Kashmiryat at Crossroads – The search for a destiny
by P Parimoo
Type: Print Book
Genre: Politics and Society
Price: Rs 325.00 + shipping
Of the many special places in India, Kashmir is surely one of the most beautiful. It is fascinating for many reasons including its proximity to the Himalayas, the snow and its other-worldly scenery. Now, a further reason draws our interest to the place: the political situation. This book brings alive Kashmir right from the early years of the last century up to the present.
Based on the diaries of the Late Pandit Dina Nath Parimoo who was born in Srinagar in 1911, this book is full of vivid descriptions of his first-hand experiences in Kashmir until the middle of 20th century. It takes the reader to Kashmir in the olden days with rich glimpses into the life of an ordinary Kashmiri, the culture, history, social and economic conditions, the political scenario, spirituality and religion of Kashmir. The book includes photographs, song lyrics and details of Kashmiri ceremonies and food that make for delightful reading.
“Frequent cups of kehwa chai were sipped till late at night by all the participants and the elderly onlookers. This whole leaf tea is specially prepared in Samovars, a central Asian contraption adopted in Kashmir since ages. Small cinnamon pieces and small cardamom are used to flavour the brew; lightly crushed almond imparts a garnishing. No milk is added to this tea. The tradition bound Pandit would have his kehwa or Mogal chai only from a khasu, a brass cup without a handle, edges gently tapered outwards to facilitate very slow sipping.
We also catch glimpses of ancient Kashmir, its kings and other influential people, the fascinating things they did including conservation of nature, something the present government has undertaken only recently. Alongside we discover the desperately poor health conditions that prevailed early on and the disease this brought about. We see how Buddhism and Islam made their presence here and how the religious battles began and continue.
The book is written by the Pandit’s son, P Parimoo, who, though a technocrat by training, is an avid reader of history, particularly the history of religions.
This is a work of a lifetime for the family involved in putting it together as well as for anyone interested in learning about Kashmir. Although well written and very readable, the text could have been further improved with a round of professional editing.
- Hasmita Chander