The Women of Kashmir Survive the Spoils of War

Kashmir Valley book coverFor years, I lived Kashmir. I dreamt of the women featured in this book. For awhile, they were like family. I knew intimate details of their lives. Even though I was their American guest, they gave me more than stories to be recorded in a book. They gave me a slice of modern history–the untold histories of women, the survivors of a 60-year-plus conflict. 

The women of this book form a community that has held them together through the spoils of war. It is an unforgettable place where unimaginable horrors and acts of kindness co-exist.

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The Women of Kashmir

Nargis Perveen, my mother

Nargis Perveen, my mother

Chapter "Mughli"

Mughli, the “lonely mother”

A protester kneels to the ground in a white banner calling on the international community to pay attention.

A protester kneels to the ground in a white banner calling on the United Nations for help.

Women call for a separate state in Kashmir.

Women protest in Srinagar city.

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

“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 

“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 

“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

“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

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Kashmir Valley book cover

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