Fourth Estate, UK | 18 June, 2015 | 352 pages.
Seven-year-old Munnu is growing up in Indian-administered Kashmir. Life revolves around his family: Mama, Papa, sister Shahnaz, brothers Adil and Akhtar and, his favourite, older brother Bilal. It also revolves around Munnu’s two favourite things – sugar and drawing.
But Munnu’s is a childhood experienced against the backdrop of conflict. Bilal’s classmates are crossing over into the Pakistan-administered portion of Kashmir to be trained to resist the ‘occupation’; Papa and Bilal are regularly taken by the military to identification parades where informers will point out ‘terrorists’; Munnu’s school is closed; close neighbours are killed and the homes of Kashmiri Hindu families lie abandoned, as once close, mixed communities have ruptured under the pressure of Kashmir’s divisions.