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.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

For Every Journey, You Start With a Dream

Monisa suggests a conversation with the inner-self before embarking on the journey of life

(Ms. Monisa Qadri was born and raised in Srinagar She has been a Mallinson Girl and studied bio-chemistry at the Women's College, Srinagar. She has studied mass communications and journalism from Kashmir University, and works in the Corporate Communications and Public Relations Department of the J&K Bank. She writes as a freelancer.)


Monisa Qadri

The other day I subscribed to a saying, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world”, for my response to it was simply, ‘wow, how true’. Someone asked if I had ever taken a step to improve a thing or two… It took me a jiffy to reply, ‘for me it is a process and so no single step shall suffice any desire to improvise.’

Though, it is with everyone to do something to help make this world a better entity. And surprisingly, we all think and believe that ‘something’ needs to be changed and it is said, “In his later years Pablo Picasso was not allowed to roam in an art gallery unattended, for he had previously been discovered in the act of trying to improve on one of his old patriarchal masterpieces”. Those souls and minds are different. We normally end up doing little in this perspective and to that Maya Angelou asserts, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude, don’t complain.”

We try to see things from our own innate, quite often inherent, at times intended, most definitely instinctive and less craved-imbibed (admitted even lesser) perspectives. There would be things that resonate with you and your vibes and as a result of this sub-conscious Pattern identification, we form those value-judgments. We look for the substantial and facts to help prove our notions, although, when they aren’t able to do so, it is easier to ignore them rather than to rethink about our preconceptions, or perhaps misconceptions.

Accordingly, we analyse happenings and doings, which though might have a better orientation at that point in time, space or ideology for that matter, but since humans have a tendency to find an error in the other people’s business, we will. And now, while my fingers are, on the command of my thoughts, which are in consultation with my feelings, carving the words out of those silhouettes of ideas, I think I know if I can do a thing about it. At least I feel that way now. My expression based on my set of understanding came to me as I looked at Anne Frank’s quote yet again.

It is simply matter of knowing the real ‘you’, rather ‘me’, as this time its about me. Effectively, knowing ‘who you are’ or ‘what you are’ will only guide in ‘what you can be’ and consequently in ‘what you can do’. And trust me, in a much better way.

I kind of specify that when things open up for you, you become much in control of them. It is like having every element of a jigsaw there; in front of your eyes, your reason and of course your very own wisdom. Then, it is a matter of your specific individual discretion as to how and when you solve it and when you rearrange those scattered pieces of thoughts. Few do it in a jiffy, some may follow, while many might just end-up as the ‘poor hare’ in this story.

Again, this also is not like some ‘pick n choose’ feature where one can fix a stop watch for him/herself or join any of the categories-‘few’, ‘some’ or least desired-‘many’. No shopper’s delight here. It is only about ‘what you have in you’.

Coming back to knowing about oneself, will signify something called as ‘introspection’. This is usually explosively used during those heavily loaded ‘sanctimonious sounding divine sermons’, which people (we) throw at others (they) when people claim a better position with respect to others in a given situation (lets say A,B, C or may be Z, can also be 1,2, 3….). Important is not why or the rest of the W’s, but we do it; quite often.

Best part of the game is that no one will ever say, ‘I don’t know who I am’, which actually is the reality because if we did, you will be you, I will be me and we will be we. Well!! There are times when you think you know yourself, but you can’t deny moments when you question your entire persona, as to what actually are you all about!!

Things move on, life goes on. May be the situations that you fall into, force you to discover you anew every time...thus, trying to match upto your previous definitions, calculations and those introspective analytical judgements.

So, do we, at all times know ourselves actually, or is there a never ending mystery to it, which requires being dug out all over again, again and again. Imam Ali (as). Says: “Knowledge is a treasure so vast, that it is never exhausted: wisdom is a new robe that never gets worn.”

Hence, only when one is able to understand what is not there in him/her, it can be known if that’s calls for an improvement or is just fine for the person. I mean whether what is missing is really desired and needed by his being. When we have an idea about our negatives or shortcomings, it becomes somewhat easier to work towards enforcing self. Reforming these influences, within the human mind, is called the process of purification or tazkiyyah. The following statements in the Qur’an illuminate this concept: “And a soul and Him Who perfected it. And inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it. He is indeed successful who caused it to grow. And he is indeed a failure who stunted it.” (91: 7-10).

In case, someone manages to get down to brass tacks to calculate his person and is willing to help his soul, he shall always be in possesion of all it takes to find a silver bullet for getting the kinks out of his confusion within him, as Hazrat Muhammad ( SAW) has said, “For everything there is an instrument and a tool, and the instrument of the believer is his intellect: for everything there is a mainstay, and the mainstay of man is his intellect; for everything there is a support, and the support of religion is the intellect; for every group of me there is a goal, and the goal of the worshippers is the intellect; for every people there is a missionary (who calls them to true faith), and the missionary of the devout is the intellect; for every merchant there are goods and merchandise, and the merchandise of the scholars is the intellect; for every house there is a keeper, and the keeper of the houses of the saints is the intellect; for every ruin there is rehabilitation, and the rehabilitation of death is the intellect; for every man there is a offspring who bears his name and perpetuates his memory, and the offsprings of the saints, who bear their names, and perpetuate their memory, are their intellects; and finally for every journey there is a shelter, and the shelter of the believers is the intellect”.

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