My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have for long been wanting to read this book, since Kashmir issue has intrigued me.
While many divisive problems around the world have either been resolved or are slowly inching towards a solution, this has defied one. Every time someone makes an attempt, ironically, it only seems to get worse.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is not sure of what the Kashmir problem is all about, especially its genesis.
The author, an Australian politico-socio researcher, provides an alternative history of the region.
For example, what is popularly known in India and Pakistan is that it's the raid of Kashmir by Pashtoon tribesmen from Pakistan, immediately after Independence, that forced the Maharaja to join India. But Snedden, with extensive documentation, says there was already widespread discontent in Poonch and Mirpur against the Maharaja.
He also talks about the communal polarisation in areas like Jammu and Poonch.
Besides the anti-British struggle for India's Independence, there was a parallel anti-Maharaja agitation for Kashmir's independence spurred by the sense of Kashmiriyat (Kashmiri pride).
Add to these, the creation of Azad Kashmir.
Given these and many other complex ground realities across the province (a lot of them, not widely known, which the author elucidates very clearly and elaborately), the decision for the Hindu ruler of the Muslim-majority province (to join India or Pakistan) wasn't an easy one. He dithered and dithered; until he had to take a decision, to join India, in October 1947.
This book probably has the most number of appendixes: the entire second half of the book.
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