Rooh by Manav Kaul – Book Review

One thing with which I resonated the most is when Manav said ‘For everyone Kashmir is their own personal story’ and I totally agree with that, I’m not a Kashmiri but for some reasons Kashmir has always been a distinct emotion for me.. I don’t have a personal story but still there is still an unexplainable connection or a longing for Kashmir. Have always been curious about knowing more about Kashmir and not what media tells us or views of any political party or representatives of any faith or a religion but stories from the actual people from there, like the one in this book someone who has roots there or has spent time there who can tell the truth or at least their version of truth because media or the all other spokespersons don’t tell the truth they only have propagandas to sell. Even cinema such a beautiful form of art is being exploited lately to create narratives and amidst all that madness you come across this book whose name is ‘Rooh’ which in English language means ‘Soul’ so you’re rest assured that what you’re going to read is coming from somewhere deep. You know that writer has literally tried to open his heart out to you to in an attempt to present you his personal journey in the most genuine and authentic attempt.

There are 2 parallel journeys in the book one is the physical or a Touristy one where we are getting the glimpse of interiors of Kashmir and in some chapters those glimpses are so well articulated in words that you would feel that cold in the breath that Manav mentioned standing in the deodars or you can imagine the visuals of those hidden gems where he reached after days of trekking, one can get immersed in these experiences of the author and might get a feeling that we’re also present right there. The other journey is the more intrinsic one, it is the journey of that kid who carries an unsolved puzzle of his own memories of Kashmir and his vivid emotions attached to those visuals from childhood. And that Kashmir from his childhood is present with him all this while in different ways of his living.

There is another Kashmir and the most important one for all of us because until now we have just seen or heard Kashmir from the lenses of bias, but there is a Kashmir of real Kashmiris who are just trying to survive amidst all the madness, common people who have nothing to do with politics, geo-politics, religious extremism or power games. This book at least has the nerves to touch upon that truth and I want to applaud the writer for not adding his personal bias or mindset to their truth. A must read for everyone who genuinely wants to understand what Kashmir is because there are a lot of gems in this book which take you closer to truth.

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