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.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Modern day Dilemma Faced by Working Mothers Everywhere

With maternity leave over and back at her job, Afshana struggles with her maternal instincts

(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.)

Sorry my baby, I am your sinner

Feels the guilt
as she’s driving away,
Her thoughts are divided:
One listens attentively
to the business at hand;
The other wanders
to where she left
her heart.
She values
small qualitative moments
while juggling
the motion of her world.
Her hands are never idle.
This mommy organizes
every minute of her day never a down time,
her world is always
time on task-
always motion.
Her heart is always
drawn between
her dreams, goals,
and responsibilities
The world of self,
and selfless.
She is always
the last on her agenda,
Always putting
herself to the bottom.
She is needed,
Her list is full.
She will make
herself matter...
(Sarah Amick)

Dearest darling, My sweet child

As I jot down these lines, I am looking at your angelic and adorable face, watching the slow motion of beautiful dreams on your droopy eyelashes, as you prettily smile in sleep. The little fingers are moving in air, as if creating a delightful symphony. Your expression of bopping with fairies while hopping over diverse dreamscape is gratifying my being. Your charming serenity attracts me to kiss your forehead and just whisper— I am sorry!

Sorry, my child, for so many things. I hope you will forgive me as you grow and realize my predicament. This is a valued hope sustaining me, as of now.

However, don’t think I am trying to blink the realities and influence your judgment. I will always respect your self-determining perception and understanding. Your mom will be proud of it.

I confess snatching the best time of you away, leaving you alone when you need me most. Every day brings up the daily distressing distance. The cycle of anxious pulse starts. The routine of my work takes away your childhood pleasures. I struggle to get small ways of connecting with you. A short warm hug, a little word-play, and a minute giggle…It is so less, miserably inadequate and insufficient.

My child, I am an educated criminal. Life is rushing past me and I have surrendered my control over it. I have handed it over to my work, to the cost of living, to the temporal race, and undoubtedly, to the breaking of traditional family roles. The maternal time use is slinked away by fears and qualms of worldly affairs, too engrossing, too overbearing.

You know, my child, it is said that mother’s have paradise right under their feet. However honestly, I don’t think I qualify for this honour. I may have endured the pangs and pains of your birth, but I have not lived up to the role of a responsible mother. Of course, motherhood has helped me to explore the strengths I did not know I had, but I am yet struggling to deal with the fears which I did not know existed.

My maternal sensitivity longs to give you a legacy to carry forever: dreams and values, hopes and principles. But the material involvement handicaps me. My only fleeting treasure, the TIME, makes it difficult and challenging. I know my Ideal Role calls for a woman with lot of emotional strength and steely determination. There are examples of successful mothers who have demonstrated that the idea of working mother and effect on child is not that scary.

Nonetheless, my child, I am skeptical about working moms working wonders, all the time! The love-deprivation, the non-availability of psychological prop up, the absolved neglect, the callous care, the mechanical concern, and what not….it has an import on the nascent personality.

Someone has aptly remarked that ‘being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs, since the payment is pure love’. To create a stimulating home wherein only love comforts the child, is a genuine job. My dear child, the bug of “empowerment” has bitten all mothers. We do procreate but we do not perform motherhood. We cradle in haste, and thus waste the posterity. God did not create us because, as they say, He could not be everywhere. He created us for patience, support and sacrifice; and we, the working moms, formed mess out of our own.

My cherished child, I pined to prolong my loving touch with you despite the maternity leave I wangled. Before actually bonding strongly with you and feel confident in my new role as a mother, I just stepped back to work. I had no other choice. I feel guilty. I feel I am holding on to you something very precious, at this vital juncture of your budding—the time to shower immense love on you.

Napoleon said ‘give me good mothers, I will give you good nation’. Working moms have a harsh and demanding role to deliver in this regard, if at all they want to live with a clear conscience. Without me missing out on all major milestones of your life, the minor but significant moments of your childhood, I wish, my child, you feel glad to have me as your mom, the one who is expected to contribute to nation in some small way. But just through you. Only you.

Last word. Don’t forget I am a mother. Your Mother, my child!
With lots and lots of warm and tender love,
Your Working Mom.

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