Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Brave Rizwan, Bellicose Rizwan, Betrayed Rizwan

Whose blood is this and who died? Syeda Afshana tries to make sense out of tragedies that abound in Kashmir

(Syeda Afshana, 34, was born in Srinagar. She attended the Vishwa Bharti High School in Rainawari, Srinagar, and the Government Women's College in Srinagar where she received a B.Sc. degree. She completed her Master's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the Kashmir University in 1999 and was the Gold Medallist (first position holder) in her graduating class. She is currently a Lecturer in the Media Education Research Centre (MERC) of the Kashmir University and pursuing her doctorate on the role of internet after 9/11. )

...Yeh Kis Ka Lahoo! Kaun Mara!


Adieu my mother, adieu!
Tear not your hair.
Dead I am not.
Around your lap,
Always will I be
Invisible, listening to
Those sweet songs
Which you had
Knit for my knot!
Adieu my father, adieu!
Though on last journey
I am
But first passenger
I am not.
O, father of martyr
Don’t stagger
Alive I am,
Alive I will be!
Adieu my sisters, adieu!
Don’t recall me
In hisses and sobs,
Back will I be
In your dreams
In your thoughts
To see you
In bridal apparel
With henna hands!
Adieu my friends, adieu!
Wipe out scalding tears,
Miss you can’t me
For memories of
Shared moments
Will bind me
Close to you
To your hearts
Adieus and Adieus forever!
The novel renovation in the vicinity of his graveyard made no difference. The playing pack of boys nearby barely altered the poise of his resting place. The environs weren’t that salubrious and breezy as the din of honking vehicles and clamor of walking pedestrians agitated the air. However, he was there, buried under the soil of his nation, listening to the voices all around.
Since so many days, her mother hadn’t visited him. There were no fresh flowers on his grave. No soft fingers cuddled his epitaph. The melody of lullabies was missing. The touch of caressing hand was not there. So many painful memories raked up his soul. He had told her to bury him beneath her hearth when he dies; and cry for him whenever his dreams pooled in her eyes. Now, he guessed, mom might be busy in temporal affairs, trying to reconcile his irreparable loss with secret sobbing and sighing. She had, perhaps, gulped down the poisonous cup of awful pain …
“The blood dappled
apparel of bridegrooms
Is washed at the river
by the mothers…
The milky mothers pine
And quiet
flows the Vitasta.”
(Farooq Nazki ‘Nar Hutun Kazil Wanus’)
He thought of his aged father. The dash of annoyance on his face was still haunting him. Father had never wanted his sole son to desert him in old age. Grief-stricken and forlorn, his support had crumbled down and he was shattered. He was struggling to prop up his family and carry along the spiky path of survival. Nonetheless, he was silently lamenting the death of his brave son. He knew the son had engraved his name in the annals of the history. His was a death—a death for a noble cause.
Sisters too were down in the dumps. Melancholic and mournful, they crave to hear him again and play pranks with them. Whenever the front door of corridor creaks, they feel he is in, calling each of them by jovial nicknames. The bike in the garage was at a standstill and had gathered a thick cover of dust. For so long, none among them had a ride on it. The exams were near but he wasn’t there to drop them at the exam centre in time.
Even his room was locked as mother had directed not to open it. All his belongings were intact and untouched. Sisters many a time tried to barge in, but a strange fear of facing the harsh and heartless reality stopped their steps. The dearest brother had disappeared somewhere into an obscure and enigmatic world.
Sudden sullenness sprouted in him. He was reminded of his affable friends, the ones who would even plow through his dreams and make him happy all the time. The mutual faith and fidelity had trussed them resiliently.
He had valiantly wrestled death with daring spirit and profound passion, losing the precious blossoms of his life. So many years have flitted away fretfully and frantically since then…
“You must have heard Rizwan was killed.
Guardian of the gates of Paradise.
Only eighteen years old…
From windows we hear grieving mothers,
and snow begins to fall on us, like ash.
Black on edges of flames,
it cannot extinguish the neighbourhoods,
The homes set ablaze by the midnight soldiers.
Kashmir is burning”…
(Agha Shahid Ali ‘A Country Without a Post Office’)
He lost his life those days when the fervor for right to dignity, that was vowed, made his countrymen hoist their voices audaciously. Everything was just spontaneous. Earnestly struggling for the liberty of their beloved homeland, which was never an integral part of any formidable occupational force, the passion had dominated the mob psyche. The fervent populace had hailed everything blindly. The ‘all-inclusive espousal’ was demanding and rebellious.
But then, the things fainted and fizzled down, gradually. The fears grew dark and deep. The fear of endings; the fear of beginnings. The fear to die; the fear to live. Everyone failed to salvage the wings of the Spirit called Freedom. Everyone was tossed by fearful anguish and everyone missed the spirit. The sun bled the sky and gobbled it away ruthlessly. Forgetfulness swept all. The occupation had played its subtle artifice!
If only he knew! The scalding tears and shocking pain prick his soul. Lasting woe rip opens the scenes of betrayal before him. He shrieks bitterly, trying to come out of his grave and grab all by neck…
Flowing through the hearts
Eroding the barriers
Sliding into every mind,
The storm of Lethe
overtook all.
Eighty thousand souls
bulk of blood
pathetic cries
innocent tears,
It washed away,
washed abruptly!...
Nothing has happened,
nothing will happen.
Which Sacrifice?!
Whose Death?!...
Inconstant moods
Inscrutably unpredictable,
Infirm memory—
Unfold not tantrums
Indelible traits…
Swim with the Lethe,
Sell down the Vitasta.
Follow waves,
Forget graves
forget evermore!

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