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.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Broken Homes, Broken Bonds: Lamenting the Loss of Traditional Family Values in a Contemporary Society

Syeda Afshana talks about a filial generation as she mourns the death of a family anchor

(Ms. 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. )

Broken homes, Broken bonds

A flower swallowed by bud,
A nest
marauded by dwellers,
A garden
withered by leaves
Can thee imagine?
Incoherence of minds
malaise of hearts
false affection
selfish sympathy
in conjunction,
under one sky
Can thee imagine?
Eyes nonchalant
towards sight.
Entangled in cocoons
bonds of love
displaying apathy,
Blood turning thin
Can thee imagine?
Self and Self
I and I,
Give and take
Interest and loss
Trade of relations,
Diminishing sincerity
Can thee imagine?
Yea, here!
Where apple of eye
an eyesore.
Narrow outlets,
narrow inlets.
Chocked sentiments
estranged affinities---
all galore,
all gamble.

A journalist once visited the biggest old age home in one of the cities in Kerala and wrote: “I saw one old man gazing at a single beautiful bright flower amidst many on the ground. He was so engrossed with its beauty that he would smile at it and shake his head. I wanted to pat his back or rather peep in his heart to read the message of the flower, but I just opted silence and stood just beside him. After few minutes I saw a tear rolling down his cheek. I was perplexed—was he happy or sad? What was the message from the flower that made him sink so deep in his thought? What did it remind him? Was he gazing at the flower or his own life? I looked at his eye they were burning red with agony and pain. He had just realized that his life is just like this bright flower. Many would come and glorify the new bloomed flower in the dawn, but after a day or two when its colours had withered to darkness and it cannot stand firm with its head held high, the same people would walk unnoticed without even heeding its cry.”

Back home, there is a story to narrate about him... The wrinkled face parched and frail like a fallen Chinar leaf in autumn, that once looked green and glorious. Behind the old visage, there was more of him to see. Struggling between past and future, verve and sloth, triumphs and letdowns, warmth and seclusion—he was coldly looking at the bank draft received just now. The looking glass in the room was reflecting a somber image of things. Life was no longer so as he knew; it was now ending in lonesome misery.

The fond memories of his only son were distressing him inwardly. The son after getting married had left old parents and settled abroad. The monthly packet of cash from him was wounding the aged father’s affection and pride. The walk down the memory lane flashed a beautiful, radiant sight before him: Those little soft fingers that he used to hold and the blossoming innocent smiles he used to crave for; the every moment of love and care that he had showered on his darling son. The mistakes he had overlooked generously and the time he had given away abundantly. The whole life had gone in making his son what he was today. The tender devotion was simply unconditional and all-embracing but its memories were turning heartrending now…

Dil Chu Pranain Kathan Sanaan Bazeh
Seeni Manz Naar-i- Kol Khanaan Bazeh
(Prof.Rehman Rahi)

The sick wife was just speechless. She had gone into dementia, forgetting where his son is and why he had deserted his parents so desolately. Both husband and wife had sacrificed and slogged all through their life for him, with a hope that a day would come when they will rejoice their old age with his support and caress, and all else will naturally appear cheerful.

However, it wasn’t so as anticipated. The blood had gone thinner and fast life had brought meanness in the relation. It was agonizingly unimaginable to see the son not sparing even a few moments for his lonely parents just because he was too engrossed in his wedded world, taking pleasure in the company of his ‘modern-thinking’ soul mate. The young couple was getting self-centered, craving for a separate space for themselves. Values and principles of family were alien to his spouse. She had flaunted her tantrums around, pushing the henpecked hubby to the wall gradually.

Living under one roof, the family was torn down emotionally. Sincerity in sharing and contributing for the home was vanishing as thought of building a ‘mini world’ took strong roots with each passing day. The gap was widening and mutual co-existence was getting unbearable.
Parents were surprised and shaken to see the upsetting behavioural changes in their son. He wasn’t like this before. They had taught him the best lessons of life. But then, the ‘new ideals’ had transformed his outlook. Priorities had undergone alteration. Obedience of parents, come what may, was now an impossible sermon for him. He wasn’t ready to ignore and wink at the attitudinal flaws of his aged parents, forgetting how they forgave his every wrong since childhood. He had harshly forgotten how they endured his imperfections, grooming him into a young man.

Eventually, there was a break-up. With an alibi of ‘looking for greener pastures’, he left his loving parents and sweet home for good. A monthly meager sum of money was the only link he had sustained with them for unknown reasons.

The parents were getting by and managing with nobody there for them until few months when the ailing mother passed away. The son was informed but didn’t turn up, just condoled his father over the phone. The tight schedule and stringent rules at his work place overseas were the cause of his absence over his mother’s funeral.

The lonesome father was now buried amidst books and newspapers, spending his twilight years in oblivion. There was no old age home here to shelter him and his solitude. The hypocrisy of our society in acknowledging the social challenge he and his ilk are facing is brushed away casually. Sons here don’t drop their parents at old age homes; they desert them in their own hearths by their lackadaisical attitude and criminal apathy. They almost become unwanted and a burden for them. Time is a precious lifeline that they are holding back to them, and the same Time is running out of their hands as well. It’s all just a matter of time!

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