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.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Breeding Ground for Yes-men in a Paradise that has become the Sycophantic Swamp

Syeda Afshana suggests that while others call them "chamchaas", are home grown breed are "Chonchaas"

(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.)

Y for the Yes-man!

Y for the Yes-man
who longs to say “no”;
Alas and alack,
in his job it’s prohibited.
Original thought
Is not what he’s here for,
So let’s give a cheer for
The Yes-man who really
would like to say “no”,
but does not.
The job is a hard one,
as Yes-men all know:
His private opinions
may not be exhibited.
His job is to say
what his bosses will pay for,
So let’s say hooray for
The Yes-man who’d
rather say “no”,
but says “yes” anyway.
(Henricus Albertus)

He is known by several tags. Flunkey. Patsy. Stooge. Puppet. But the common one is Yes-man. Literally, ‘a person of unquestioning obedience’. An agreeable person, always. The one who tells people what they want to hear. Pleasing all and sundry, especially his superior/boss because of the fear of reprisal for showing any dissent.

Yes-man reminds one of the popular television programme of 80’s called Yes Minister, a classic comical satire of British politics. The characters Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey made an interesting and entertaining combination of a gutless minister and his shrewd secretary. The subsequent series was later named Yes Prime Minster.

Yes-man, is also the name of a best-seller book authored by Danny Wallace, a British writer working as a BBC Radio producer, besides being the leader of a cult Karma Army.

The book is based on the principle of saying ‘yes’ to all things, from humdrum affairs to the knotty ones in daily life. The author narrates a momentous anecdote of his random travel in a late-night bus where he falls into a conversation with a co-passenger. A mystery man, he casually tells him-“Say Yes more”. For the next few months, this mantra is embraced by the author, leading to a bizarre change in his attitude.

From poking a Buddhist monk on television to Internet and mail SPAM, and meetings for people who believed that aliens built Egypt ’s pyramids, the yes-man is steered on a trail of unforeseen comedic escapades. Becoming a globe-trotter, he journeys to various parts of Europe , incredibly wins 45,000 dollars, astonishingly attains a nursing degree, staggeringly stumbles upon a hypnotic dog, and wonderfully comes across his love. Though marshalling an upbeat effect in his daily life, the new mantra eventually scuffs him.

A forthcoming American comedy movie Yes-man produced by Potter fame David Heyman for Warner Bros. is based on this comedic memoir of Danny Wallace. Starring Jim Carrey, the plot of the movie follows a troubled man who decides to change his life by saying yes to everything life throws at him.

Yes-man as a character is very instrumental in getting things done as per his own designs and plans, because ultimately he wants to see himself happy. And for yes-man, happiness is elusive and atypical. He can locate his happiness even in misleading people and misinterpreting events.

See our politicians. They are flanked by a category of yes-man who paints the things as per their predilections and preferences. Consequently, politicians are living in a false world of surmises and speculations.

A comic flyer posted in inbox showed a boss saying—‘Don’t bother me with facts. Tell me what I want to hear.’

Same is with most of our high executives and officers. Relying on the briefings by their yes-man, they are led into wrong decisions that whip up controversies and clamour. At times, high officials have flawed assessment or knowledge of the matters, and this is easily exploited by the yes-man who calculatingly never corrects them. Reason is obvious: To grind his own axe, and gain unwarranted benefit and unmerited recognition.

Most of our organizations and offices are infested with cunning yes-men. Lobbies of scheming are watered by them. They make things happen just by the knack of their sycophancy. They butter up to manipulate things. Sweet and smooth talk is their hallmark.

In Urdu dialect, yes-men are known as Chamchaas. In Kashmiri, they ought to be called as Chonchaas to qualify for the superlative degree of yes-manship that they possess.

Generally, such yes-men are mediocre persons who hold soft-soaps as their only qualification. Magnifying the miniature, the grand things are vague and unfathomable to them. They endlessly praise their small attainments. Self-aggrandizement is their manna; in fact they carry out the Satan’s task...

Khud Satai Payshay Shaitaan Boud

Looking busy but doing nothing worthwhile, they bring foundations of institutions crumbling down. Some of the yes-men are ‘loyal of the loyalists.’ They bluff on behalf of their bosses even when not required. And ludicrously, they forget the lies they dish out…

Droog Go Ra Hafiz Na Bashad

Playing second fiddle, yes-men have no individuality. They lose it to their high-ups who, in the long course, treat them as ‘disposables’. Use and throw. And Yes-men land in a garbage basket. Of worthlessness. And ignominious obscurity.

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