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.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Time to Reflect and Cherish Your Family and Friends

Nida loses a close relative and a special friend

(Ms. Nida Rafiq Shiekh, 22, was born in Srinagar. She passed her Matriculation from the Presentation Convent High School and completed her 12th grade from the Mallinson Girls High School, both with distinction. She recently graduated from the Women's College, Srinagar, and is enrolled in the Media Education Centre (MERC) of the University of Kashmir pursuing a Master's degree in mass communication. She is a free lance writer who likes writing about the Kashmir issue and other topics like communal violence that have torn apart the Kashmiri society with tragic consequences. She loves writing and reading, and hopes to become a serious journalist and a documentary film maker some day.)


Life is like a roller Costa ride…..full of ups and downs. Sometimes God blesses us with moments that we want to cherish forever and sometimes he makes us witness such moments which we don’t ever want to remember again. But, every new event and happening in our lives brings about with them a lot of lessons for us to learn. Although God almighty has been kind enough with me and has blessed me with innumerable moments which I will cherish forever but, he also made me witness a moment which I wish would have never come.

It’s said that if a person has a good mentor in his life then his chances of becoming a good and a successful human being always increases. I was one such lucky person who was blessed to find a good mentor and a wonderful friend very early in my life. She was a cousin, a friend, a guide and a teacher. She taught me the basics of life and each word that she spoke had an enormous effect on me because she herself was a complete person. She had a mesmerizing personality, full of confidence. I loved to imitate the way she behaved, the way she talked, the way she gave us lessons about life. She had a unique style of walking, talking and smiling. She taught me the real meaning of life. We used to talk for hours together and share everything. Everyday I learned something or the other from her and that made me what I am today.

As I grew up, my admiration and affection for her also increased as, it was difficult to find such a person around. But, somehow I could never show my admiration for her. I could never tell her that she was my role model and my icon. Partly, because I am a very reserved person and can hardly express myself. Then, one fine afternoon she called my mother and talked to her for sometime. She wanted to talk to me as well but I was tired and thought I would call her later. Though, fate had something else in store for us. On the same day in the evening we received a call which declared that I could never call her again. The voice on the phone asked us to go to her place as she was not well. I could never imagine a young and a healthy girl like her to fall seriously ill. So, a lot of things started roaring our brains but never in my weirdest imagination could I imagine what I saw when I reached her place.

When I reached there, I saw people mourning and crying outside. It did weaken me and I could hardly gather the courage to go inside her house. But, I somehow managed to go inside only to find my mentor and my most wonderful teacher lying dead on the floor. She was dead and I was in deep shock. Everybody was wailing and crying and I couldn’t even shed my tears. I knew it was a huge and un-repairable loss but the thing which was killing me inside was that I could never express my love and my affection to her. She died a sudden death and left many questions unanswered but even her death taught me a lesson of my life and that is to live in the moment because one never knows what the very next moment has in store for us. Her untimely death was very difficult for me to bear but it taught me a huge lesson. Wish I could tell her that I adored her and she was the most important person in my life…………

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