Basharat Peer sits calmly on the stage at The Hay Festival Kerala, giving his full attention to a question from a man standing beside me. Peer resembles a slimmed-down, younger James Gandolfini, but it’s impossible to imagine his passionate-but-measured speech exploding in a flurry of curses and pronouncements à la Tony Soprano—the kind of spraying invective, in fact, that he is being subjected to right now. As the questioner continues his diatribe on “the lies we are getting out of Srinagar,” and ultimately has the microphone forcibly taken away from him, Peer keeps his gaze on the man and, with hardly a flicker of anger, frustration, or sadness, diplomatically invites the man to fact-check his book and moves on to the next raised hand. He’s seen worse. After all, he grew up in Kashmir.