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.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Passing Personal Political Baggage to Youngsters

Manzoor censures Prof. Noor Bhat for mixing academic sanctity with his personal politics and wonders how the University approved such an examination paper

Worshiping false heroes
Manzoor Anjum

Point is not that whether posing a question in the examination that are stone pelters heroes or villains was uncalled for or not, the point is which of the answers to this question would be deemed correct by the examiner and would get good marks to the students.

Nobody would have expected our leaders to understand the seriousness and sensitivity of the issue and that is why Mirwaiz’s Hurriyat following Geelani’s Hurriyat (G) in defending the Professor for setting up a controversial question paper has surprised none. What is surprising is the statement of Teachers Association. This is the association of architects of the nation and none other than these architects can understand and appreciate that how disastrous it could be to involve the education of our children into political conflicts. Equally surprising is the statement of Jammu Kashmir Council For Human Rights (JKCHR) head Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani when he says that the issue should have been dealt with by academia and not police. Dr. Gilani is a learned and scholarly person running his NGO in the free environs of London and therefore one would have expected him to appreciate that creating confusion among the young minds which are yet to reach adulthood is a crime – a serious one.

Prof Noor Mohammad Bhat is free to hold any opinion and is equally free to give vent to the same. He has a right to say whatever he believes in and no one has a right to curb his freedom of expression. But he has no right to thrust his opinion on the young minds by setting the question paper in such a way that can only create confusion in the budding minds. Such questioner has a potential to impact the academic career of the students besides creating confusion and contradictions in their evolving thinking process.

Point is not that whether posing a question in the examination that are stone pelters heroes or villains was uncalled for or not, the point is which of the answers to this question would be deemed correct by the examiner and would get good marks to the students. Human society, in general, is yet to come to a conclusion regarding stone pelting as a way of protest. Discussions are still going on that whether pelting stones on streets - for a noble cause or something else – is the right approach or not and whether those indulging in such protests are heroes or villains. In such a scenario, how would one expect a young student to react and which answer would satisfy the one who would evaluate his/her answer.

This question was nonsensical and we, as a nation, should have felt ashamed of and should have made the said Professor accountable for such stupidity. The reaction to the issue by Hurriyat factions has once again exposed the intellectual bankruptcy of the leadership and proved beyond doubt that a leadership which can’t understand the seriousness of such an issue can’t lead the people to a noble goal.

Our nation has nothing but our children. They are the guarantee of a better tomorrow. If we fail to provide them healthy opportunities to seek education, we would be indulging in mass suicide. Any attempt to pollute the young minds by creating unwarranted confusions through examinations or teachings should be condemned by one and all.

The problem with our leadership is that it is always ready to support anything that if feels is against India, Indian forces or the state government without caring whether such a thing is beneficial or disastrous for their own people. For momentarily satiation of our emotions and sentiments we never hesitate to hug things which pollute our own society and poison our young minds.

The main objective of human beings’ existence in this world is to surrender to their creator and pray to Him. And the second objective is seeking of education and knowledge. Alas! the intellectual health of some teachers has deteriorated to the extent that instead of imparting healthy education, they busy trying to involve our young kids in debating pros and cons of stone pelting. The tragic part of the tale is that those who claim to lead the people are backing such intellectual deterioration.

Our children deserve to get the education. They have a right to study history, science, culture, philosophy etc. They have a right to seek knowledge to understand the secrets of the universe; they have a right to have access to richness of different cultures; they have a right to explore things on rational lines.

Freedom struggles and other social and political movements are being run in different parts of the world. But nowhere else attempts are made to fiddle with the basic principles of education. It happens only in Kashmir where such people have been thrust on the masses who want to make heroes out of intellectually sick people like Noor Mohammad Bhat.

It is sad that Kashmir University, the highest seat of learning has been witnessing a gradual deterioration. Noor Mohammad Bhat has committed a crime and so has the Vice Chancellor of the University. There is a full fledged department looking after the examinations. How come question paper with such nonsensical questions could make to the examination centers?

This is a serious issue and needs a serious approach. The Governor, who heads Kashmir University as Chancellor and the Chief Minister, who is pro-Chancellor need to make the VC and University’s examination department accountable. No attempt to pollute the evolving minds of our young children and to drag their academic activities into political conflicts should be tolerated.

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