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, June 15, 2008

The Feeling is Personal and the Joy is Abundant

Afshana lets us enter her personal space so that we too can sense her exuberance on her first wedding anniversary

(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.)

Blessed are those who get a sincere companion


Cherished are the memories
that brought us to this day,
For yesterday, was
just a dream…
A wish to contemplate.
A fantasy where in my mind
A fleeting glimpse I’d see…
A vision of the true desires
I longed for endlessly.
And when I dreamed,
I did not know
The love I’d feel today;
The height of my true feelings,
And the depths they would portray.
And if I had one wish today,
A simple wish t’would be…
Is that the love we feel this moment,
Lasts eternally...
I vow to you
My wishes yet to come,
Tomorrow’s dreams and fantasies,
This day that we are one.
Tomorrow’s an adventure
That we’ll share together now;
Our future’s intertwined forever,
Through this holy vow.
I promise to remember
In the future years and days,
The love I feel for you this moment…
Dreams fulfilled today.
For in the coming years
As we move on,
And reminisce back
To the day I stood with you…
That blessed are the days that
I looked into your eyes,
And felt the warmth and love reflect,
The essence of our lives.
Yesterday we dreamed of
what might be;
Today we validate our love;
And tomorrow we will
cherished he life
we have shared as one.
(Kit McCallum)

Wedding bells are ringing. Season of marriages is here. With fresh hopes and sweet dreams, people enter into wedlock. One of the momentous events in a person’s life, marriage vows lifetime love and perpetual fidelity. A caring commitment; a mature approach to living; a way to bring joy to the extended family and the community: a strong bond that guarantees ability to cope with life, its crises and conundrums.

As the clock ticks swiftly, I too brood over my adoring bond. The one year of my friendship with a person who was a complete stranger till the day of bonding. Yes, just a year ago, this time around I was a new bride. I left my Babul’s home with a teary look, missing out on my parents’ unconditional affection, my childhood memories, and my only playmate, solitude.

With too much straining in the making of a middle-class marriage, I was drained to the end, both mentally and physically. The prep for the event never ended till I really stepped out for good with my hubby on the grand day. The finale was over. However, a strange tale had begun. A different world before me was equally appealing and edgy. It wasn’t an ordeal but it was a touchy and tuneful acclimatization…I often remembered the expressions of successful couple that “unlike the wedding event, that takes place in a day, marriage is a long process that goes on at some level every day for the rest of your life…We have to learn how to live together” (With Ossie and Ruby: In this Life Together).

The new place was just a new house for me. The feeling of home sank in gradually. The new faces were just individuals for me. The sentiment of familiarity grew little by little. The ambience was discrete but became warm with each passing day. I learnt to live without mom and dad around me, cajoling and caressing me like a darling doll. I stopped becoming homesick, relishing the days at Naya Ghar. Everything that was new, now started to be a part of me, my life. From colour of curtains at Naya Ghar to number of stair steps there, each and every detail unwittingly sneaked into my thought step by step.

And this all wasn’t that easy. But for the immense friendship of my best pal—my hubby, the best person I have ever known, who made things happen by the gift of his sincere and sweet friendship. This is exactly how I feel about him. We have been married just one year now and I can say there are testing times but the pleasant and lovable times usually surmount. I have seen my best pal playing the best roles honestly. From an obedient son whom I never saw annoying his parents to an exceptionally God-loving being, he has given me the best of everything he felt I deserved.

My best pal quotes Nietzsche-”The best friend is likely to acquire the best wife, because a good marriage is based on the talent for friendship”. Perhaps that’s why the fragrance of our first wedding anniversary permeates sharply; engaging and compelling me to treasure the ardently devout bond that helped me to understand and realize the power of real love.

A friendly and charming relationship, marriage does not mean just getting a spouse. It actually means getting a whole world. It implies that from now on until the rest of your days, your spouse will be your companion as well as your best friend. Your dreams and fears, your joys and sorrows; your successes and failures;—all will form a common thread that would pull the strings of this mutual bond towards enduring selflessness and magnanimity. Eventually, your spouse will live your moments, days, and years.

Undoubtedly, these feelings are rooted in the hearts of the spouses by the infinite mercy of Almighty Allah who reminds us of these feelings as Signs in Holy Quran-”And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily, in that are Signs for those who reflect.”(Surah Ar-Rum 30:21)

They say God gifts us in several ways. He also speaks to us in many ways. I have been gifted with a best friend who communicates message of Almighty to me- “Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny” (Surah Ar-Rehman) Hope and pray we are together till autumn of life dawns and there is silver in our hair.

Happy Wedding Anniversary, Friend!

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