ABOUT THE BOOK:
Kashmir The History & Pandit Women's Struggle for Identity attempts to trace the history of the Kashmiri Pandit community from their claimed origins in the region of the Caspian Sea through the millennia to the present times. This book is unique as it brings a perspective about the women of the community which has witnessed the worst of exoduses.
It tracks the origin and history of the people of the Valley, starting from the Aryans and the Saraswat Brahmins to what was considered the 'foreign rule' of Mughals, Afghans, Chaks and Dogras, and the deep impact that these dynasties left on the social, political and religious milieu of the Kashmiri Pandits, particularly their women. From Kota Rani, the Hindu queen lost in the pages of history, who married a Sultan just to restore peace in her land; to Lalleshwari, who sang praises for the land she was born in; all these women tried to restore the lost glory of the Valley.
From being a well-researched historical document, the book also serves the purpose of a cultural guide, elucidating the various festivals, customs and rites of passages practised by the women of the Pandit community. The author has described the trials and tribulations, and triumphs of the women through all these centuries. At this point in time, following the events of 1989–90 which forced the most recent of their transitions out of the Valley, there is a serious felt need to record their history for the younger generations who are ignorant of who they are, their roots, heritage and culture. And this is what the author has endeavoured to do through this book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born to Malayali parents in Mumbai in 1931 and married to a Kashmiri Pandit in 1957, Suneethi Bakhshi spent most of her life in Jammu and Kashmir. After completing her schooling and the first two years of college in Mumbai, she moved to Baroda's Maharaja Sayajirao University for her graduation, post-graduation and doctoral studies.
Her study of the Jammu and Kashmir Secondary School System during her PhD made her travel widely across all the 10 districts of Jammu and Kashmir for data collection. Suneethi worked in the Department of Higher Education, Government of Jammu and Kashmir, as a college teacher, a trainer at the Teachers Training College, Srinagar, and Head of the Department of Home Science at the two women's colleges there. She also helped set up the Post-Graduate Department of Home Science in the University of Kashmir.
First as associate editor and later as an editor, she published papers on various subjects in Inquiry, the bi-annual journal of the education department. Following her retirement and the forced move to Delhi in the late 1990s, for few years she edited the Journal of the Home Science Association of India. She has also written and illustrated several books for her grandchildren, most of whom are growing up abroad. The present volume is also meant to enable them to understand the cultural moorings of the society they have been born into.