The stories of the Kashmiri Pundits have been told by many, yet very few have been able to capture their pain and their agony. Orphans of the Storm makes an attempt, too. But how successful has the author, Ravi Dhar, been in portraying their lives. We will find out soon enough; but before we continue, let’s get to know the book better.
About Orphans of the Storm
A novel about a boy who finds his family completely devastated by the outbreak of militancy in Kashmir valley. It’s about his efforts to support his father’s efforts to eke out a living in the ‘migrant’ camps of Jammu and to educate himself. In the inhospitable environment of Jammu, though he succeeds in earning a Master’s degree in English, he sees no hope of settlement.
He gets selected as a Lecturer in English in Nagaland University, where he falls in love in the midst of an overwhelming environment of political intrigue and racial conflict. The abrupt end of this love affair hits him hard. But as if this was not enough, he gets isolated in the campus politics that views him with suspicion for proximity to both the groups of faculty. The murder of the Dean draws him into a shell. Life begins to smile yet again when he completes his doctoral thesis and happens to travel together with his future wife from Nagaland to Delhi. The breakdown of the train by which they are travelling gives them the time to come close and by the time they are travelling back from home, the bond between them is already sealed.
Orphans of the Storm is the story of Sidhhart, the youngest boy of Nund Pundit family, whose family is destroyed one fateful night forcing them to leave their village and become migrants in Jammu. They are treated like second citizens in their own country and are not even given basic facilities for survival. Siddhart, who once carefree, is now burdened with the responsibility of his family. Years pass and Siddhart develops a keen interest in literature that takes him to Nagaland.
This book tries to talk about the pain of the Kashmiri Pundits, their suffering and the author also talks about life. Though the story is well written, the editing could have been better. There are many instances where poor grammar disrupts the flow of the story. Also, in certain instances, the changes appear to be very sudden. Initially, it is difficult to make sense of the characters that are being introduced continually but one gets used to them as the book proceeds.
Better editing and a crisp storyline would have made Orphans of the Storm a much better read.