This KU Alumnus Gives Bangladesh Its First Book On Kashmir

SRINAGAR:Now onwards, people of Bangladesh will have a ‘holistic view’ of Kashmir, claims Journalist and researcher, Zakaria Polash

Polash has written a 204-page book on Kashmir conflict during his two year stay in Valley.

“Kashmir: History and Politics”, was recently released in the national book fair of the South Asian nation. It is a first book in Bangladesh exclusively written on Kashmir written by any Bangladeshi,Polash claimed. He calls it a “political ethnography”.

In an e-mail conversation with the Kashmir Observer, Polash narrated his two-year stay here and the making of ‘Kashmir book’.

“I graduated from University of Kashmir (KU) in 2016 spring,” Polash said. “I was selected by South Asia Foundation (SAF) for an MA program in 2014 in Institute of Kashmir Studies (IKS) at KU.”

“During this period of stay in Kashmir Valley,” Polash told  KO, “I exclusively read about the Kashmir conflict; India and Pakistan relations and the internal dynamics to it.”

Polash, who works with a business newspaper in Dhaka currently, feels that the new book – which is being widely debated in the Bangla newspapers – “explains both secular and religious politics of

Kashmir and the discontents of the phenomenon in dealing with the complex crisis”.

“My book is product of ethnographic study,” he said, “I lived with the people of Kashmir and met cross-section there. So, I have tried to explain the ground realities, rationally. And, my narratives are inclusive,” he claimed.

“Alongside the conflict,” he added, “I have tried to narrate the human history of Kashmir.”




Polash, who is thinking to translate the book in English, said, “in a few chapters, I have tried to illuminate the political-economic angle of the Kashmir conflict; minority-majority relations and the practice of political Islam and Marxist politics in Kashmir.”

Most interestingly, he further said, “the book talks about how Kashmiris look at Bangladesh.” “People in my country also want to know about this lingering issue and I believe this book gives them a holistic view.”

He said that there are some other books in Bangladesh that mention Kashmir issue along with many other problems of South Asia. “But my book is exclusively written on Kashmir and this is perhaps the first book in Bengali language.”

Besides, he said, “the books details about the linkages between Kashmiri and Bangla languages.” Kashmiri folk songs have also found mention in the book.

Polash passed out from KU in April 2016 after studying ‘Kashmir and South Asian Studies’ – a two-year PG program – as a SAF scholar along with eight others SAARC Scholars who joined a class of fourteen other Kashmiris in summer of 2014.

“I saw that there are many unknown facts of Kashmir that Bangladeshi people might be interested to know. So, I thought a book can be the best bi-product of my study in Kashmir,” he explained.

Interestingly, Polash during his course completion researched up on the life and politics of two top South Asian leaders: Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah – the duo who are known for creation of Bangladesh and Kashmir’s accession with the Union of India. It was later submitted as his MA thesis. Besides, he was a regular contributor in local newspapers of Valley.

“There is a wonderful travelogue on Kashmir that was written in 1988 by Mr Bulbul Sarwar. It has been a little bit romanticized,” he said, “but that is indeed a very popular book in Bangladesh on Kashmir issue. I saw that there is a clear gap in Bengali literature. So, I tried to fill that up.”

The book has been published by the Sucheepatra Publications this month and is a theme book of the ongoing national book fair in Dhaka.

The 204-paged book contains 22 chapters and is priced at Bangladeshi Tk 400 (333.83 Indian Rupees).

The publisher of the book Mr Saeed Bari told a Bangladeshi newspaper, “this is a unique book. It is the only Bengali book, in fact, that is explaining everything of the Kashmir crisis with valid and reliable data.”

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