Book Review: Gilded Cage by Sandeep Bamzai

A compelling book that covers many unknown aspects of Kashmir's post-independence history.


Book Title: Gilded Cage – Years that Made and Unmade Kashmir
Author: Sandeep Bamzai
Rupa Publications

Book Review
Since independence, Kashmir has been a source of contention for the rest of India and the globe. Sometimes there are infiltrators, sometimes, there is terrorism, and sometimes the narrative of the migration and persecution of Pandits disturbs the population. Many researchers, social workers, journalists, and novelists have attempted to grasp it in their manner since then.

Gilded Cage by Sandeep Bamzai
Gilded Cage by Sandeep Bamzai

The novel ‘Gilded Cage‘ by Sandeep Bamzai is also a consequence of this endeavor. The book provides a fascinating insight into Kashmir’s political ups and downs. This book recounts the whole history of the Kashmir Valley following independence. Everything from tribal attacks to Sheikh Abdullah’s politics and Jawaharlal Nehru’s Kashmir policy is covered. Bamzai walks the deceitful and often twisted road of history to bring to light Kashmir’s equally perilous history, gaining access to letters, papers, and documents never before made public.

How a Kashmiri nationalist persuaded Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to initiate military operations against Pakistani tribal raiders inside the Valley? Finally, how Shaikh attached himself to his unique vision of an independent Kashmir (excluding Jammu), which was opposed to Nehru’s expansionist vision of India, resulted in Shaikh’s subordinate Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed and Nehru in Kashmir. His sight and ears pushed him away. This book has a history of all such instances.

When tribesmen intruded into Kashmir and caused unrest in 1947, Bamzai exposed the participation of Pakistani rulers in the crisis through an explosive news story, including a letter from then-Governor George Cunningham. Sandeep describes in the book how Sheikh Abdullah fuelled Jinnah’s fantasy of annexing Kashmir for Pakistan, a wish that Ram Chandra Kak, Maharaja Hari Singh’s prime minister, would gladly realise.

Former Union Minister Dr. Karan Singh wrote the preface to the book ‘Gilded Cage‘. After Bonfire of Kashmiriyat Deconstructing the Accession and Princestan: How Nehru, Patel, and Mountbatten Made India, this is Sandeep Bamzai’s third book. Last year, the Kalinga Book Award was given to his book Princestan: Nehru, Patel, and Mountbatten Made India (Princestan).

About the Author
Sandeep Bamzai has spent the previous 40 years holding significant positions with all of the major news organizations (IANS) and is Editor-in-Chief and Managing Director of Indo-Asian News Service Sandeep’s work is significant in many respects, particularly as a reference book for any academic or journalist attempting to comprehend what is going on in Kashmir now. Sandeep’s grandpa, K. N. Bamzai, was a journalist in ‘The Blitz’, Delhi Bureau, and later served as Sheikh Abdullah’s Private Secretary and Nehru’s OSD.

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