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, September 10, 2010

Liberation From Fear

Soayib argues that pursuing freedom while ignoring needs of the society, and especially those who are suffering, makes no sense

(Mr. Soayib Qureshi, 21, was born in Srinagar. He did his early schooling from Burnhall, Srinagar, and transferred to the Lawrence school, Sanawar(H.P.), from where he passed his 10th class. He finished his pre-college studies from the Delhi Public Schools (DPS) in R.K.Puram, New Delhi. Presently he is in the 4th year pursuing a degree of law through Indraprastha University, New Delhi. Soayib loves travelling to new places and interacting with the people to learn about their hopes and expectations. He also loves photography.)

Let’s Make the Change

Violence is my second home. My home that I cherished with all my love has become a volatile paradise whose waters are being tested by the tormentors of humanity. I’ve been hearing gun shots, cries for help from the last two decades, I don’t know how louder we have to cry for the world to notice our misery and bail us out of it. It’s been years of fake promises and neglect which has made the present situation in Kashmir so unstable.

Everyone is out on the streets, in the hope that someone would hear their cry for help, a cry for freedom and liberation from the constant suppression.

New Delhi does not understand the basic fact that it’s easy to kill a person’s right to freedom, to deny the people the right to live, but no force can quench the thirst of a wounded soul to rise from the ashes and liberate itself. This is the same power, which above all odds, is making people come on streets and protest against the brutal force. There is a media blockade due to which the cries of mothers and the pain of our brethren are lost in the valley of violence.

We are the victims of the political aspirations of people whom we have trusted for long. We need to rise above and be a part of the system. To cure a poisonous body the drug can only act and clean it from within. The political system has destroyed Kashmir like a termite destroys wood. It’s imperative for us to realize that we are a leaderless community, there is no one who can cater to the needs of the people, understand their aspirations and stand up for them. We are the future of this beautiful land. We need to look within, find that leader within ourselves, so that we are not dependent on the mercy of goons.

Cries for freedom can be heard throughout Kashmir. The word Azadi which is being chanted by everyone in Kashmir has a deeper meaning to it. It cannot be construed just to mean freedom from the Indian dominion or an accession to Pakistan. This word has crept into our lives; we without any resistance have become a part of it. Azadi is the liberation from the fear we live in. This fear has engulfed us from within. It’s time to liberate ourselves and give to the people a place where we can live in harmony, a place where everyone can pursue their dreams.

The last two decades have turned this state from a valley of dreams to a valley of uncertainty. Last two months have witnessed protests like never before. The valley has witnessed strikes and curfews that have crippled life. Now to my understanding the purpose of observing strikes is a sign of protests to stop the government machinery from working. But while doing so we have to take in consideration the effects of strikes and curfews. There is a talk about community kitchens, but do they actually cater to the needs of the poor? It’s always the poor man who suffers ultimately.

The people on the streets protesting against the atrocities need to understand that while we are trying to liberate ourselves from the constant suppression and injustice, we should remember not to act like the brutal forces do. We need to remember that absolute power is a poison, it can neither be given to the people nor to the forces, it has to lie with the sovereign. But in these situations ,when the sovereign ,which instead of protecting the people and nourishing their dreams, is hell-bent on destroying their aspirations , utmost care needs to be taken so as the power does not fall into wrong hands.

While we pursue the path for freedom, we should not curtail the freedom of the needy. Because any amount of freedom will not get him a meal for his family. We are fighting the injustice melted out to us by the but we must not let this anger kill the livelihood of the poor. Let us not curtail the freedom of the same people for whose rights we are protesting on the streets. Let’s open the shops in the night, let’s show the world how freedom and survival can be achieved hand in hand. Let us teach our family the essence of being together as one. Let us be one because that is the way us can liberate ourselves from the pain and suffering.

We are the sufferers, we protest, take the heat but are not made the part of the problem solving mechanism. We take all the harsh steps, but when it comes to the solution process we rest at our homes while the so called leaders have a field day with their blunders.

The problem of Kashmir does not lie in the well-guarded homes of the politicians or the so called torch bearers of freedom struggle. It lies in the silent homes of the sufferers. It’s a high time that people are made a part of the problem. Let’s constitute committees at the Mohalla level, formulate a plan which we think fit, be a part of the political system, and come together and find that leader within us who does not talk about freedom from India or an accession to Pakistan but fulfills aspirations of the people. That leader who could give people a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand and the path of redemption. Let’s not leave it this time with the politicians, let’s take a step forward and be responsible. Let’s be the “change” we want.

No comments: