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REVIEW: Snakes In The Meadows by Ayaz Kohli

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Jammu and Kashmir, 1987. In the hilly village of pathri Aali, where legends appear true, Aslam and ashwar, two young lovers, dream of marriage and of good things of life. But that is not to be. Unable to cope, Aslam leaves pathri Aali forever. Years later, as men migrate to Saudi Arabia for employment, pathri Aali is populated mostly by women and children. Soon they realize the mujahedeen, who guise themselves as their liberators, are the worst perpetrators, and misery seems inescapable. Ashwar refuses to be cowed down by this reign of terror and is determined not to let it devastate the once-peaceful village. The only one she can Bank on is aslam—and she calls out to him across the distance of time and space, to return and live up to the legends of their village. Snakes in the meadows is a saga of the onset of militancy, and the suffering and the resilience of pir panjal—the ‘and’ of Jammu and Kashmir.


TITLE- Snakes In The Meadow
AUTHOR- Ayaz Kohli
PUBLISHER- Rupa Publications
FORMAT- Paperback

*Thanks to the Publishers for a paperback review copy.*
(All opinions are my own)

Snakes in the meadows is a tale full of torture and torment, set up in a small village, Pathri Aali in Jammu Kashmir (1987). The cruelty and inhumanity depicted in the book shake the readers to the core and make them think about the people leading their lives in the border areas that too in Kashmir, the residence of terrorism in hiding.
The story revolves around Ashwar and Aslam, who fell in love at the young age of 16, only to be separated by their own families because of family rivalry. 

Ahwar is forced to marry a widow and father of 2, Hanif whereas Aslam runs away in search of a successful career and a stable life. 

The story takes a time leap and their lives once again collide but everything has changed. Their perfect tiny village is now captured by the militants and is just a shadow of its past, broken and molested to its roots. The village, once heaven has now become hell. The women are being raped, children tortured, men beaten. No one is safe.

When the government authorizations deny their help and support, Aslam takes the matters in his own hands and with the help of villagers forms a self-protection group.

But amidst all this suffering, can a long lost love find its happily ever after? 
COVER & TITLETalking about the Title, it is apt and resonates with the story well. The cover is quite lovely. I really liked the painting.

The plot is well constructed and beautifully depicted. The story covers sensitive subjects like rape, terrorism, politics and family rivalry. I liked the author's writing style, it was simple and quite easy to understand. The story was neither too fast nor too slow. The emotions in the book were well expressed and I was able to feel the torment of the villagers. 

The best thing about the book was the author's way of describing the beautiful scenery of Kashmir, the beauty of Kashmir added a positive vibe to the book. 

All in all, it was a good read for me.



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