ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Moon of Many Shades

Our Moon has Blood Clots: The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits by Rahul Pandita (Noida: Random House India), 2013; pp 258, Rs 499.

George Bernard Shaw wrote, “All autobiographies are lies”. There is no denying the truth of this though there may be no reason to doubt the integrity of a person who pens his or her own story. Memories are tricky things to write down because they are not all the same – they are good, bad, or insignificant – and depend on one’s perception. Nor do they uniformly dwell in the mind. “The worst memories stick with us, while the nice ones always seem to slip through our fingers”, writes Rachel Vincent in My Soul to Save. In striking contrast, Gabriel García Márquez says in Love in the Time of Cholera, “He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.” Whatever the case, memory compartments in every mind filter out some part and preserve the rest for posterity, often making autobiographies and memoirs repositories of half truths. How much of an author’s memory is part of a manuscript or how much of it is a part of the author himself?

No wonder then that Our Moon has Blood Clots, a memoir of Kashmir of the 1990s by journalist-turned-author Rahul Pandita, has become a subject of controversy. Kashmir is one of the most complex regions in the world, not just because of armed conflict and being a nuclear flashpoint. It is also a region that has multiple claimants and multiple historical narratives – the official narratives of India and Pakistan, the varying and competing narratives of communities and ethnic groups from areas other than the Kashmir Valley, and the contradictory narratives of Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits, especially in the last two decades.

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