Book: Curfewed Night
Author: Basharat Peer
ISBN-13: 9788184000900, 978-8184000900
Publishing Date: 2009
Publisher: Random House India
Number of Pages: 256
Basharat Peer was born in Kashmir in 1977. He studied political science at Aligarh Muslim University and journalism at Columbia University. He has worked as a reporter at Rediff and Tehelka and has written for various publications including the Guardian, Financial Times, New Statesman and Foreign Affairs, where he was assistant editor. He is currently based in New York.
Basharat Peer was a teenager when the separatist movement exploded in Kashmir in 1989. Over the following years countless young men, seduced by the romance of the militant, fuelled by feelings of injustice, crossed over the Line of Control to train in Pakistani army camps. Peer was sent off to boarding school in Aligarh to keep out of trouble. He finished college and became a journalist in Delhi. But Kashmir—angrier, more violent, more hopeless—was never far away.
In 2003, the young journalist left his job and returned to his homeland to search out the stories and the people which had haunted him. In Curfewed Night he draws a harrowing portrait of Kashmir and its people. Here are stories of a young man’s initiation into a Pakistani training camp; a mother who watches her son forced to hold an exploding bomb; a poet who finds religion when his entire family is killed. Of politicians living in refurbished torture chambers and former militants dreaming of discotheques; of idyllic villages rigged with landmines, temples which have become army bunkers, and ancient sufi shrines decapitated in bomb blasts. And here is finally the old story of the return home—and the discovery that there may not be any redemption in it.
Lyrical, spare, gutwrenching and intimate, Curfewed Night is a stunning book and an unforgettable portrait of Kashmir in war.
Basharat Peer has attempted a topic that needs an attention of all the Indians who aren't living in Jammu and Kashmir. The situations there are always talked of. But not many of us know how Kashmir itself is. What actually goes in there. We haveread about it through newspapers but reading about it in 230+ pages is an experience that'll take away all the smile from your face. A story that's provoking, hurtful, shocking, outrageous, sad etc. I need not say much about how effective the book is as it's already a Winner of the Vodafone Crossword Non-Fiction category. More over this, the great Khushwant Singh says it's beautifully written, brutally honest and deeply hurtful.
Yes, the incidents that are being mentioned in the book does gives you goosebumps. As I have also faced some similar situation, I related to the emotions of the author who has jotted down his whole life, almost. The sudden deaths of people around you for the only reason that they wanted to stand with their innocent views rages you. Then, the militants and soldiers killing people randomly for their own benefits is something that should not be taken lightly. The book got published in 2008. But reading it now, after reading many articles related to Kashmir's current situation, I can say that Basharat Peer's Curfewed Night will always remain to be truthful for the situation of Kashmir at any point of time. He tells initially how Kashmiris aren't involved much in politics. Then he tells how they get involved into the things that could have been avoided. Then he tells how young boys got into wars. How they wanted to pick up the gun and shower bullets into everyone whom they felt were the enemies. And then, he tells about his own journey in Delhi where he researched about the people from Kashmir and other related stories. The first half gives many new elements. Later the book becomes monotonous. The second half seems to be too much stretched. But the second part itself gives many secret out. The book ends on a good note. It's definitely one-time read. A non-fiction can't be written with more innocence and honesty.
ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU