27 October, 2020

A Passage Thru Jannat

Occasionally the book reads like a catalogue of Kashmiri Muslim rituals from prayer to wazwan, but her compassion shines through. The telling is straightforward, the mode realist and the pace, especially in the last section, swift.

A Passage Thru Jannat
Somewhere through the last section of Endless Rain, Ali, a member of the JKLF, wonders what a free country looks like. In this context he remembers a family outing on Dal Lake from his childhood. Ali’s mother sighs and says, "This is jannat," while Ali’s father elaborates on the true meaning of paradise, "One day I’ll bring you here at dawn when the first light of the sun makes the Dal look silver... From there (Hari Parbat) the first azaan rises, and soon after, the first ardas from the gurdwara fills the air, and then, the first bells of the Shiva temple begin to ring. That is paradise—jannat." Three major religions harmonising over the waters of the Dal Lake: this is the secular vision Meena Arora Nayak seeks to embody in her book.

The protagonist of Endless Rain is Kashmir, its story told through a lower middle-class Muslim weaver family in Srinagar. It begins with the birth of Ali, the much wanted son after three daughters. The petty rivalries between the children, the spoilt, delicate son, the pretty, wayward daughter, the religious-minded,...



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