Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Meadow

The Meadow is the title of a book by Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark that is basically an investigation into "The Kashmir Kidnapping that changed the face of modern terrorism". I had written on this before, but that was before reading the book.

But a few points that I came across on reading the book.

This book follows the typical template of journalism while writing about Kashmir.There is a little RSS bashing, a lot of Indian army bashing. It has one or two obligatory sentences on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits - camouflaged with military precision. To its credit the book does call out the terrorism in Kashmir in a few places as well.

I did find the obsession with skin colour intriguing at a couple of places in the book.

Page 29: Aquiline noses, cat-green eyes, skin so fair that many seemed more Aryan than Don or Jane - some Kashmiris would have passed as Europeans.

Barrelling into town, their taxi passed yet more bunkers and pickets, out of which dark-skinned Indian soldiers peered, their guns aimed at Kashmiri men and women who walked solemnly along the broken pavements, heads cast downwards.

Page 58: It might have convinced the increasing number of Indian tourists coming from the cow belt that all was peaceful here, the dark skinned holidaymakers from the south who were all keen to do their bit to reinforce the government's writ in Kashmir.
Really? And how does skin colour matter here, authors?

In any case, Chapter 2 of this book is a rip roaring read that shows the real Masood Azhar a pusillanimous mouse - that terrorist who Indians shamefully giftwrapped and swapped for a planeful of hostages in the IC814 hijack drama.

And the book does make an interesting read on the whole story.

Then as now, I have no contest on the claims that the authors make. Perhaps they are right, perhaps they are not.

My opinion after reading the book hasnt changed much and I maintain that fighting terror is never easy and sometimes, it is essential to use dirty tactics against those who aim to kill/decimate/destroy you by all means - fair and foul. I only wish India had a uniform no-negotiation with terrorists policy...

No war against terror anywhere in the world has been won by peaceniks - it takes soldiers to win wars and no war has been won by giving up.

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