Dear Friends,

I remember many years back when I was talking about my second book at Jamia Milia Islamia, a young man asked me a question: ‘Would the people you write about find themselves in your books?’

This is a question about reality vs representation. There are many genres of writing, many kinds of books, and each of them is important. It is just my intention to write about real people in real time.

I looked at the young man carefully. He was from Kashmir. I wondered if he ever feels his stories have been told. If he finds himself in those stories through which the world knows Kashmir. So much of our reportage, our writing, is about mis-representation for political ends or just out of ignorance.

I answered, ‘Yes, I hope so. You might not be able to identify the people I talk about because I often mask identities. But the people I write about can find themselves in my stories. I try to capture their essence. I may fail, but I try. At least, to not lie.’

One test of my writing is not just that I promote it, but the people who I talk about mention it to others. That people adopt the book, even own it, talk about it. The word of mouth travels.

That is why I am glad that now PANJAB: Journeys Through Fault Lines is being recommended by The Sikh Foundation International, USA. I recently received their news letter from Sonia Dhami with a list of excellent readings on Panjab and the Sikhs. My book is mentioned among other good ones.

Please see more here …

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