The wordsmith

The 33-old journalist from Kashmir rose to fame with his book Curfewed Night, a powerful account of Kashmir in conflict. Peer’s book published by Random House in India in 2008, by Simon and Schuster in the United States, by Harper Collins in the UK, Tre Publishing in Vietnam, was internationally acclaimed. Before its international sojourn, it won India’s biggest book prize, the Vodafone Crossword Book Award for English nonfiction. It is also one of the most recommended books on Kashmir today. Peer’s book fills a vacuum about good books on Kashmir conflict by a Kashmiri. Peer talks about the situation and characters around him in the late 1980’s and 1990’s and draws a fair and intimate picture of the situation.
“Every other person who wrote about Kashmir would go talk to the same figures – militants and politicians. But when I am asked, what is Kashmir like? There are a series of images that pass through my head, and they consist always of people, not of militants. They are the only ones who have gone unheard in this territorial dispute.”
So Peer went about redressing the silence. He quit his job as a journalist, returned to Kashmir, and plunged into a tradition of reportage that didn’t exist in India. His literary models were George Orwell, John Steinbeck, Ryszard Kapuscinski, and, most notably, Isaac Babel, whose stories of provincial violence from turn-of-the-century Ukraine appeared to be reenacted daily in modern Kashmir.  
Hailing from Seer village in Islamabad, Peer did his early schooling in Kashmir and moved to Aligarh Muslim University for higher studies.
He started his reporting career with in Delhi, and after a few years of reporting began to work on his book.
In between Peer also worked with Tehelka magazine and joined the Columbia University for Masters in Journalism to become the first Kashmiri to graduate from the best journalism school of the world. Peer is currently a fellow at the US based Open Society Institute and writes for a host of international publications. He has also served as an Assistant Editor at the US policy magazine, Foreign Affairs.


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