New Delhi, December 15: A book titled ‘Lal Chowk’ authored by an independent journalist Rohin Kumar was released on Wednesday evening, in New Delhi. The book uncovers the untold stories and what is deliberately being erased from the public memory. Journalist Kumar and author, has happened to cover the state both pre and post abrogation of article 370 hence, his book also captures the narratives and perceptions and contradicts the narratives created by mainstream media that predominantly views the Kashmir conflict through the prism of an Indian and Pakistani statist narrative.
The central idea of the book, as per the author, is Kashmiriyat, that includes the people of Kashmir, their human rights, civil rights, numerous youngsters facing severe charges for whom the valley is a den of darkness. It is a collection of stories of millions of people whose minds and attitudes are shaped by conflict. It is also a story of lives warped in fear and oppression but also resistance.
While dedicating the book to people of Kashmir and spirit of independent journalism, Rohin said, “For the last few decades, Kashmir has become a ‘catalyst’ for invoking frenzied passions among Indians. Larger questions on geo-politics seem to be reduced to binaries. Filmy dialogues like “Doodh mangoge to kheer denge, Kashmir mangoge to chir denge,” tend to be shaping people’s perception. The signifier “Kashmir” itself is so powerful in the contemporary Indian imagination that it is made to carry different political meanings, that usually doesn’t look Kashmir through a humanist lens.”
“As an author, I intend to tell the story, as it is. While writing I was very clear, if it’s a story about Kashmir, Kashmiris have to be at the centre,” Kumar added.
The book also explores the complexities of history, politics, competing claims, traumatic memories, divided populations, lack of justice, denial of rights, cycles of extremism, corruption and occupation. The book captures first-hand narratives of people, mainstream political leaders, and security forces and what they feel about the situation.
Delighted at the launch of the book, Shailesh Bharatwasi, Editor-in-chief of Hind Yugm said, “We at Hind Yugm did not want to let go of this opportunity of presenting a factual and objective piece of storytelling about Kashmir. This book is a must read for people residing away from Kashmir who actually struggle to get a perfect picture of what is happening in J&K and Ladakh.”