Kashmir 1947: A Survivor's Story

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9780144000173: Kashmir 1947: A Survivor's Story

The raiders who barged into Kashmir in October 1947 had more than territory on their minds. As they advanced, they left behind them a trail of dead, many of them women who killed themselves to protect their honour. Krishna Mehta’s husband was district commissioner of Muzaffarabad, and he was away repelling the attack when the marauders reached their home. Six children in tow, Krishna escaped to find safe shelter. Over the next few days and nights, hungry and thirsty, she and her family moved from one house to another, turned away from each by their hosts after a day or so for fear of the raiders. Finally the raiders caught up with them—and it was in captivity that Krishna realized the full horror of the situation. Yet, she never yielded. In the end, even her captors, pitiless thus far, were so moved by her spirit and dignity that they took it upon themselves to protect her, cutting across religious divides.

Kashmir 1947 is a portrait of a woman fighting for survival in an extreme time. Set during the dark days in Kashmir when the state was under siege, it is a gripping account of courage and resilience, all the more fascinating and powerful because it is entirely true. 

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About the Author:

Krishna Mehta (1913–93) was a direct descendant of Col Basti Ram who helped annex Ladakh and later became its governor. She was born in Kishtwar, a small, sleepy town in Kashmir on the banks of the Chandrabhaga (Chenab) river and married Duni Chand Mehta, a civil servant of Jammu and Kashmir and Wazir-e-Wazarat of Muzaffarabad. During the raid on Kashmir in October 1947, Duni Chand was shot dead while on duty and Krishna was taken prisoner along with her young children.

She and her children eventually found their way to a refugee camp, and from there to Delhi. She so impressed Pandit Nehru with her sincerity of purpose that he felt impelled to call her his sister. With his help and support Krishna established the Gandhi Seva Sadan and Women’s Welfare Centres for the socio-economic development of the disadvantaged women of Kashmir. She nurtured both these institutions and they prospered rapidly. She was nominated to the Lok Sabha as the first woman MP from Kashmir. A disciple of Magan Baba, Krishna was also associated with Dr Dinshaw Mehta’s Society of Servants of God where she launched the Needs of Life Movement and secured government approval of Naturopathy as an alternative medical practice.

Krishna Mehta travelled extensively, both in India and abroad, and brought into her work and writings the rich and varied experiences of her travels. She lived a rich and fulfilled life. When she passed away at the age of eighty, her ashes were immersed in the Chandrabhaga river at Kishtwar in accordance with her wishes.

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Mehta Krishna
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Krishna Mehta
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