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.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Narcissism Redefined: Seeing Your Outside or Reflecting on Your Inside?

Afshana sees a world of difference between an actor and a politician both in love with themselves

(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. )

To Narcissists, with love!
To chop Logic into pieces
roast it on smouldering fire,
I want to kill Sanity.
Am I allowed?
To thrash Ideals down
vandalize the temples of Passion,
I want to go berserk.
Am I allowed?
To sleep over the Pathos
and benumb the senses to Apathy,
I want to be stolid.
Am I allowed?
To mingle fragrance of Flowers
pungent breath of Cedars,
I want to be brute.
Am I allowed?
To close the clumsy Eyes
blink over the searing Realities.
I want to play damn fool.
Am I allowed?
To bequeath the tricky Dreams
scrape the quarry Images,
I want to enjoy nightmares.
Am I allowed?
To shut up the bad mouth
spit out the mad Heart,
I want to sing a swan-song.
Am I allowed?

A celebrated actor Naseeruddin Shah while replying to a question in an interview said-“I like everything about myself. I am quite a narcissist.” (Tehelka, Feb 2008).

Maybe Shah was aware of what he meant by calling himself a ‘narcissist’. Loving your true self is a wholesome sign. However, the actual nuances of Narcissism involve a different meaning and substance.

As per the Greek legend, Narcissus was a charming hero who fell in love with his own reflection in a pond. The mythological Narcissus was a famous fellow whose beauty attracted many girls. He, however, used to ridicule them; at times, driving many of them to despair and even death. One of the nymphs Echo tried her hard to get his attention but failed. She moped in his love and prayed to Heavens- “So may he himself love, and not gain the thing he loves.” And as the legend holds, Narcissus was punished for this indifference by Nemesis by making him pine away in love with his own reflection. The nymphs lamented for him and substituted a flower for his missing body at Narcissus’ funeral. Hence, the name of a flower ‘Narcissus’, and the term ‘Narcissist’.

A senior business correspondent for United Press International (UPI), Sam Vaknin writes in his book Malignant Self Love—Narcissism Revisited- “Narcissists are punished by echoes and reflections of their problematic personalities up to this very day. Narcissists are said to be in love with themselves. But this is a fallacy. Narcissist is not in love with himself. He is in love with his reflection”.

Pertinent to note that Vaknin drafted the book while languishing in a prison for some offence and thereby discovered that he was suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. History has witnessed infamous narcissists. From Nero, Hitler, Stalin to Saddam, ‘national passion’ has been a disguised narcissism. Brutality and apathy were their hallmark. Logic made no sense to them, and they were out to kill sanity. And this all was perpetuated under the false idea of self-righteousness.

A study ‘Was Saddam Hussein like Adolf Hitler? A Personality Disorder Investigation’ carried by a journal Military Psychology (Sept.2007), revealed that a “Big Four” personality disorders—sadism, antisocialism, paranoia and narcissism—were common in them.

Glancing around, there is an abundance of narcissists. From politics to playgrounds, we have people who have a tendency to eulogize themselves all the time. They are impetuously ‘political’ and yearn to bask in their self-created glory. Such persons do not tolerate criticism. They concoct things and project false notions. Blinking over the realities, they build up unsighted worlds and silly utopias.

With ‘caution’ to our ‘esteemed’ politicians, who see a conspiracy behind every sincere suggestion and look down upon the people who put forth candid criticism for the greater good, narcissism is but natural. Though under the wraps. It has to be, as Alistair Mant, author of best-seller Intelligent Leadership, writes—“All successful politicians are narcissistic up to a point. This doesn’t mean that they love themselves or are obsessed by their reflection in the mirror. It does mean that they have an unusual capacity to shrug off inconvenient information, especially if it threatens their sense of self-worth. The truth is that politics is a bruising game and survival demands a healthy dose of narcissism - which brings with it the capacity to soak up punishment yet still spring out of bed in the morning with undimmed energy and optimism. That’s till things go seriously awry – then they can turn very nasty indeed.”

We don’t expect applause from our politicians. We don’t expect same from anyone else over here. The writers have to write and get castigated or even annihilated from any quarter. Their expression is to be robbed and roped. Their mind shammed and shackled. Their credentials probed and re-probed. And, of course, their integrity to be punctured and purchased. This is the rule of the land where intellectual anarchy is an unending rot. A land where disorder is to stay for disordered minds.

Either with us or against us?…Choice is not anyone’s!! Can’t be.

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