Secrets of the Kashmir Valley

Kashmir Valley book cover

Life Journeys Inspired by Farhana Qazi’s Heartfelt Memoir 

From an award-winning instructor and speaker: with honest observation and signature storytelling, Qazi takes readers to a place where love, faith, and community survive the spoils of war.  

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“Traveling to Kashmir to meet the women turned out to be one of the most amazing decisions I have ever made. It was also terrifying, and sometimes insane. Kashmir is a place spoiled by war, militants, and a majestic Army. This is not a story I had planned on sharing with the world. But after what I have felt, I had no choice but to write the women’s stories.” – Qazi 

 

 

 

Praise for Secrets of the Kashmir Valley

“Qazi skillfully connects us to the intense, complex and remarkably strong women of Kashmir…Rich with detail, this powerful book provides emotional insight into this divided region.”-ROSS KAUFFMAN, DIRECTOR OF THE ACADEMY AWARD WINNNING DOCUMENTARY BORN INTO BROTHELS AND PROJECT KASHMIR

“Farhana Qazi brings the colors, smells, people and politics of Kashmir to life. The only thing more enlightening would be to travel there yourself.” —PORTER FOX, EDITOR OF AWARD-WINNING NOWHERE MAGAZINE 

“A mother from Texas sets out on a journey to understand one of Asia’s longest running wars and the role of women within it. An academic, a Muslim and as someone who has fought, analyzed and lectured on terrorism, her journey into the cauldron of jihad is fraught with peril. Farhana’s bravery, open-mindedness, intelligence and tenacity take her into danger, real lives, raw emotions and ultimately discovery. This is a book that must be read by those who wish to deeply understand the motivations, lives and thoughts behind women in Kashmir. This book is unique in its perspective, thoughtfulness and human experiences.” -ROBERT YOUNG PELTON, JOURNALIST, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER AND BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS PLACES

“Qazi’s brilliant book combines her unique personal experience with her deep knowledge of the region, its people and its culture to tell us a story far more informative about today’s events than any intelligence brief. And it is beautifully written–a joy to read.” -BRIAN MICHAEL JENKINS, SENIOR FOREIGN POLICY ADVISOR AND EXPERT 

“Farhana Qazi skillfully weaves the lives and voices of the Muslim women in South Asia into the broader fabric of a region long known for its breath-taking beauty, religious devotion, and heart-stopping violence. With deep empathy but unblinking candor, Qazi portrays Kashmir and its conflict-haunted inhabitants with a dignity and complexity that is often missing in other accounts. Going where others have feared to tread, Qazi leverages her local heritage and Western analytical training in a way that that blends historical narrative, travelogue, and reportage into a poignant and colorful portrayal of her own family as well as the lives of women in Kashmir.” –TIMOTHY HOLLIFIELD, LIEUTENANT COLONEL, U.S. ARMY (RETIRED)

“Kashmir is too often seen through the prism of the violence in and around it due to its geopolitical situation. Farhana Qazi, whose grandmother is from Kashmir, gives us an extraordinarily different perspective with a focus on women. For anyone who wishes to understand this land of poets and mystics, this is essential reading.” –AKBAR AHMED, PH.D, BESTSELLING AUTHOR AND SPEAKER 

“In writing both sensitive and beautiful, Farhana Qazi examines the lives and choices of women seeking and creating their empowerment in a place that for six decades has been an object of war. This is an important book for women and for us all. -DIANE THOMAS, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF IN WILDERNESS

“Secrets of the Kashmir Valley is a penetrating book written in prose, mixed with politics and intimate family stories, to create a powerful parable for our times that moves and educates the reader on a forgotten place. Qazi not only tells us the heart rending stories of her own family but also had the courage to traverse Kashmir to bring back the voices of women living and suffering there today.”  -ANNE SPECKHARD, PH.D, AND AUTHOR OF TALKING TO TERRORISTS

“Farhana Qazi, a Texan of Pakistani descent, has written a shimmering book about her encounters with the women of Kashmir, starting with her own mother, who joined the Pakistani Army in the 1970s to fight for Kashmir. Qazi travelled to this land of haunting beauty to interview activists and advisors, protestors and politicians, mothers and martyrs, educators and entertainers, and more. The result is a moving journey through what has been called “the most beautiful prison in the world.” -DEBORAH SCROGGINS, AUTHOR OF WANTED WOMEN

Secrets of the Kashmir Valley is an important book that unveils the quintessential role of women in one of the most contested areas of the world. It is a deeply touching and personal story that pulls us closer to the women and men in Kashmir.” –SETH G. JONES, AUTHOR OF IN THE GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES: AMERICA’S WAR IN AFGHANISTAN

“A fascinating look at the women of Kashmir and their struggle for freedom. A must read.” -SOUHEILA AL-JADDA, PEABODY AWARD-WINNING PRODUCER AND JOURNALIST

“From a line of fierce, beautiful women, Ms. Qazi starts with her own mother and grandmother, giving voice to the women of Kashmir, survivors who have fought for their rights and their own self-determination. Her writing, like Farhana herself, is charming, compassionate, compelling, and a must-read for women’s studies readers who seek to understand gender roles in conflict, and students interested in South Asia. Those of us who simply enjoy character development will be drawn into Farhana Qazi’s tapestry of stories.” -SHERRA BABCOCK, VICE PRESIDENT, CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION, NEW YORK, USA

“Inspiring. Qazi writes with compassion as she traces the lives of women in Kashmir.” -SALMAN AHMED, MUSICIAN AND AUTHOR OF ROCK AND ROLL JIHAD 

“Farhana Qazi is a one-woman interdisciplinary team. In this remarkable book, through a series of evocative interviews, Qazi takes the reader into the world of Muslim women in the contested terrain of Kashmir. Drawing on her rich cultural background, she leads the readers to understand how these are individual journeys but at the same time reflect collective identity that is bred in the bone. Only by integrating these perspectives can this gifted social commentator illuminate the manner in which in which these South Asian women are consolidating their identities in this fraught socio-cultural environment. -JERROLD M. POST, M.D., AWARD-WINNING PROFESSOR AND AUTHOR OF THE MIND OF THE TERRORIST    

“Qazi’s beautifully crafted and sensitively told tale reveals in profound ways the too often untold or elided over story of women in engaged in multifaceted and multilayered struggles in one of the world’s least understood regions. She takes you to the heart–literally and figuratively– of Kashmir, of struggle, and of women’s lives…and her own. This powerful book is a compelling reminder of Rukeyser’s axiom that the universe is made of stories not atoms.” -ERIC SELBIN, PH.D, AWARD-WINNING SCHOLAR AND AUTHOR OF REVOLUTION, REBELLION, RESISTANCE

 “Qazi’s absorbing account provides an interesting snapshot of the serious plight of the thousands of women, who are the principal victims of war in Kashmir. The book is brimming with insights to a human tragedy largely unknown and underreported by the international community.” -RIAZ KHOKHAR, FORMER PAKISTAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES

 

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