February 5, 2013 by Ashwin
Author: Rahul Pandita
Genre: History/Non Fiction
“Our Moon Has Blood Clots” is about The Exodus of Kashmiri the Pandits, a book by a popular journalist Rahul Pandita about the highest order of brutality any religious minority has ever come cross. It was a very special read for me as the topic of Kashmiri Pandits has always been close to my heart. As a kid, I used to hear stories about Kashmiri Pandits from my Grandpa and later made a few friends who were ‘Kashmiri Pandits’, though knowing them and listening to their stories alone was despairing enough and this book “Our Moon Has Blood Clots” is full of events which will make your heart sink.
The author was just 14 years old when he and his family were forced to leave their homes in Srinagar like thousands of other families in what was the most successful but little known act of ethnic cleansing. They left their home, relatives, belongings and everything behind and moved to Jammu in a Refugee settlement, hence becoming “Refugees in their own Country“.
Pandita recounts of his childhood in Kashmir with his family where they enjoyed a carefree life. But everything changes soon and their lives become appalling. With barbarous acts beginning to happen against the Kashmiri Pandits their stay in the valley was short lived and they were mentally harrased to an extent that their lives became a nightmare. With militancy gaining ground and no control of the Indian Govt these people had to leave their ancestral land which mattered to them as much as their lives. The descent to fear has been described very swiftly. Rahul Pandita’s infusion of all the gory events with simple but humane values makes it an emotional read.
The author then recounts the adversities encountered by them in the Refugee Camp or wherever they lived after they moved to Jammu. His mother often used to say to the people she met there: Our home in Kashmir had twenty-two rooms and this statement exhibited her hidden pain. The pain of losing the home and the pain of losing every hope. And this pain was shared by every family that had to run away.
The author Rahul Pandita then recounts about the similar attacks on ‘Kashmiri Pandits’ and Sikhs in 1947 by the Pathans from Pakistan which claimed lives of many innocents and how their homes were ransacked, looted and burnt down. How the men wore murdered and thrown into Jhelum and women were forcibly raped. Kashmir was an independent state at that time and this move planned by Pakistan led the Raja of Kashmir to become part of India and to defend his state with the help of Indian Army.
There are some shocking incidents that reading alone will shock you and make you shiver like a cricket match between India and West Indies in Srinagar and the whole ground had Pakistan flags fluttering and Indian players being booed and shouted expletives at or In a planned militancy attack a guy named Vinod Dhar’s 23 member family was brutally murdered while he was just 14 years old and the lone survivor in his family. Benazir Bhutto’s speech “Kashmiriyon ki ragon mein Mujahideen aur Ghaziyon ka khhon hai and they will drive out the infidels(Hindus) aur har eik gaanv se eik hi aawaz buland hogi: Azaadi! Har eik masjid se ek hi awaaz buland hogi azaadi! Har ek school se bacha bacha bolega: Azaadi, Azaadi, Azaadi!” which was later followed by the incident in which the chants of “Allah ho Akbar” and cries of “Azaadi” grew louder from the every Mosque as the people marched towards the homes of Kashmiri Pandits in a planned attempt to get rid of them. Another incident which was most appealing when the author and his family had just moved to Jammu, when he goes to a ground which was an RSS camp and they tried to instigate him to take revenge and when he recites it to his father, his father loses his cool and says “We have lost our home, not our Humanity“. It’s a revelation to know how much importance did the birthplace, ancestral home and belongings carried in the hearts of our elder generations and ancestors that they preferred death than leaving their home also the event of the author returns to his home almost twenty years later knocking on the door of a home which was once his only to find it almost unrecognizable.
“Our Moon has Blood Clots is a powerful and emotive saga of the travails of Kashmiri Pandits and other minorities from Kashmir. The story of their persecution in contemporary history, since India gained independence, was repeated in 1947 and 1990 where they were given three choices – to convert, flee or die. Each time many perished and many more displaced – each with a saga of untold misery.And they were not given any importance by the government, people and media. All in all they were deserted by their own and by their own Gods.”