Friends turn active foes or simply turn away or turn co-conspirators. What is it that institutionalizes hatred in such deep terms? (We all know what it is, but it is fashionable to not talk about it and pretend that such a vile ideology does not exist.)
The book shows the mirror to a people who today perpetually claim persecution, but who have brutally conspired to drive another community nearly into extinction. And yes, this has happened in India - in the great secular democratic state we are proud to be part of - and yes, in the recent past and it continues to be so.
Third, and this is perhaps the most important one. Before the forced exodus, there were many events that happened. And this is what I call as 'creeping poison'. First, one community is asked to wear an identifier (or remove an identifier) - and this has a creepy parallel with Nazis. And hatred is spread on a day to day basis - with basic humanity being denied. There are sporadic incidents here and there. Each day this goes on and on and finally, one day, all the hatred reaches a tipping point. There is no surprise about it - but like the proverbial frog in boiling water, everybody lives in denial - government, society and others. It is not difficult to identify the source(s) and clamp down on them.
I don't know. All I can say is that the book is a depressing read. This happened in our country 20 odd years ago and even today there is very little happening to rehabilitate the community - to give them back their land and home or to prevent its recurrence in other parts of the country.
But this is a great book - it is a story that deserves to be told by the millions who continue to live in forced exile. Hats off to Rahul Pandita to write out this book.