Book Review: Kashmiryat at Crossroads

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

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7 thoughts on “Book Review: Kashmiryat at Crossroads

  1. Charlie Brown November 10, 2010 at 11:03 pm Reply

    This is a new book out written as a scholarly chronicle of the history of Kashmir.

    Offering a unique multi-dimensional perspective on “kashmiriyat”.

    Immensely readable.

    A must read for all Kashmiri(s) and for all those who have more than a passing interest—in Kashmir, it’s people and and it’s rich traditions.

    Makes you want to believe that Kashmiriyat must survive and will survive

    Kudos to Mr.P.Parimoo, the author for weaving a masterly skill full narrative.

    Charlie Brown

  2. Sunita Kaul November 15, 2010 at 8:15 pm Reply

    This book is a factual narration by a Kashimiri who has actually lived his life in Kashmir . It gives a first hand feel of Kashmir of the olden days.What better way for the younger generation of Kashmiris to know about life in Kashmir as it was before the mayhem started. There are instances describing warm interactions between the pundit & muslim communities.
    This book is a must read for all Kashmiris & all those who have any interest in Kashmir.

    • avtarkaul December 27, 2010 at 6:48 pm Reply

      Thanks a lot Sunita for your generous comments.Regards >Parimoo

  3. Daanish November 17, 2010 at 10:44 pm Reply

    Perfectly described,a must for all Kashmiris and those who have a more than passing interest in Kashmir.The narrative faithfully describes the path of the political storms leading to present day mayhem.

  4. avtarkaul November 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm Reply

    Avtar K. Kaul

    Footprints on the sands of time…passionately narrated. As truthful as the snows of K2…..Must be read to understand the intrigues of the political system that has driven the valley of Kashmir to self destruction. Perry Parimoo is not interested in making capital out of the misery that people of all faiths have gone through, but trying to understand what went wrong and why in the battered history of Kashmir. A good maiden effort, with no political axe to grind.

    • avtarkaul December 27, 2010 at 6:49 pm Reply

      Many many thanks for the kind comments.

  5. daanish April 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm Reply

    Book reviews
    1. Charlie Brown said
    November 10, 2010 at 11:03 pm
    This is a new book out written as a scholarly chronicle of the history of Kashmir.
    Offering a unique multi-dimensional perspective on “kashmiriyat”.
    Immensely readable.
    A must read for all Kashmiri(s) and for all those who have more than a passing interest—in Kashmir, it’s people and it’s rich traditions.
    Makes you want to believe that Kashmiriyat must survive and will survive
    Kudos to Mr.P.Parimoo, the author for weaving a masterly skill full narrative.
    Charlie Brown
    Reply
    2.
    Sunita Kaul said
    November 15, 2010 at 8:15 pm
    This book is a factual narration by a Kashimiri who has actually lived his life in Kashmir . It gives a first hand feel of Kashmir of the olden days.What better way for the younger generation of Kashmiris to know about life in Kashmir as it was before the mayhem started. There are instances describing warm interactions between the pundit & muslim communities.
    This book is a must read for all Kashmiris & all those who have any interest in Kashmir.
    Reply
    3.
    Daanish said
    November 17, 2010 at 10:44 pm
    Perfectly described,a must for all Kashmiris and those who have a more than passing interest in Kashmir.The narrative faithfully describes the path of the political storms leading to present day mayhem.
    Reply
    4-Avtar K. Kaul 17 November at 16:40 Reply • Report
    Footprints on the sands of time…passionately narrated. As truthful as the snows of K2…..Must be read to understand the intrigues of the political system that has driven the valley of Kashmir to self destruction. Perry Parimoo is not interested in making capital out of the misery that people of all faiths have gone through, but trying to understand what went wrong and why in the battered history of Kashmir. A good maiden effort, with no political axe to grind.

    m.chishti (3/16/11 2:11 PM):
    Hello dear friend Perry . Aaj thora time tha n I just read both the blogs on kashmiriats n honestly I enjoyed it so much . It has been so beautifully narrated that I could feel everything in front of my eyes . Bai too good , maza aa gaya n now I will desperately wait for the next one . I am so proud of u Perry , you are doing such a nice work sharing it all , with friends n who so ever is interested . Bravo my Perry

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