Monday, January 23, 2012

A Pedestrian’s Voyage

Book Review: Fiction/ITHACA by David Davidar, Fourth Estate, An imprint of Harper Collins/2011, 276 pp; Rs499 (Hardback)

David Davidar, is known as an iconic publisher and the author of highly acclaimed works of fiction, like “The House of Blue Mangoes” and “The Solitude of Emperors”, which rose to the final stage of regional Commonwealth Writers prize. Never to forget, he is the man who truly professionalises the publishing business in India besides making a generation of remarkable publishers through his broad vision and trust. Before leaving for the global stint at Penguin, he commissioned the Indian authors like,Amitav Ghosh, Ramchandra Guha, Shashi Tharoor, Vikram Seth, Arundhati Roy among the others. But last two years were infact not good for David, where he had to face the unfortunate row which he hardly deserved even in the worst moments. Anyway, he came up and that’s the best news the book lovers could have in the late months of 2011.

In publishing, he tied the knot to marketing astute Rupa Publications with his own publishing venture ALEPH, which is going to be premium publisher for a few writers with amazing standards and stature. This is again something new coming from him and may be it will turn into a trend very soon whose sign are also started being visible little or more. Amidst the rough patches of his career, another breakthrough entered the literary world with third work of fiction from him, ITHACA which opens the inside events of international publishing scene for readers. Though it will be over simplification, if this novel would be termed out as something representative on publishing business but its withstanding the large part of truth and that should be the concluding search here. David knows the essence of letters and its end impact with chronicling the dynamicism side by side. May be, his two earlier novels would be continuing as his reference of writing but ITHACA has proved again David’s integrity as writer and person!

Under unprecedented changes and universal slowdown, prevailing struggle for survival in the publishing industry is catalysed well in the book. The plight of Litmus, an independent publishing firm in the UK seems not pretty distinct from the firm, David himself served in the recent past. The unexpected departure or demise of bestselling authors like Massimo Seppi is not something unheard in the very challenging world of book publishing. Naturally, to surviving the ire, publisher Zachariah Thomas is a restless mortal and his incessant action to save the face of his firm from being submerged into the giant corporation seems completely moving and also aptly reflects the increasing challenges that publishing industry has to face with in present uncertain scenario. Undoubtedly, the principle character Zach personifies the tracts of David while meeting the umpteenth challenges to stand proper and graceful and his quest leads formally to the realities with few puts of surrealism.

Many unexplored concerns related with the global integration of publishing industry are addressed by the author with extraordinary zeal. However, at few places details lacks the convincible temptations, nevertheless in totality nuances becomes quite comprehensible and appealing. David’s arrival in India is timely and his greater involvement with writing and publishing going to be epochmaking. Like the Zach, his challenges have greater weight but ofcourse it would be never so much that would undermine the potential of Indian market and most noticeably the new aspirations in India which were hitherto out of case.

David rose to the crest in publishing through sheer work, where hardly the fancied academic degrees alone worked out. Fortunately, which he didn’t had either but that never stopped him to be top ranked. I grew up reading his novels and writing on the broadsheet literary pages of The Hindu and also in other national/international publication, reading ITHACA was indeed great but now also waiting for his columns in mainstream media, which have been paused for long. Even in modest evaluation, ITHACA stands to be counted among the best fiction of passed year; readers can be delighted reading this special contribution from their publishing scion.
Atul Kumar Thakur

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Mix Signals from Indian Economy!

Change is the essence of life, the old order changes yielding place for new. However, all changes are not historic in the impact they have on society, economy or polity. But among the many changes that India has witnessed in last decades, its convergence to the liberalisation of economy was proven most transformative and fateful to an extent. In last twenty years, statistical basics have moved up from prosaic to a resilient level and Indian economy now stands with better chances to play ever important role at bilateral and multilateral international platforms. But playing leading role in an integrated global era is not proof from the risk involved in doing it so, naturally time is of testing for Indian economy and its regulatory institutions to how well they can cope and manage a smooth way forward. Close watch on international scenario is most imperative, especially on the tailspin economies!

At the global level, with both the US and the European market are uncomfortably walking through the fiscal crisis, there are growing fear about the world economy entering into another recession. This would have a subversive bearing on the natural growth of the Indian economy, both through trade and funds flows channels. Affects are already coming through in terms of the consistently dwindling FIIs in Indian market, which is creating huge mismatch of earlier conceived expectations from the foreign investments. The unquiet financial regulation is adding the plight to even grimmer; the persistent contradictory monetary policy stance of RBI is now clearly taking a toll on performance of the industrial sector and also on overall economy. The flagging business confidence in Indian market must be a matter of concern for policymakers as falling confidence levels of India Inc can create bottlenecks in investments and business plan, which could finally stall the momentum of India’s economic growth.

As for now, India enjoys an advantage in its high savings and investment rates, currently a third of GDP; a relatively low GDP per capita on purchasing power parity giving significant potential for growth and continuing industrialisation and urbanisation. India's consumption-led economy continues to make the country a highly attractive investment destination in the short-to-medium term. As its domestic demand-driven growth model has helped the country weather the volatility in the global markets, providing significant growth opportunities to businesses. While the overall outlook for India is positive, the country will need to address rising inflation and the governance deficits. Provided India's inflation does start to fall back by the end of this year, and the US and EU economies do not slip back into recession, the 'soft patch' for Indian growth should be relatively short-lived. Once inflation is in check, and interest rates are no longer rising, consumers will be more willing to spend, supporting a general improvement in the business environment, with growth steadily accelerating during 2012.

Service industry accounts for 57.2%of the India's close to two trillion dollar GDP while the industrial and agricultural sectors contribute 28.2% and 14.6% respectively. Agriculture has remains the predominant occupation in rural areas, accounting for about 52% of employment. The service sector makes up a further 34% and industrial sector around 14%.However, statistics from a 2009–10,which used a smaller sample size than earlier surveys, suggested that the share of agriculture in employment had slide to 45.5% and that substantial chunk of working labours were shifted in the secondary and tertiary sector. So for knowing the pulse of Indian economy, it’s quite essential to predominantly dwell with the services and industrial sector, which normally impacted through the short term variables unlike the primary sector that rests on the long term perspectives.

Though it’s seemingly tough figuring out the safe or unsafe sector in 2012 and ahead, so it would be a prudent deliberation, if having holistic take while assessing few very important areas of Indian economy:-
The Challenges from Energy Sector-
At a time when India has staked its claim to a seat at the high table alongside world powers, around 57% of rural households and 12% of urban households in the world’s second most populous country have no access to electricity, according to a report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers Association. That partly explains why India’s per capita power consumption of around 700 units a year is way below the world average of 2,600 units and developed countries’ average of 8,000 units. India’s track record in adding power generating capacity is pathetic. In the five years to 2011, the country added only around half of the power from original target set out in plan.
The country has an installed power generation capacity of 162,367MW; its power plants have an average efficiency rate of 76.52% of installed capacity. An original target of adding 78,577MW by 2012 has been revised to 62,374MW. The government is trying to find solace in the fact that the 22,302MW of capacity added in three years of the 11th Plan (2007-12) exceeds the entire capacity addition in the 10th Plan. New execution strategy, if not the new resolution itself would be very essential for the coming out of the energy mess!

Indian Banking Sector: Stable but no longer Unchallenged!
Indian banks, the dominant financial intermediaries, have made good progress over the last five years, as is evident from several parameters, including annual credit growth, profitability, and trend in gross non-performing assets (NPAs). While the annual rate of credit growth clocked 23% during the last five years, profitability (average Return on Net Worth) was maintained at around 15% during the same period, and gross NPAs fell from 3.3% as on March 31, 2006 to 2.3% as on March 31, 2011. Good internal capital generation, reasonably active capital markets, and governmental support ensured good capitalisation for most banks during the period under study, with overall capital adequacy touching 14% as on March 31, 2011. At the same time, high levels of public deposit ensured most banks had a comfortable liquidity profile.
But on the other side, Indian banks faces several challenges as well, such as increase in interest rates on saving deposits, possible deregulation of interest rates on saving deposits, a tighter monetary policy, a large government deficit, increased stress in some sectors (such as, European and US markets, State utilities, airlines, and microfinance), restructured loan accounts, unamortized pension/gratuity liabilities, increasing infrastructure loans, and implementation of Basel III. Year 2012 would be crucial for Indian banking industry to perform well in the changed circumstances, besides RBI too has to adopt a hassle free attitude on introducing few new private sector banks which have been a due for long besides giving Philip to reform in financial sector. An increasing reliance on Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) for rural business would be very worthwhile, as in this particular domain most of experiments have proved too disappointing till now.

Housing Sector: Potential Growth Agent:-

In India’s mushrooming real-estate sector, the residential market is the most important segment. With economic growth and growing prosperity, the demand for housing has increased constantly in the recent years. According to RNCOS latest research report “Indian Housing Sector Analysis”, with the government support, the annual demand for residential buildings in the country is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 52.5% by 2014 to reach 22.1 Million Units.

Some of the key findings of the report are:

- The luxury housing sector possesses huge future growth potential as the number of rich people in India is increasing at a faster pace than in other emerging nations.
- The senior housing sector has been gaining momentum and is expected to expand further. As per estimations, in India, there will be 76 Million people above the age of 65 years by 2014 as against 67 Million seniors in 2011.
- In FY 2011, the credit growth rate in the Indian mortgage finance market was around 18% due to factors like stable operating environment and buoyant property prices, among others.
- Housing sector is the key driver of the Indian cement industry, and it is anticipated to constitute around 54% of the total cement demand during FY 2008 to FY 2012.

Finding of this report is encouraging and gives new hope to real estate market in 2012.

Pharmaceutical: Bullish on investment!

The Indian pharma companies remains positive as outlook for growing domestic market and export business present a bright prospect for the companies, said a report by rating agency CARE.
"The patent expiry in the regulated markets would be the primary growth driver for the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry over the next 3-5 years. Growing trend in outsourcing by global pharmaceutical companies will further fuel exports," said Mitul Budhbhatti, CARE Ratings. Indian pharma's growth story has also stoked private equity interest and deal makers expect 2012 to see the quantum of these deals pick up in 2012. On the investment front, it sounds well though a large concern remains on the affordability side of medicine. Regulators must have to address the growing gulf of primary health care in the country, so reasons are few to be completely bullish alone on the flow of investments in Pharma sector. Much more is in need to be done here.
IT/ITES: Big Elephants Dilimnas!
As par NASSCOM findings, IT-BPO sector in India aggregated revenues of USD 88.1 billion in financial year 2011, generating direct employment for over 2.5 million people, as the industry continued its journey on the core themes identified for the next decade – Diversification, Transformation, Innovation and Inclusion. But henceforth, life is not going to be same again for the outsourcing industry, after the pro-insourcing drive led by Barack Obama in USA and overall shrinkage of European economy will negatively alter the growth track of Indian IT/ITES sector. Domestic demands will be continue but for international markets, new policies would be needed to carve out for meeting the tough challenges. This year, every act from Indian IT Company should be in line exuding best competency at global level. Alone chasing the will of the wisp wouldn’t be enough!

For a while, recalling the study of veteran Economist/journalist, Mr.Premshankar Jha (“Managed Chaos”/Sage publications) on China’s growth would be very insightful. The crux of his opinion is, China has made huge success in different areas but in longer term, the lack of democracy would be making its growth complicated and unsustainable. So, India would remain a key growth market from emerging economies, even the recent study done by the Ernst&Young also justifying India’s potential edge in growth march up to 2013 vis-à-vis China. Challenges are umpteenths before Indian economy so is laying immense potential ahead too; the policy responses would make the actual course of future!
Atul Kumar Thakur

Friday, January 13, 2012

Invincible Verses

Book Review: Poetry/ The Myriad by Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal,Create Space/2011, Paperback

The thirty nine poetries consisted in this anthology marks the moving recollection of a potential poetess laureate, Supriya. Who is still only seventeen years old, came out with her first nattily composed collection of verses at sixteen and amazingly her short experiences are not deterring dappled sentiments to come up vivid in her writing. Her holistic creative approach is promising and not even remotely laden through the bumf expressions. The first four poetries under the aegis of “cherishing the Childhood” were written by this young poetess when she was young enough to call the sun an electrical bulb glowing forever.

It will be hard to arbiter the serious thoughts grooming in Supriya’s innocent words, which are indeed ahead of an ordinary profaced maneuvering. At the age of seven, she had penned down, My country: India, where she lucidly exudes a concerned mind coping with the wariness of depleting originalities under the severe wind of homoginisation. The ending lines says it better, “No iguanas, no anacondas, still having a rich reptile variety, all Indians are anglophiles except our freedom fighters, this is my country, this is my India! Distant from podgy declamation of plots, she had come aptly communicable in other three initial poetries as well on Animals, Flower and Friendship, these all are written with vigour and onslaught any trend ridden reprisals, that makes her writing eligible to be slotted in pure literary category.

As I grew up, second part of the book which the author had written in teen’s years increasingly streamlines her literary imagination with sublime routing it on broader canvasses. Here, Supriya has succeeded amazingly well. I will choose my two favourite poems from this collection, first “Basin of emotions” which is worth of saying her representative work...
I flash a polite smile
Unlaced it in a smart style
Wonder what thoughts lie next to
The dirt inside people’s mind
Hoping to reach
The highest of high
Looking for
Burning tearful good-bye
Tracing my step
Back to the ocean
Previously, had been at helm
Where the defense,
Sat far from the realm
What was it?
That laid a kiss
Leaving a sense
Of domestic bliss.

The second poem that touched me most from her writing is “Deception” which weaves the nuances of love and betrayal and yet the essential persistence of natural feelings rests with the persons who lost most in a valued relationship…
An indecipherable smile
Coiled my wounds, clinched my voice
A single lie
Fluttered my blood, flushed my love
The drain below my love, dries your tongue
A fluting accest, fobbed off itself
Tired of forgiving you of fibbing
And I remember
Like an idiot, I trusted your tall tale
You painted a grim picture of mine
To which I giggled endlessly.

Still a solace observing that poetry writing is comparatively running away from the jealously produced popular novels which are marring the basic ethics of literature. May be, this also highlights the limited commercial viability, for poetries are entitled with but for now, atleast this keeping verses as pure form of literature. But sure, verses have fine time ahead seeing the promising entries of few excellent young writers into this space and consistent decline of noticeable literary tracts from the floods of popular novels.

It would be not an exaggeration, if in present scenario; the literature at large can be ranked grappling high through the quality deficiencies. In Indian English writing, almost nothing is being written with the burning concern of the time essentially which falls in the purview of books to transcend the realities. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely the cases as bulk of fictional works are getting moulded through the market sentiments or they are networked enabled to perform well. Barring few novels, last decade was completely disappointing in this regard, though same is not true in non-fiction category, where good works are increasingly made their impact-there real hope lies. Young aspiring poet/poetess too should be tempting closely to follow the meaningful contexts, the way young Supriya has done in her very first anthology. As reference, she must be feel encouraged with her first work…The Myriad is simply an extraordinary accomplishment, that’s written by a pure writer, without of materialistic pressures. We can be sure; this young writer is going to have long and eventful time in literary world.
Atul Kumar Thakur

Monday, January 9, 2012

The big Bihar story

Book Review: Non-fiction/Biography, Nitish Kumar and the Rise of Bihar by Arun Sinha, Penguin/2011, 389 pp; Rs699 (Hardback)

The Bihar movement headed by Jay Prakash Narayan accomplished the rise of a new political generation that was based on socialistic ideals. Unfortunately, its immediate beneficiaries, notably Lalu Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan proved the complete antithesis of those hatched idealism by great socialists in 1970’s. Nitish Kumar, third important pillar of JP Movement remained the glimmering hope of blend, which constituted through the real politic and rational idealism. He parted the way with the bunch of cruel jokers pretending as people’s custodian in 1994; in the course of time, Lalu Yadav’s rustic antics kept deteriorating to the bawdy bottomline and Bihar started to known as the derivative point of whole mess on earth. When Nitish succeeded to dethrone the family rule of Lalu in 2005, he had sworn as the Chief Minister of almost a bankrupt state. In last six years, Bihar has significantly risen, and all its fundamentals are sound enough now with the quality improvements in governance, law&order, infrastructure etc. This biography of Nitish Kumar by Arun Sinha, a veteran journalist and close friend of him introspects well the politics of Bihar in last four decades and how lastly the turnaround took place in the land, was consistently in bad shape for long!

Nitish started his political career in 1969, when he was in his teenage as a member of the Socialist Youth Council, a student front of Lohia’s SSP. Nitish always had a thinking mind with him, much before it was recognised by the eminent social historian, Ramchandra Guha, who ahead seen in this politician, all the hope of Indian democracy. Son of a visionary Congress leader, Ram Lakhan Singh who was never treated fairly by the Congress high command, Nitish was always taken in his circle as super meritorious. Nitish was very good with academics, so he joined the prestigious Patna Science College and later Patna Engineering college for his further studies, here he emerged as a student leader during those troubled phase. Late 1960’s was not a comfortable time worldwide; there were upsurges of radicalism among the youths. In India, Bihar became the hub of resistance against the dynastic politics of Congress. Finally it was the Bihar movement of 1974, and with the affiliation to Chhatra Sangharsh Samiti leading to the JP movement during the emergency years, that lift Nitish to the state level. Arun Sinha was himself a part of that political activism, later he took the course of journalism and done remarkable works on Bihar and beyond. As Indian Express reporter, he was the man who led the real story of unfortunate police atrocities in Bhagalpur at national forefront; then the Congress government and its Chief Minister, Jagganath Mishra’s role were vindicated and they met to wrath of people in next election. This book is another best from his side on Bihar.

As an observer and close one of Nitish’ inner circle, he reveals in this book the details which reintroduces Nitish even more humble than people knows him reading before this biography. And, it’s not exaggeration in any manner. Leaving the second part of this book, which gives the material on technical knowhow of NDA government’s grand achievements under the aegis of Nitish Kumar’s leadership, the first part is totally new addition of super real facts on this prominent political scion of Bihar. In initial phases, the decent public composure of Nitish was prohibitive for him to stand to match with the unruly counterparts of socialist movements, like Lalu Yadav who tasted early success and hyped fame in political life. Unlike him, Nitish maintained the idealism of Jay Prakash Narayan, and fought many elections without the early success until in mid 1980’s, when he was elected to Bihar Legislative Assembly. In the meantime, he spent time in his constituency, reading avidly, ferrying on local buses/trains, skipping lunches by the dearth of money but always kept chasing the long term prospects in politics.

As he was a born leader, he never distracted by the initial failures though those around him were naturally concerned for his career. Even, Karpoori Thakur approached him to join engineering profession with citing uncertainties involved in political life, but his aim was clear and that was following its course very meticulously so he didn’t confided those suggestions. In 1980’s, he finally made entry into central politics as Loksabha member and later also as state minister in United Front government but his real journey begun as an alternative political force once he thought for delinking from the morally crumbling Janta Dal. He received huge response for his initiative but tactful weaknesses during the 1995 Bihar legislative election, his Samta party didn’t perform up to the mark. His high rise materialised with the blossoming fortune of NDA government at the centre, where he was given crucial portfolios to perform. Samta Party, which later turned as JD (u) shared the boat with BJP but only on its own principles, its finest replication is current NDA government in Bihar which runs through following immediate developmental goals instead relying on the trash non-issues, which are the cases in many other states ruled by BJP.

It’s also true; a great part of his success in Bihar became possible by the preservance and integrity of Sushil Modi. Who together carved out the new functional paradigms and ensured its flawless execution. Today, Modi is the Chairmen of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Minister’s, he took charge of this honour from Asim Dasgupta but unlike him, he never went to MIT for learning economics. He is only the science graduate from Patna University but he has shown by reviving the Bihar’s financial health that the over technicalities of economics can’t win the whole race. This book also flashes the hate/love relations between George Fernandeez and Nitish Kumar besides the figurehead role of Sharad Yadav, who made and later broke the Lalu Yadav’s political mileage in Bihar.

Nitish has always been aware of the inherent ills of power, so he consistently refrained himself from mingling with the complacency. That he exuded best after the land sliding verdict in 2009, when he made no exciting announcements except to humbly accept the election result as by the peoples of Bihar and for the peoples of Bihar. He knows, the journey is still far to be completed as the major challenges of investments and the revival of trade/entrepreneurship is still a big challenge, but he is doing well for meeting the desired goals, even his bitterest critic can’t deny that after visiting Bihar which is indeed passing through a revival time. This biography is of high importance, despite it’s written by a close friend, readers will never feel the wave of extraneous sympathy, whatever the words are endorsing are real and universally true about Nitish. As Ramkrishna Hegde, Ntish Kumar has no ambition for Prime Ministership, and that’s all good for his integrity and Bihar at large. By the reference, Arun Sinha will be known for this well researched work.
Atul Kumar Thakur

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Kashmiriyat Revisited!

Book Review: Fiction/Nativity Regained by Ashok Kaul, Palm Leaf Publications/2011, 356 pp; Rs295 (Paperback)

Autumns, normally leaves dual effects on mind. This season in Kashmir once used to be time of rejoice, that continuity broken in 1990, with the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits and subsequently the syncretism from valley. Never to forget, that was the culmination of incessant political follies directed towards the Kashmir which tolled the loss of very tolerant living native philosophy of Kashmiriyat from the region where once Lal Did and Nurrudin Rishi were reflexive of all humane convictions in collective lives. This work of fiction by Ashok Kaul, a genuine native of Kashmir narrates the lives of Kashmiris through the social angle that was mostly amiss in most of recent works written on similar themes. Woven through the authentic socio-cultural details, this book leads the debate on the retrieval of nativity, whose signs are already countering the adamant and irrelevant political gospels. At no point, assertion of Kashmiriyat, what this book generates as an enlighted crux will be going against the political accords happened since 1947, the only justifiable message is, how to retrieve the normalcy in Kashmir?

Beyond the repetitive theoretic exercises, every character of this novel speaks the language from ground. Consciously, it’s not a biographical sketch of author who resembles immensely with the central character, Bola. Like him, he was part of a broader India, started converging with the outside world, first as a student and later as an academic sociologist at another place of syncretism, Benaras. So, even before the houses of Kaul’s were forcibly locked and their dear Muslim brothers felt their world half lost under the dark canopy of long fetched conspiracies of rogue elements, Bola was a non resident of Bandipur but he was certainly not among the exiled/Sharnarthis till the outbreak of forced exodus in 1990, which in psyche had turned him too, to be like others fellow Pandits after that!

For a while, may be the sympathetic of surrealism will feel the void, but only unknowingly till they will start walking with the grim realities of this shadowy heaven. Introspection on the essence of Kashmiriyat is too deep here; it fleetingly went as early as to the time of Rajtarangani, Akbar’s colonisation of Kashmir but focus is unanimously to draw the points, how the harmony in collective lives was the essence of Kashmiriyat and how it started losing those specialties of universalism with the partition in 1947. Post partition, Kashmir was one among the many troubled royalties but not most shaky in any terms, few would have thought about the evolvement of this paradise as India’s weakness and centrepoint of notorious cold war politics!

Consolidation of a nation like India had to happen through the diverse maneuverings on endless impediments; then inclusion of independent royalties in India were the most crucial among many sighted challenges. Sardar Patel, as straight forward man had succeeded tirelessly in making India with an impressive geographical size, he made the idea of sovereignty completely a prerogative of this newly born nation. But alas, this man was neither a sage nor an immortal being; so he passed away when the complete inclusion of Kashmir was still in ideation state. That shrewd political executioner passed away, rest the lead on Kashmir was transferred to Nehru, who was by birth a Kashmiri but hardly a native in typical sense. He had pious ideas, which were broader in outlook but unfortunately, peoples with whom he had to deal with on Kashmir, were of virulent merits. Had he relied on the referendum or on hard action against the first attack of Pakistan in 1947, he could have easily escaped the unfortunate internationalization of Kashmir as dispute, impractical deals with Sheikh Abdullah’s in wrong times and most importantly the division of Kashmir that sabotaged the peace forever from these regions.

All political precedents and components behind it have captured well by the author with covert or overt representation through the forceful characters. The family of neighbour Hasan and Rashida, who remained indefiant from projected fundamentalism as consine keepers stands fine with the Kashmiriyat and draws the will of myriad fellow Muslims which scrimped the hope alive. Qadir, is another disillusioned Kashmiri who had allured and disenchanted with the conspiracies from outside of border; in later part of life his quest for reclaiming the peace and socio-cultural distinctness makes high senses for likely changes that is lying ahead. He is gunned downed by still faithful militants but there are chances of many such voices would be keep modulating in the valley, and on large scale.

Iqbal, subverted long back by the militants presents the cases of thousands similar youths, who had to be part of Jihad but without knowing its meaning or targets. They are in remorse for spoiling the traditional fabrics of Kashmir, now their search for native qualities in the rough patches of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir are the grim reminders of abject manipulation of their inner self. The affairs of reluctant fundamentalist turned a reformed man; Iqbal and Aisha, the daughter of a high official from POK exudes the superficiality of class differences. Aisha from the another side of Kashmir, Naseem and Rahul, the son of Mohan Ji and Babli, the childhood love of Bola gives the exact picture of new genre from Kashmir, who are relocated but still not lost completely from their cultural affiliation in valley. The overtures among these Kashmiris and Bola at far distant places of west strengthen the threads of cultural bond which for years were in doom. Such confluences of discreet parts from the single organism hold high promises. The two boxes with books, old articles, gathered with the native warmth depicts the entitlement very well, not surprisingly, if these priceless stuffs appears as most worthy preservance of nativity for exiled Pandits.

The remarkable is the finding of author that state is changing but not the social anatomy of Kashmir. His sentimental quest to supplement the vacuum created by the migration of Pandits is in no manner, a reproaching act. This work of fiction is closer to the real happenings in Kashmir, may be puritan will find it less imaginative but few could deny the streamlining of living expressions. Odds are still in action inside the Kashmir and its own peoples are the most vulnerable target. For Pakistan, Kashmir is an escaping route from its ruin state of affairs, for India, it’s the profound entity of its secular credential and for the local leadership, Kashmir is nothing more than a survival object. Puzzles are still there, so people must show the temptations of realignment with the Kashmiriyat and must continue their reliance on their nation, India. Still Shalimar is not “clown” for most of the Kashmiris and there is hope, curfewed nights will be over for a new dawn!
Atul Kumar Thakur
January 08, 2012, Sunday, New Delhi