The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 - Where the Terror Began Kindle Edition
|Length: 528 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled|
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Judging from the two dozen odd reviews that it has garnered so far, The Meadow by the British journalists, Adrian Levy & Cathy Scott-Clark, is quite contentious despite impressive evidence of the very thorough research which has gone into its making. My review, however, is different from other such assessments in one significant way: the events narrated in the book simply happened around me.
Growing up in the shadows of conflict, of guns wielded by both militants and armed forces, we in Kashmir have witnessed many confusing narratives that just 'happened' but which are now imprinted in our minds, seemingly forever. Everything in 1990s Kashmir was, as I remember it iteratively, brought to a standstill each day. Our lives as young boys were ruled by a primary goal: to save ourselves and to live just for one more day. While boys of our age in other parts of the country were aiming for productive careers in the engineering, medical and civil services and concentrating on their studies, our lives were part of another narrative - knotted, twisted and often grotesque, despite the shimmering beauty of the landscape we inhabited.
In July 1995, after our XI standard biology lecture, a seventeen-year-old boy told us a strange story before the news actually broke in the media. It was the tale of the kidnapping of six foreigners from the upper ranges of Pahalgam valley. How did this boy know of this event even before the fiery media disclosures? He did not tell us and we did not ask - but the dramatic kidnapping episode soon became the talk of the whole town.Read more ›
Prelude: Prior to 1995, terrorism was largely an intellectual exercise for me much like the concept of war prior to my combat tour in South Vietnam. I knew that war caused death and destruction, but it did not become “real” to me until I landed up in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam in 1972 and witnessed it first-hand. The sight of unloading body bags from a Huey helicopter was a defining moment for me as a young lieutenant. So it was with terrorism.
I was an Army colonel and the defense attaché (DATT) at our Embassy in New Delhi. I had attended the Indian National Defence College in 1993 and then became the DATT in the summer of 1994. The redoubtable Frank G. Wisner became our ambassador soon afterwards. He was an esteemed career diplomat who had previously served as our ambassador to Egypt and just prior to coming to India as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Under his leadership, tremendous progress was made in furthering Indo-U.S. relations in all areas, especially defense.
Terrorism became quite a bit more personal on 8 March when Islamic terrorists killed two U.S. diplomats and wounded one other in Karachi, Pakistan.Read more ›
At times I did think that it was overlong and that the authors were perhaps using guess work in describing people's reaction. However for the most part it seemed quite convincing and accurate.
Maybe the events described in this book were not as influential on a global scale as the author suggests. However they do a good job in conveying the personal tragedy and horror.
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