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 1, 2008

A Theatre Called Kashmir

Afshana notes that all principal actors in Kashmir - politicians, administrators, academicians, policy makers and planners - are playing havoc with the land and its people with their theatrical outlook

(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.)

Playing Histrionics

Once placed upon
a group of repeats
Those individuals make my time
so unworthy and impressed
How silent you are
than the lights
Discovering what could
only hide for so long
After and a week you know
that we’ll be gone.
We run this game and
we need to escape,
I’m over that way
of communicating
Over and around
Everyone is anyone
I could say I can wait
but what would that mean?
Where would I be?
Are you still listening to me?
Oh, tethered heart of the words
you’ve grown to starve,
The world is overrated
where you are
Very simple, unimpressed
And we’re growing up so fast
Now the lights
Discovering what could
only hide for so long
After and a week you know
that we’ll be gone.
We run this game and
we need to escape,
Are you still
listening to me?

These are the lyrics of one of the tracks Circle of Death in the album named Histrionics by a famous American rock band The Higher.

Where the world is overrated and heart is tethered, Histrionics is virtually an emotional overreaction to a disconcerting state of affairs.

The widely used term histrionics is historically allied with the archaic concept of ancient Greeks, the hysteria, coined by Hippocrates. However, some of the historians believe that the word ‘histrionic’ is derived from the Latin adjective histrionicus, “pertaining to an actor.”

It is said that since most lawmakers in colonial New England were puritans, the ‘play-acting’ was banned. They deemed theatre as immoral and passed laws designed to keep New England theatre-free.

To escape the fury of the Puritans, some theatre companies played safe and smart. Their shrewd managers proclaimed that they were not, in fact, a theatre, but a ‘Histrionic academy’. “We’re not performing a play sir….” they might say, “We are presenting a moral dialogue!”

Nonetheless, histrionics as a performing art hardly gained a high moralistic stature. On the contrary, histrionics became more popular and predominant because of the theatrics in real life—the affectedly dramatic behaviour that many of the categories of people display every now and then.

They say “if one makes believe very hard, the most shadowy of shams can seem real”. The people playing histrionics do exactly the same. Their exaggerated behaviour calculated to elicit a response or effect buries down the real things wretchedly. Before others come to know about the reality, they succeed in disfiguring and defacing the truth melodramatically.

Playing histrionics is meant for playing to the gallery. Politicians do same by calling false shots from their shaky platforms. From ‘dual currency’ to ‘autonomy mantra’, they hoodwink masses by ridiculous antics.

Sheltering persistent manipulative behaviors to achieve own needs, leaders try to impress their impeccability despite questionable credentials.

Terribly sensitive to criticism or disapproval, the people in power corridors project themselves as epitome of patience.

Making rash decisions, the policy makers and planners embark on crackpot schemes justifying their uselessness and inconsequentiality.

Having low tolerance for annoyance, administrators and academicians play havoc with their theatrical outlook portrayed as ‘morality’.

Possessing rapidly shifting emotional states, the hapless victims trade off their agonies by playing in the hands of ‘tragic-artists’.

Threatening or attempting suicide to get attention, the unemployed youth, the Shaheen, are left with no option but to dramatize their grievances in a vulture’s way.

Playing histrionics is a ‘great’ as well as ‘grueling’ art that requires timely mastery of words and actions. A fabulous way to become a hero or a top name! To conceal and swathe their downside, most of the people pervasively stage their mental fickleness through it for seeking attention. Typified also as a kind of personality disorder, people playing histrionics are usually able to function at a high level successfully. However, they often fail to perceive their own situation realistically. Instead, they tend to dramatize and exaggerate.

In short, playing host to some of the most distressing and ruinous histrionics in the history of national peculiarity, this land has a privilege of nurturing such shallow creatures—the counterfeiters and con artists; the rakes and rogues; the thugs and other dregs of society who have dragged it to the brink of debacle.

There are terrifying tales of scalawags and malingerers amidst which make one to deplore and lament the death of scruples abjectly.

And more shockingly, a mad Junoon, a mass hysteria around that ridicules the appalling downfall as the future frenziedly plays to the Music: Histrionics!

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