JAMMU, Feb 28: The much-awaited sequel to the controversial novel ‘Kashmir Is Free’ is now available worldwide in paperback and e-Book formats on popular ecommerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart.
Written by Dr Arun Kumar, an IAS officer of 1979 batch of the J&K cadre, the story of the book titled “Kashmir Thinks It’s Free” starts in April 2022 when India has walked out of Kashmir and made Kashmir free.
So, Kashmir finally has what its stone pelting mobs have apparently been demanding for such a long time i.e. full freedom. Now what? What does Hasina Ittoo, its Chief Minister “promoted overnight” as Prime Minister, do? Beg India for a Bhutan like status with the Indian Army defending it; or request Pakistan for a similar status as that of its so-called region of “Azad Kashmir”?
What does India do: treat Kashmir like Bhutan or Nepal with free trade and visa-free movement of people or treat it like Pakistan (an enemy country under the Enemy Property Act 1968) with massive restrictions on everything imaginable?
And how do the Kashmiris carry on with their daily lives? Where from do they get their food supplies, electricity, petroleum products, medicines, car parts, building material, and every such item of daily use? Which currency do they use now: Indian, Pakistani, or both? Who pays now for the bloated bureaucracy of Kashmir?
Does Shehla Kaloo, the firebrand Kashmiri feminist JNU student leader, (and one of the protagonists in the book), succeed in turning Kashmir in to a neutral but prosperous Switzerland or does she yield to popular sentiments in favour of a Sharia-governed Islamist society?
The sequel examines all these issues in quite some detail and reaches a conclusion that is too shocking for words. Spread over 47 chapters, this astoundingly realistic and edge-of-the-seat politico-bureaucratic thriller will grip the readers by the throat and shake them to the core when they finish its almost 70,000-words of pure adrenaline rush.
As an IAS officer of the 1979 batch of the J&K cadre, who has served the nooks and crannies of J&K for over 37 years, lead author Arun Kumar believes he’s more than qualified to do justice to this thrilling plot.
Co-author Prasenjeet Kumar brings his formidable experience of writing 30 books (of which 60 titles are now translated in to six international languages viz. French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Portuguese) to tighten up the story and to bring out its human and social dimensions.