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, June 4, 2008

Changing the Mindset on Social Etiquette and Cultural Baggage

"Sheru" narrates a true story in tune with today's lifestyle where a son is the center of universe until the son-in-law shows up

Daughter, not the son is important

Sheru (Daily Etalaat)

Srinagar: Why do woman want male babies? A pal of gloom descends on a family especially its female members with the birth of a female baby. Pregnant women go for gender determination tests to ascertain what is growing in their wombs. And, when it dawns on a woman that she is carrying a female baby, she opts abortion. This, according to Sheru, is inferiority complex.

Somehow the woman has been made to believe that she is inferior. But, as the woman grows, she realizes her mistake and by the time her daughter gets married her priorities also change. The revered son loses his superiority. She is supposed to keep his sister and her husband in good humor all the time. In fact his role is restricted to looking after his married sister, her in-laws and of course her husband. The problems of the poor son increase when he gets married. He finds himself in a very difficult situation. He curses the day when he was born.

Today Sheru is going to narrate the story of a man whose birth was celebrated with pomp and show by his family. He was the darling of the family. His mother, his father and sister would look after him. His sister would polish his shoes, wash his clothes and make tea for him and for his friends.

One day his sister got married. He worked very hard and looked after the arrangements. He would often visit his sister and continued to be the darling of his parents. Then came the day when he also got married. For a couple of months he did not feel any change at home. But one evening he received the shock of his life. It dawned on him that he no longer was the darling of the family. Instead his brother-in-law became the most revered person of the family. And his mother wanted him to do this and that for him. He was annoyed and shocked but decided not to complain.

Then came the day when he went out with his wife to celebrate their wedding anniversary. He returned late in the evening. His mother was anxiously waiting for him. Where were you? You should have gone to enquire about the welfare of your brother-in-law. This time, the son responded. “What is wrong with my brother-in-law? What disease is killing him?” These words fell like a bomb on his mother. Stunned she stood there for some time and then picked up a quarrel with her daughter-in-law.

After some time her husband (father) returned and found his son in bad shape. After coming to know what had happened he took his wife to task. He said: “When the daughter is so important why women curse their stars at the birth of a female baby? Why do women love the son-in-law more than the son? Yes the daughter is important but the son is equally important. If you (women) want to see the daughter and her husband in good shape, the son and his wife also have a right to live with honour and dignity”, he commented. But his wife was not listening. She was dialing the number of her daughter.

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