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, October 1, 2010

A Vision of Mystical Love

Farooq Renzu takes us through a dream that was once reality that can be reclaimed with enough collective determination

(Khawaja Farooq Renzu Shah, 54, was born in Srinagar. He matriculated from the Government Higher Secondary School in Nawa Kadal, and attended Sri Pratap College, Srinagar. He completed his L.L.B. degree from the University of Kashmir, securing the first position and a gold medal. He subsequently entered the Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS), and has served as District Commissioner, Budgam, and presently is the Director of Information in the state service. He spends his leisure time writing novels and working on spiritual communication, and writing and propogating friendship, peace, progress and unity among the people of all religions and identities.)

From Zabarwan to Charar

Zabarwan Hills standing guard in the backyard of my house always would narrate glorious stories of Civilization. But today the scene was different. There was a spectacular rainbow opening inviting my heart. Ecstasy gripped me and I clearly saw through the colorful horizon a reflection of Char-i-Sharief shrine.

Amidst this there was a frightening noise. May be some explosion, or a gun soaking the soil red, or may be a wail of some tormented soul - my head started spinning. As if in a state of trance the rainbow over the Zabarwan hill carried me to Khankah Faiz Paneh, Chrar-i-Sharief.

It was a God send opportunity that during the period I was administering the area, I ventured to rebuild one and half decades old Khankah structure, burnt to ashes. I devoted myself to the noble cause and entire population was behind me.

My slumber that would usually take me to the dead end of darkness, today unfolded cosmic colours. But suddenly I flinched. Ah! Sheikh-ul-Alam Hazrat Noor-ud-Din Nund Reshi, the saint scholar of the time brightened the dark dreams. I looked towards him as an old hungry destitute looking towards a person offering him a morsel. His robe was glowing. Millions of threads knotted to his divine raiment; each one a symbol of hope and faith.

I saw myself amidst frenzied throngs holding wide copper plate - trami - in my hand having a hole at centre. My body started quivering when I saw strange looks emanating from his ocean deep eyes. Some unknown power abruptly snatched veil of slumber from my eyes, and in a state of shock I stood up from my bed. I saw my wife offering Tahjud prayers. “I want to offer Tahjud”, I cried. “You don’t even offer daily prayers, what made you so frightened?”, she shot back.

I narrated my dream. Before dawn tore off the black veil of darkness she prepared yellow rice - Tehri and asked me to distribute it in the mohalla. I went out for the purpose of distributing the food, but found that none paid heed. People’s response made me think that either all stomachs were full, or they had orgotten to receive handful of Tehri, as a sense of blessing. I brought the plate back.

I felt as is if the entire Zabarwan Hill was jeering at me. The glitter of rainbow had disappeared and profuse clouds had appeared. My thoughts again wandered to Trami in my hand. The hole in the Trami was opening its jaws to devour all around, but the appearance of the ineffable image of Nund Reshi made tears spill through the hole. I started searching my thread amongst millions on his robe. Each knot was alluding to the verse that timely prayers are a bounden duty on believers.

I wished to offer prayer at Khankah-Faiz-ul-Paneh, but Trami in my hand had shackled me like a prisoner. I tried to break the shackles but the hammer struck my head. Suddenly I woke up and narrated the dream to my wife.

Again she handed over a Tehri-full plate to me asking to distribute it. No one was ready to receive. I threw Tehri along with the plate towards Zabarwan. I was again ushered to the transom of Khankah, where my tears froze on the inscription over a black stone. The sense of inexorable guilt made me wipe the black plate with my tears. Again dead end of darkness engulfed me. Some one struck me with a heavy rock from Zabarwan. I found myself again in the market of my Mohalla holding a plate in my hand.

Today I never called or implored anyone, but I could feel people scrambling for a morsel. Everyone seemed hungry. People who once were not even interested to take one morsel of Tehri, were now in a hurry to take one from Trami.

I opened my eyes, Oh My God! I physically ran towards Char-i-Shrief and sat in front of Rosa Shrief, the mausoleum, inside the shrine. I heard melodious sounds of Nund Rishi’s verses which started blessing me and soothing my soul.

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