Kashmir Files is the hot topic of debate these days. The year is 2022.
Life comes up with interesting coincidences. It was around 2012 – ten years ago – when Bashir first started saying, “There is a book in my head. I need to write it.” Talking about the book, he would become quiet and contemplative. At times he would say, “I can see the flow of the chapters. I can read the words of my book in my head. They keep moving about in my thoughts. I need to write the book.” Perhaps those years he was debating within himself the wisdom of putting down in black and white all that was swirling in his head. He was as much agitated as he was pained about sad state of Kashmir. Perhaps Bashir knew that he was going to reveal the untold, unspoken, unvarnished and inconvenient truths on Kashmir. It was not easy. Sometimes in his contemplation, he would say: I want to write to save my Kashmir from what it is becoming. My book shall bring to light many hidden truths of Kashmir.
The years went by. Around 2018, Bashir started referring to the book more and more. In February 2019, pained by the suicide bombing by a blooming Kashmiri youth, Bashir wrote the first chapter of his book. It was riveting. It had raw, throbbing energy marked by pain, loss, and realism.
Bashir has always been an articulate, dynamic orator. He always speaks with strong conviction and pleasing humour, and builds an easy connect with his audience. It is the same even now. The contemporary history and geo-politics of Kashmir perhaps gave Bashir no room for gentle humour in his book. K File is searing. Bashir borrowed a rundown laptop from a friend to write the chapters. Through those years of extreme financial hardship, the only thing that kept him going was his book. He was driven by the conviction that he owed it to his motherland and his people. Finally, he finished the book at 18 chapters. Then started the search for a publisher. All those publishers who turned Bashir away later regretted their decision. Renu Kaul Verma, MD of Vitasta Publishing, New Delhi, took the leap of faith so essential for publishers. In about three months of submission of the manuscript, she published the book.
Within days of its release, K File: The Conspiracy of Silence acquired a life of its own. The book seemed to be running into readers’ hands everywhere. Readers from India and abroad started listing K File on social media and book review platforms as a must-read. The scorching truths of Kashmir jumped from page after page. Readers posted their adulation on social media day after day and give it a four-star to five-star rating consistently. Reviewers acknowledged the merit of the book and its deep, underlying honesty. K File went into reprints fast. Once, Bashir was walking with his friends at Connaught Place in New Delhi when they passed by Jain Book Shop. One of his friends spotted his third book in the shop window – Kashmir: The War Of Narratives. He took Bashir into the store and asked the store owner, “Do you have the other books by Mr. Bashir Assad?”
The store owner promptly produced K File and Bashir’s second book, Kashmir Beyond Article 370. Then he gushed on about K File. He spoke about how the book was still selling so much, how it had been avidly read nationally and internationally. When he was introduced to the author, the store owner was overjoyed. “We have sold so many copies of K File, you will not believe it,” he told Bashir. This was the account of just one book store.
In the following pages, KASHMIR CENTRAL reproduces the chapter on Kashmiri Pandits in K File: The Conspiracy Of Silence.
The First Lines Of K File That Bashir Wrote After The Pulwama Attack
Terrorists are not born. They are manufactured.
The February 14 gruesome terrorist attack on CRPF convoy at Lethpora on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway has left the security agencies and the Kashmir watchers red-faced. Honestly, I was not surprised by this bloodiest act. It was the biggest attack in the history of militant Kashmir, but I was anticipating it given the amount of churning that has happened in the Kashmir society over last few years. In Kashmir, when a mother or a sister is asked whether she would like to appeal to her militant son or brother to return, she surprises you by saying, “If he returns we will kill him with our own hands.” This actually gives us a clue about how grave the situation in Kashmir is. Apologists will still try to somehow counter my argument by saying that it is the anger against the state, and that there is political radicalization in Kashmir. But how can one brush aside the video messages released often by militants, which establish that the current phase of violent uprising has more to do with global jihad than with any local grievances whatsoever…