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, November 8, 2008

An Inspiring Story of a Young Lad

Musavirr narrates the story of a young man with a "Can DO" attitude

(Mr. Musavirr Wani, 27, was born in Srinagar and attened the Burn Hall School. He graduated from the Meerut University and joined the Kashmir Times as a reporter. Loves driving his car and surfing internet to seek out workshops and fellowships so that he can travel and present the true picture of Kashmir.)

Fighting a battle alone: He lost his leg in cross-firing but refuses to give up

Srinagar: He does not let disability overcome him nor he considers it his "helplessness". Brave and daring, Haji Muzaffar has proved his worth as much as he could and has enrolled himself in a professional college.

Pinning high hopes on his future, he is trying to get Andolite (artificial limb) sanctioned in his favour. Muzaffar a second year student pursuing a diploma course in Civil Engineering in KG Polytechnic, Gogji Bagh has not let disability overshadow his talent and capabilities though somewhere deep down he does feel a little let down.

Muzaffar was like other normal child till in the year 1994 a bullet pierced his right leg as a result of cross firing and the whole world around him changed abruptly. Remembering that episode might be quite painful for Muzaffar but he sounded bold while narrating the entire scene without apparently having any grudges or complains.

He was a student of fourth standard when he met with this "accident". In his words, "I was studying in my room in the first floor of the house and all of a sudden there were few gun shots. Hearing the gun shots I rushed downstairs. The moment I reached there, a bullet pierced my right leg and I got the feeling as if the entire world around turned topsy-turvy," Muzaffar narrated.

Gearing up courage later, he fought out his disability courageously and his family too supported him in this. After completing his schooling from Anantnag, his hometown, he joined the professional course of engineering. "I was guided by my teacher and supported by my parents to join the course. It is because of their support and guidance that I have reached this stage and if things go well I have high expectations from life," he added.

"I do not want to be a "bojh" (burden) on any one. I want to be self dependent. We too have wishes, aims and dreams. Like others we too want to become doc tors or engineers. Only thing is that we want a supportive atmosphere to express our voice and to exhibit our talent," he stated. Muzaffar however, is in need of Andolite (an artificial limb) that according to him costs Rs. 3.50 lakh which his family can not afford and he looks for a support in this respect. He believes that the same, if provided, could make a lot of difference to him. It, he said, would help him in making his work easier and life a bit comfortable. "I want some one to help me in this regard as my family is not financially that much sound which could bear the expense of such a facility that could help me in mitigating the problems that I usually face and that have now become a part of my life. Though I had myself, on individual basis, tried for this facility from the Social Welfare Department but unfortunately could not avail the facility," he admitted.

He wishes to go for further studies, (to pursue a degree in M. Tech) in case he fails to get a job after completing his studies in the college. He, however, is optimistic about his future and wants to explore the capabilities bestowed upon him by Almighty in whatever way he can.

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