“There comes a time when everything finds its own place. The tragedy of Kashmiri Pandits has been spoken about for a very long time, but now people are finding enough space and voices to say and make art in a way they deem fit. Some people may want to approach it with a certain sensitivity, while others may want to say things in a stark manner, but it’s really up to them. I am glad that in the last few years there have been more discussions,” journalist and author Rahul Pandita, author of ‘Our Moon Has Blood Clots’ tells IANS during the recently concluded Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF).
At a time when the film ‘The Kashmir Files’ is not only breaking box-office records but also precipitating prime time programming on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, the author feels that it is important that more films and books centring around Kashmir come out. “Dozens of films have been made on the Holocaust. I hope we get to see more films on Kashmir. We made the movie ‘Shikara’, sadly it did not resonate with people,” he says.
Adding that stories need to come from ‘both sides’, Pandita says that when he meets young Kashmiri Muslim writers, he always exhorts them to come out with their perspectives. “I would really be interested in watching a film or reading a book that seriously investigates what happened in the valley during the 90s – when terrorism was at its peak.”
While he feels that ‘Shikara’ was a victim of politics and it was made out that the makers were being apologetic about what happened, he says, “I accept the fact that it was made with a certain sense of sensitivity but I will never compromise the truth of the what happened.”
Talk to him about the expectations from the current government at the centre for the cause of Kashmiri Pandits, and he feels that nothing concrete has been done. “Forget the fact that even after 30 years, people are still living in terrible accommodations, those responsible for our ethnic cleansing, people like Bitta Karate have not been brought to justice. Of course, we are not a huge vote bank. And yes, look at the disgusting recent tweet from the official handle of a national political party … it shows they are just interested in politicising the issue and not acknowledging facts.”
Currently writing the screenplay for the recently announced web series for Sony, based on his latest book ‘The Lover Boy of Bahawalpur: How the Pulwama Case was Cracked’, he says, “Onir will be directing it. Besides that, there are a couple of book projects that are long overdue and my editors are hoping that I finish them as soon as possible. However, the last two years have just passed by. I am now looking forward to resuming my journeys again, hopefully, something meaningful will come up.”