Wounds of an exodus

Book REVIEW
kashmir memoir
 
Wounds of an exodus
 
Talking about his book Palimpsest, the US literary great Gore Vidal made the interesting observation that ‘a memoir is how one remembers one’s own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked’. Judged by this definition, Rahul Pandita’s Our Moon Has Blood Clots is both a memoir and an autobiography– for it is quite clearly how Pandita has remembered, and continues to remember, his own life even as the co-terminous historical bits that provide the overall tapestry appear to be well-researched.
 
Its sub-title ‘The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits’ is an apt caption for the overall concern that the book shares and which is narrated through the memory of a young boy cut suddenly from his moorings and cast adrift. This memory grows and evolves into a memory of adulthood with its attendant heartbreaks and heartaches, broken dreams and hopes, always in one exile after another, of overlapping lives and memories of many other people.
 
One memoir that has close parallels with Our Moon Has Blood Clots is Curfewed Night. It has 13-year-old Basharat Peer reconstructing his own personal life and providing a glimpse of the universe around him in the process. Rahul Pandita was a year older but his personal and universal ‘remembrances’ over the next two decades is uncannily similar to that of Peer. The takeoff point in both narratives is the same – January 1990. But as Pandita perceptively observes, this is also the point of divergence of ‘truths’. The point where decades or centuries of modus vivendi that came about through various life strategies of generations of people belonging to the two Kashmiri communities came suddenly unstuck. This was the clear point of rupture from where there are two sharply different perceptions of truth – at least one of them being visible till now to the literary world while the other was unarticulated. Our Moon Has Blood Clots fills that void…Read More
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