In the last 300 years, India has suffered maximum pain on account of two reasons.
The first cause is, of course, the advent of the British who pillaged and plundered the country for several centuries.
Just as Indians heaved a sigh of relief in 1947 after flinging away the yoke of colonialism following a long struggle, India’s second calamity started.
Indeed, the seeds of India’s second tragedy were sown several years earlier but flowered in the second half of 1947.
If you still haven’t guessed, India’s second tragedy turned out to be Kashmir.
Following Independence, both India and Pakistan laid claim to Kashmir but India prevailed.
India’s victory was, however, pyrrhic.
Over the last six decades, Kashmir has turned into a bloody battlefield and extracted a heavy toll for India in both human and financial terms.
Tens of thousands of lives have been lost, tens of millions of dollars lost due to the destruction of economic activities in the region because of terrorism sponsored by Pakistan and tens of millions of dollars have been spent in thwarting terrorism.
And the bloody battle rages to this day in Kashmir.
Our interest in the Kashmir issue rose from a paper we wrote many years ago (sadly, we’ve lost the paper now).
So when we realized that there was a new book out on Kashmir by a respected Pakistani journalist Arif Jamal, we made haste to our local Borders’ book store a short while ago to pick it up.
A former contributing writer to the New York Times, Jamal is a visiting fellow at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University.
Titled Shadow War: The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir, the 303-page book was first published by Melville House in April 2009.
We were able to get the book at Borders for $16.17 using a 40%-off coupon (book’s original price is $26.95).
We have started reading Shadow War and will bring you a separate review of the book in the next three or four days.