Sonali comes out with another Book ‘The Outsider’s Tales’

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Oct 5: After highlighting the problems faced by Indian Service Officers in Jammu and Kashmir through her memoir ‘The Outsider’s Curse (Unmasking Kashmir)’, the first non-resident lady IAS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre, Sonali Kumar has come out with another book ‘The Outsider’s Tales’.
Sonali and her husband Arun Kumar, also an IAS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre, had held various prestigious postings in Jammu and Kashmir before their retirement.
A sequel to Sonali Kumar’s controversial and much discussed memoir The Outsider’s Curse/Unmasking Kashmir has just hit the Indian market through Amazon and Flipkart. This collection of short stories from the celebrated author is bound to tug at your heartstrings and make you think once again if the insider-outsider government led-distinctions in Kashmir have any human leg to stand on.
In 2017, when Sonali Kumar, the first lady outsider IAS officer of Jammu and Kashmir, put out her memoir: THE OUTSIDER’S CURSE (UNMASKING KASHMIR), she was merely highlighting a curse every All-India Service officer has to suffer in J&K. The curse that ensures that unlike any other Indian state, in J&K, an “outsider” or a “non-state subject” officer can’t buy property, can’t educate her children in any medical or engineering college, can’t get her spouse or children to find employment with the state government, can neither vote in nor stand for any state-level elections even after retirement, can’t even get her son married to a local girl because that will immediately extinguish that girl’s/her offsprings’ state-subject ship, and so on.
Little did she then appreciate that not only All India Service officers, but so many other ordinary, full-blooded Indian, citizens suffer from the same curse. Silently. Their stories also need retelling. And that is what she has tried to do in the short stories that comprise ‘The Outsider’s Tales.’
Ever wondered how does the wife of an IAS officer keep her sanity when her husband goes to the office every day?
Or, the CRPF constable who is ordered to stand guard at places that the J&K Police won’t touch with a barge pole?
Or, the Personal Security Officer of a senior officer who can’t ensure the safety and security of his own family in the Kashmir village he lives in?
Or, the barber from Uttar Pradesh, who has the high and mighty of Kashmir as his loyal clients, but when he needs help his outsider status becomes an albatross around his neck?
The stories are poignant and make you wonder what Kashmiris have really gained by continuing to follow this old apartheid policy of the Maharaja of Kashmir.
But what about the curses of that harried, harassed, discriminated, “outsider” to J&K, Sonali wonders? Are you sure the present problems of J&K are only communal, or instigated by Pakistan, or because of a genuine need to separate from India?
And not because of those tears of the “outsider,” shed while serving as a bonded labour in J&K?
Just think about it! Implores the author.
The book has been published on all eBook platforms like Kindle, Apple, Google Play, Kobo etc. Its paperback version is available worldwide through Amazon and in India also through Flipkart.

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