Book Title: Love, Exile, Redemption: The Saga of Kashmir’s Last Pandit Prime Minister And His English Wife
Author: Siddharth Kak & Lila Kak Bhan
Tribune News Service
For decades, Ram Chandra Kak, the Kashmiri Pandit prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir, and his English wife Margaret Kak’s original documents and writings languished in a dark attic. There were anecdotes, family history dating back a hundred years and striking observations about Kashmir before and Bombay after Independence — all written by Margaret with insight. RC Kak’s unpublished memoirs offered deep insight into Kashmir, its people and its historical and political contradictions. Personal interviews were recorded by their grandson Siddharth Kak five decades ago.
It was during the Covid-induced lockdown that the documents were rediscovered, prompting Siddharth (anchor of the cult Doordarshan show ‘Surabhi’) and his aunt Lila to tell the story.
Kak is historically blamed for Maharaja Hari Singh’s indecision regarding Kashmir’s position. Ousted by the Maharaja, he was put behind bars on the eve of India’s independence. But this isn’t a political story alone. At the heart of it is a love story, that of Ram Chandra Kak and Margaret, a couple that was present at the precipice of history.
In the Epilogue, the authors say that over the years, many judgments have been passed against Kak, who has been sometimes called a traitor and sometimes suspected of favouring accession to Pakistan. This book, they say, is “a tribute and a fact check” regarding his and Margaret’s unseen contributions.