Days of Destiny is a fascinating account of Shanti Swarup Ambardar’s experiences in Kashmir and India, over the past eight decades. Vignettes of a boy’s life, who experiences the social customs of the time, the crumbling of British power, the implications of Partition, and who volunteers to defend Srinagar against the tribal invasion of Kashmir in 1947 come alive vividly.
Professor Ambardar also deftly traces the political sleight of hand in Kashmir and post-independence India. He supplements his observations with details that only a perceptive witness can provide. The effects of sectarian rule in Kashmir, the quest for a home, the impact of the 1975 Emergency, the warmth of friendships, and the exodus of his family from Kashmir valley, are woven into the motif of this kaleidoscopic and richly evocative narrative.
These true stories capture the collective dreams and experiences of his generation of Kashmiri Pandits. Kashmiri society – a mosaic of moderate Islam and moderate Hinduism – has been rent by anger and retribution, prompted by men of strident ideology and violence, and sadly is no more. This wonderfully engaging and courageous personal chronicle also challenges India’s progress towards the ideals of a mature democracy, principled governance, and its claims of secularity.