Australian author Bill Koul is on a whirlwind tour across India launching not one but three of his books. The story behind Koul is extremely fascinating and as I chat with him, I begin to discover the foundation on which all his three books are based. ’22 Years – A Kashmir Story’, ‘My Life does not have to be Unhappy’ and ‘Issues white-anting India’ (published by Vitasta Publishing) deal with different issues and yet have a common thread inter-linking them. Koul hails from a Kashmiri Pandit family and he left Kashmir in December 1989 just before the exodus of half-a-million Kashmiri Pandits. “I vowed never to return to Kashmir, but I did after a 22-year self-imposed exile,” explains Koul. “’22 Years – A Kashmir Story’ is a memo and I recount my growing up years and the events that took place through my eyes. I was very unhappy and I felt betrayed which is why I decided I wouldn’t return but some circumstances made me. Now, I try to visit Kashmir every year.”
The author strongly feels that the Indian government needs to resolve the Kashmir issue and the youth of Kashmiri need to be ‘Indianised’. “They are the future and they need to know that India is their future. The youth of Kashmir are suffering and don’t lead normal lives today,” explains Koul stressing on the need to integrate them into Indian society. From his experiences also stems ‘My Life does not have to be Unhappy’ which is a self-help book. “People need to learn to be happy in this fast-paced world which causes so much stress and anxiety. Each person needs to find a purpose in life and follow it. Life will be much more fulfilling,” he adds.
As for the third book, ‘Issues white-anting India’, Koul feels that over-population is one of the key issues plaguing India and which needs to be fixed. He also offers solutions to these problems in his book. “I landed in Delhi and we had the smog problem. Today, people here are struggling to get clean drinking water, breathe clean air and get good food. Over-population is a major issue here. Look at China – they tackled this issue by bringing in the one-child policy. If we don’t deal with these issues now, what are we leaving for the future generations?” he questions poignantly. Koul says society must come together to debate and discuss these issues and hold those in government accountable and responsible.
As we wind up our conversation. Koul reveals that he has discovered his purpose in life and that is to write books. In fact, he has some new ideas up his sleeve already. As of now, it’s talking about these three books that’s giving him happiness and purpose.