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.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gender Discrimination

Waseema Masood stands up for all women facing similar predicament as her

Sexual Harassment, Student Failed For Raising Voice

Srinagar: In a shocking case of victimisation, a female student of the Government Dental College in Srinagar has been repeatedly failed in examinations for raising her voice against alleged sexual harassment and other misdemeanours by some members of the faculty.

Despite the trauma of being failed again and again for her outspoken behaviour, Waseema Masood a final year student, has fought back spiritedly, even to the extent of convincing the vice chancellor of the university about the faculty’s entrenched bias and prejudice against her through a secret video recording of her latest examination.

With an inquiry ordered by the VC pending because of a fresh examination notified by the controller at the Kashmir University late in 2010, which left her with no choice but to appear to save her career, Masood pleaded for an impartial observer to oversee the process, which the VC granted, but the faculty refused him entry into the centre, darkening her chances of success still further.

In her latest salvo after having been failed at least four times in a row, she approached the courts, which accepted the misdemeanours of the faculty, and ordered a senior professor to supervise her examination and asked the police to ensure her security.

Her ordeal began in July 2009 when she and other classmates were declared unsuccessful in several subjects after having held protests against violence against students and indecent advances by members of the faculty.

According to a KNS report, the students have named the college principal, Dr. Riyaz Farooq, and the head of the oral surgery department, Dr. Aijaz Ahmad Shah, as involved in sexual harassment of students, and alleged that the faculty members had hatched a conspiracy to get even with those who raised their voice against it.

Appearing in an internal exam in October 2009, Masood had approached the varsity VC again, pleading for an impartial examiner to be appointed as she feared that the faculty of her college would fail her again.

But the controller of examinations who was ordered to supervise the examination allegedly did not take the assignment seriously and confined himself to a cursory visit of the centre.

Needless to say, the student was failed again despite her good performance.

According to the student, the faculty has not mended its ways, and appeared in no mood to comply with the orders of the court her latest efforts had yielded, and there appeared to be no check on her erring teachers and examiners despite the documented proof she had provided of their wrongdoing. (Kashmir Observer)

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