Book reviews

Book Review: Snakes in the Meadows by Ayaz Kohli

Title- Snakes in the Meadows
Author- Ayaz Kohli
Publisher- Rupa Publiccation
Format- Paperback
Pages- 288
Genre- Fiction
Publication date- 20 May 2019

Ratings- 5/5

Book blurb:

Jammu And Kashmir, 1987. In the hilly village of Pathri Aali, where legends appear true, Aslam and Ashwar, two young lovers, dream of marriage and of good things of life. But that is not to be. Unable to cope, Aslam leaves Pathri Aali forever. Years later, as men migrate to Saudi Arabia for employment, Pathri Aali is populated mostly by women and children. Soon they realize the Mujahideen, who guise themselves as their liberators, are the worst perpetrators, and misery seems inescapable. Ashwar refuses to be cowed down by this reign of terror and is determined not to let it devastate the once-peaceful village. The only one she can bank on is Aslam—and she calls out to him across the distance of time and space, to return and live up to the legends of their village. Snakes in the Meadows is a saga of the onset of militancy, and the suffering and the resilience of Pir Panjal—the ‘And’ of Jammu And Kashmir.

Book review:

You will earn dignity to bequeath to your children, not tales of cowering behind the walls.

I had no idea if this book would blow me away and shook me the way it eventually did. The story is set in the village of Kashmir, Pathri Ali, 1987 when militancy took all over the valley of Pir Panjal. The militants( Mujahideens) in the name of religion invaded the lives of civilians and carried out their hideous actions.

It is a heartwarming tale of two lovers Ashwar and Aslam, who belonged to the same village; fell in love at a very young age of 16 only to get separated. Ashwar is later married to a widower and father of two children, Hanif while Aslam flees from his wedding. Years later they both meet and their lives are now in entirely different paths.

The misfortunes of the lives of the minors will hit the reader to the core. This book has portrayed the trauma and dismay of the civilians in an extremely heart-wrenching and soul-stirring manner.

The title of the book totally justifies the content. Here the meadows are compared to the cheerful life of the Pir Panjal that soon got ravaged and snakes are contradicted to the militants.

Someone will tell a better story of how you died rather than you telling your children how you lived.

I’ve read many books inspired by Kashmir and wars prevailing there and each had its own impact and Snakes in the meadows is one of book that has depicted the existence of war and the lives of civilians in a very raw manner. The poignancy of the tale never made me feel that the story has been sugar-coated just to make it more subjective. I can’t recommend this book enough.

Thanks to @rupa_publication for the #gifted copy.🌻

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