OK, everyone, I have something to say.
A few years ago I wrote a novel on the insurgency in Kashmir, Fidayeen. It took me a while, with a break of a couple of years in between, after which I dumped most of the first draft and changed a lot of things, including the fates of the main characters.
Then I went around looking for a publisher. Although by this time – circa 2010 – I’d realised that I was never going to get famous, and that most publishers were essentially rip-off artists, I had hoped that – Kashmir being rather a hot topic in the world of Indian novels – it would get some interest.
Of course, I was soon disabused. The publishers were more than happy to glut the market with badly-written Tom Clancy rip-offs, but anything in my style was apparently mot unwelcome. You know, a rejection of militarism and jingoism, and trying to see both sides of the problem.
I wonder why.
Anyway, to my own surprise I’ve finally found a publisher. It’s a new publishing house, just founded this year, 2015, and coincidentally from Lucknow, where I lived for years. It’s probably because it’s so new that it had the cojones to pick up the book, unlike the big boys. When you’re young you take risks. You know how it is.
It is hoped that it'll see the light of day fairly soon. The publication will begin with a print edition followed in four months by an ebook and in eight months by an audiobook.
What's it about? Well, it describes a twenty four hour period in the lives of certain people in Kashmir sometime in the mid 2000s, when the insurgency was still at its height, though the indigenous Kashmiri part had almost completely been stamped out. Chief among these certain people are:
1. Mushtaq, alias Commander Azim, a Kashmiri rebel against Indian rule.
2. Sabira, his mother, and Nausheen, his sister.
3. Raja Bhattacharya, an Indian Army counter insurgency commander.
4. Abu Hassan, a Fidayeen suicide attacker.
The Kashmir rebellion, a tragedy that doomed a generation, is still not over. I thought it needed some more sensitive handling than vainglorious Ramboist rubbish. We’ll see if I succeeded.
The next step is cover design selection and so on. I am not going with the stereotypical “action book” cover. I’ll post various possibilities as the publisher presents them to me. I’ve passed on my ideas.
I’ll keep you all informed of what happens as it happens.