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, December 20, 2008

Life in the City

Monisa has some sobering thoughts on hassles of the city life in a State coping with violence and anarchy

(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.)


I just heard about a baby, who could not live for long. Not only because the Creator sent him with fewer breaths, but we gave him lesser glimpses of life. She was in need of something manmade - a ventilator. And since this part of the world is deprived of things; she was deprived of life. Our hospitals have few, but all occupied. Only the ‘lucky blessed souls’ get a chance to breathe. She could not. Perhaps, she was luckier to fly away from here into the heavens, when angels soothe and caress her with the purest of love and warmth.

We may reach anywhere, but a small reality somewhere, somehow makes us realize who and what we basically are - Kashmiris. Survival becomes so difficult despite being alive, when you only exist as another piece of non-living entity, deprived of life. Living may be a pipedream, but perishing is not. Our life so cheap that we simply have to encounter petty options to die? Die and go on dying. It appears that we have mastered the art of finding unique ways and means of helping this world get rid of us. We will never have a bigger reason to live, to contribute and to mark our presence on this stage of life?

After all, born on the streets, on the ‘Curfewed nights’ and days, deprived of the genuine water to quench our thirst for sustenance, we are. All our lives we try and struggle to walk on the decayed streets and roads, leading to nowhere. Each grain of rice has us begging outside the doors. Each drop of oil sees our lamps die a thousand times before it moistens its wink. Our life continues. We exist, we go on existing.

The darkness of the preparation nights engulfs even the brightest of the minds, who even lose the spark of their eyes and minds to the struggle with the bulb to see it lit sometime, someday by some divine blessing. And still our poor souls shall travel together, not towards eternity but to some worldly destination, in a sick container moving on some holy wheels. It goes on getting filled until we choke, until our spirits suffocate. We ride rather we are taken for a ride, for which we even pay. Do we deserve it all? Or do we think we deserve it all?

Every day we have to prove to some stranger who we are. Our identity has to be identified. It seems, perhaps, we don’t even know it ourselves. Had it been, we wouldn’t be carrying a tag on our foreheads on this soil, where we were born and we wouldn’t be ‘labeled’ outside, where we were not. We continue to instill enthusiasm into our work, but there is no one there, in front of us, hiring the hands and minds, offering a single opportunity. There is nothing like an ‘Opportunity’, it is only a mirage for our degrees. The youth, who have been thinking of, ‘Miles to go before I sleep’, are thrown into the dungeon of despair and depression forever, until they find a way to die.

We can’t breathe in the air, which flows from the windows of the heaven into our lands, over the face of Dal and Lidder. We can’t eat the fruits on the branches of the trees, which bow down to us, offering their bloom with the greatest affection. I presume, the fruits are not; the life is forbidden. We can’t drink in the streams, coming from the lap of the sky, flowing down the shoulders of the mighty mountains and into the heart of the earth. We cannot. We cannot. We simply cannot.

But we will of course do something. We will die! Die, in the shadow of books which taught us the letters but not the livelihood, in the hands of our ‘saviours’; of the trauma that we faced after someone close was buried in some unidentified grave somewhere, for one stone, under the burden of our own dreams and hopes.

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