‘Gilded Cage’ by Sandeep Bamzai is published by Khurshid Drabu and Gen. Hasnain.

Sandeep Bamzai, author and editor-in-chief of IANS, released a book on the turbulent political history of Jammu and Kashmir from 1931 to 1953 on Thursday in the presence of Salman Khurshid, a prominent member of the Congress, Lt. Gen. Syed Ata Hasnain (eetd), IIC Director K.N. Shrivastava, and Haseeb Drabu, a former finance minister of J&K.

Any researcher or journalist attempting to make sense of what is taking place in Kashmir at the moment will find the brief but incisive book “Gilded Cage: Years That Made and Unmade Kashmir” to be of great value. It provides a compelling narrative of what happened in the Valley between the latter years of the British Raj and the occasions leading up to the dismissal and imprisonment of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on August 8, 1953, building on hitherto unaccessible private files.

The book, which is the third installment of the author’s Kashmir Trilogy, is humorously written and jam-packed with new information. It provides details of: how Sheikh Abdullah abandoned Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s plan to seize Kashmir for Pakistan, a plan that Maharaja Hari Singh’s Prime Minister, Ram Chandra Kak, would have happily fulfilled; how the Kashmiri nationalist leader persuaded Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to begin military action against the Pakistani tribal raiders infiltrating the Valley in an effort to annex it; and finally, how the Sheikh boxed himself into his exclusiveist vision of an independent Kashmir without Jammu, completely at odds with Nehru’s expansive Idea of India, causing Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, the Sheikh’s deputy and Nehru’s eyes and ears in Kashmir, to unseat him as leader of the National Conference.

Bamzai has delved deeply into the previously unpublished papers of his grandfather, K.N. Bamzai, the Delhi bureau chief of “The Blitz,” who later served as Sheikh Abdullah’s private secretary and OSD to Nehru. From a privileged position, K.N. Bamzai saw the estrangement of the two political allies as “one of the most unfortunate happenings in the years that followed Independence.”

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