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 23, 2009

Higher Education is Good, but are late Marriages Bad?

Study indicates that Kashmir is following a global social phenomenon, but Kashmiri public sees politics in every societal change

Higher education cause of late marriages: KU study

Abid Bashir (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: A new study of Kashmir University Monday revealed that attainment of higher education has contributed to the emergence of late marriage in Kashmir.
The study conducted by the Department of Sociology under Prof Bashir Ahmad Dabla, who was the chief investigator of the study on the trend of late marriages in Valley, reveals: “Turmoil, acute poverty, increasing unemployment, practice of dowry, attainment of modern education are the main reasons for the emergence of late marriages.”

The report says that brides in Kashmir are aging as the suitable matches are hardly available. The average marriageable age of the female has shot up from 21 to 28 years. As far as the males, the age of marriage has gone up to 32 years from 24 years in normal times, reveals the study.

“The average age of marriage of the females has shot up from 20.7 to 27.83 years. As far as the males, the age of marriage has risen to 31.53 years from 23.63 years in normal times,” the study reported

“Majority of 88 per cent of respondents maintained that the strife in Kashmir has contributed to the emergence of late marriages,” the study reveals.

Around 14.13 percent people felt that Kashmiri youth were either killed or disturbed during the conflict which resulted in late marriage, the study says. “14.13 respondents said that conflict situation created imbalance in sex ratio resulting in less availability of suitable boys for girls,” says Dabla.

The survey also concluded that around 11.26 people felt conflict created a situation of general unemployment and poverty.

Alarmed by the phenomenon, the Muslim clergy has now stepped in to avoid the social denegation of Kashmir. “Our ulema, academics, media and members of civil society have to raise their voices to save society from destruction. The menace of extravagance is leading to problems like late marriages and self-immolation of girls,” said Mufti Nazir Ahmad Qasimi, the vice-rector of Darul-Uloom Rahimiya, Bandipora.

Even the clerics have established marriage bureaus to ensure simple marriages to avoid the ‘social catastrophe’. Humsafar Marriage Counseling Center established by Islamic Dawaa Center has conducted 300 marriages without any pomp and show. Such is its fame that more and more people are now approaching the center for having their wards married in simple way.

“We have got offers from different cities for setting up the branches for the center. We have solemnized 300 marriages and many more are in pipeline. I think the caste system is proving a major factor for the late marriages,” said Director HMCC Fayaz Ahmad Zaroor.

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