Kashmir’s individuality

Banking on the untapped source material and reliable evidences

Book: Kashmir Rediscovered
Author: Dr Abdul Ahad
Publishers: Adam Publishers & Distributors
Reviewer: Abdul Rashid Khan

The book Kashmir Rediscovered is an interesting and very useful piece of work by Dr. Abdul Ahad. The author has vividly explained the historical individuality of Kashmir after putting his hard toil in researching the main theme of his book by collecting  the untapped source material and reliable evidences. The reliability of his evidences collected by him could be easily assessed by this fact that he has headed the state department of Archives, research and public libraries besides having remained as director of Archeology and Museum. The readings of the book throws light as to how the historical individuality of Kashmir was bulldozed, when it got wedded  to the incompatible partner (Jammu) after the important events of 1846 A.D. In author’s opinion the 1931 event resulted in the formation of an organized opposition rather than the struggle for independence. But I differ with the conclusion of the author, as this event encouraged and  showed the way to the people of Kashmir how to get themselves united and fight for their  basic rights against oppression and tyrannical rule and not to make an adverse situation as  a fait accompli. The event ultimately awakened the people of Kashmir, on how to lay their lives to fulfill their cherished desire of obtaining the historical individuality of Kashmir; though the dream was lost half way due to the shortsightedness of our leaders and unnecessary and untimely intervention of neighboring country. Though the author is right in describing the event of 1989 mass surge and armed combat as an important factor that brought the Kashmir question into world focus, but he is so obsessed with the concept of historical individuality of Kashmir and cultural identity, that he forgets to remember the actual cause of the surge. The fact is that the people resorted to armed struggle only when they had got tired of the false promises made by their leaders. 
His research on the measures which led to the agricultural growth during the ancient times due to the restrictions imposed on the migration of villagers to towns and cities by the kings - as the gradual and systematic increase in the urbanization had left a negative impact on the village communities and stalled the agricultural growth - is praise worthy. The author has also disclosed that the King Lalitaditya had discouraged the villagers to adopt the life style of the city people so that they may not ignore agriculture. These historical revelations made by the author in his book regarding disadvantages of migration of the village communities to urban areas  can serve as guideline even for the contemporary administrators to adopt the similar laws for the growth of agriculture in valley and to protect the Srinagar city from environmental degradation which has happened due to a spurt in urbanization from rural areas. The author has done a Herculean task in his research work by collecting a valuable source material which has touched upon all the aspects of the history of Kashmir. He has delved into historical evolution of Kashmir from Naga raja period to the present day  and discussed the socio economic history of Kashmir nicely besides describing its political history. His crafty description of evolution of Kashmir in Epilogue at page 338-339 is really a master piece. He has boldly felt an urge as how to revive the Kashmir historical individuality which has been compromised from time to time to suit the needs of political and military hegemony of growing super power in South East Asia. His description of tyrannical rule during Afghan, Sikh and Dogra regime is an eye opener for the readers. The  author has  explicitly described in his book the inauguration of new era known as Bebuj-Raj, unforgettable brazen savagery by Sikh Raj  and one should  not get surprised if he finds some semblance of that also prevalent in the present system of governance.
The authors deserves accolades for the hard work he has done in compiling this comprehensive book. The book is so interesting that the reader wants to finish it in one sitting only. The book is becoming so popular that the leading columnists of the valley often refer the quotes of this book to substantiate their arguments. In short the book ‘Kashmir Rediscovered’ by Dr. Abdul Ahad will remain a treasure of valuable information for the readers of Kashmir history for all times to come.
The reviewer is IGP(rtd). Reach him at abdulrashidkhan47@gmail.com 

Lastupdate on : Wed, 14 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 14 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 15 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST

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