Book Review: Breaking Mazes: An Anthology Of Kehwa Talks

This book is a must read for everyone interested in different dimensions of present day Kashmir.
Book Review: Breaking Mazes: An Anthology Of Kehwa Talks
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Book: Breaking Mazes: An Anthology Of Kehwa Talks

Edited by: Dr.Peer GN Suhail

Year of Publication: 2015

Publisher: Ali Mohammad And Sons

Pages: 223

Talking Social Spaces

This book is a must read for everyone interested in different dimensions of present day Kashmir.

Armed uprising in Kashmir against Indian rule led to the closure of social spaces. Spaces, where people belonging to different professions used to have intellectual discussions Kashmir. Kehwa Talk is an initiative to reclaim social spaces, to ensure a healthy exchange of ideas in our society. Dr. Peer GN Suhail has given detailed picture of the sociocultural life of the region from early third century when Kashmir hosted Third Buddhist council to recent Reading Room Party in 1930s, to recent initiatives like SPACE, KSIC. He talks about the difficulty of organizing such events in a place like Kashmir where in 2002 a young Scholar of Political Science was attacked at his home for taking such initiative. Renowned academic Sidiq Wahid has rightly said in the forward of the book that "Breaking Mazes is a fair representation from all three demographic segments of Kashmir society". 

The present book, divided into eight sections, deals with different topics by renowned writers, academics, doctors and journalists. The first section is on " Religious Nationalism" written by Dr. Mohammad Maroof Shah and Dr. Dibyesh Anand, renowned academic, HoD IR Westminster University UK. Mohammed Maroof Shah in his essay talks in detail about religious nationalism in Islam, its roots in context of Kashmir freedom movement; role of JKLF and JI, their representation among people. He rightly says in his essay that "Geelani sahib is followed among masses because of integrity and honesty not the philosophy and ideology he believes in." Dr. Dibyesh Anand and his essay talks in detail about religious nationalism in Hinduism, Problems and Consequences. Role of VHP, BJP, RSS in religious nationalism in India is also dealt with. 

The second section is on "Forgotten Political Histories of Muslims of Jammu" by renowned journalist, and political analyst Zaffar Chaudhary. PG Rasool and Zaffar Chaudhary in detail talk about problems of Jammu Muslims. while as PG Rasool talk in detail about different identities of Jammu Muslims and problems faced by them, he also talks in detail about massacre of Jammu Muslims.

The section three is on "Tailoring Identities; Gradual erosion of Jammu And Kashmir Constitution, by renowned academician and writer Dr. Nyla Ali Khan, and a known journalist Gowhar Geelani. Dr. Nyla Ali Khan has done detailed research on the subject. She talks at detail about how New Dehli's jurisdiction was limited to foreign affairs, defence and currency, how it got eroded from Bakshi's regime when in 1956 complete accession in assembly was passed, Sadiq's regime when Sadri Riyasat and Prime Minister was converted into Governor and Chief Ministers.While as Gowhar Geelani has discussed in detail the unconstitutional things that happened from 1953 arrest of Sheikh Abdullah.

Section four discusses "Indus Water Treaty and Hydro Power Politics ", by Prof. Mona Bhan and Gulshan Majeed. Prof Mona Bhan in her essay talks about the politics surrounding the Indus Water treaty. She rightly says, "Kashmir was not part of it even indirectly". 

Section five discusses Employing Conflict for (un) employment by Mohammad Shafi Pandit and Prof. Nisar Ali. These two essays provide healthy information on employment. Different commissions set up by various governments, of which they have been part, and not implementing their recommendations fully. 

The sixth sections discusses "Engineering Aphasia; Language and Identity Question in Kashmir". It contains three essays by renowned columnist Ajaz ul Haque , veteran language and cultural activists Mohammad Amin Bhat, and Zareef Ahmad Zareef. These essays discuss in detail the question of language and Identity. In his essay Mohammad Amin Bhat gives historical background of organizations and activists who documented, translated and preserved our language and culture. Zareef Ahmad Zareef in his essay discusses role of language and culture.

The seventh section discusses "Gender and Politics; changing role of women in Kashmir", by renowned journalist Riyaz Masroor, and Reader High Court, Subaya Yaseen. Riyaz Masroor in his essay discusses role of women in conflict and politics of Kashmir during past 1000 years. Subaya Yaseen in her essay writes about role of women in conflict. She talks about laws available and made at different times for women.

The last section "Of Trauma and Suffering in Kashmir " is one of the most important sections of book. It has two essays written by Dr. Mushtaq Margoob and Dr.Arshad Hussain. These essays are helpful for all people in Kashmir, to understand effects of conflict on mental health of Kashmir society.

This book is a must read for everyone interested in different dimensions of present day Kashmir. The book lives up to its promise  – an initiative attempted at recreating the intellectual and social space for interaction.

(The author is B Tech from NIT Srinagar).

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