happiness. Very positively she wanted it.”
“George Vida braced his hands on the table before taking his seat, his gaze strafing the room with the discernment of a leathery old goat sniffing for something to nibble on.”
“I’m coming for your heart, Kace,”
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