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, January 28, 2011

A Modern Kashmiri Tragedy

Fayaz highlights a "silent social phenomena" that haunts every Kashmiri family with growing children

(Mr. Fayaz Ahmad Bhat, 30, was born in Awantipora, Pulwama District. He did his schooling from the Mantaqui Memorial High School, Awantipora, and his Bachelors of Art degree from the Government Degree College in Tral. Mr. Bhat completed his Master's degree in Political Science from the University of Kashmir. He is presently working in the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST), Awantipora, as a non-teaching staff member. Mr. Bhat regularly writes for local English dailies like the Greater Kashmir and the Rising Kashmir.)


She was just an average girl in studies. After completing her graduation in BA at the age of 24 she went to work in a private school.

Her desire, like the rest of the population, was to get a government job. After applying for many posts she is not making it into the final selection list. Her parents pursue her to apply consistently. They want to see their daughter make a good living. Her father is in a constant contact with the person who has a reputation of having access to top bureaucrats in the town. Her mother is being advised by her relatives to visit Aasthans for early morning prayers. “You never know which time is the time of Sa'at-e-Hassan” (the auspicious moment when Allah listens to and approves our pleas), as is repeatedly told by her friends and relatives.

Three years of following job application notices and filling up number of applications, she lost verve to do anymore of it again. After applying, applying and applying all she loses is her age and mind to do something else. Now she is a carrier girl - not a career girl - carrying the baggage of her unmarried life.

She has accepted now defeat and teaches in a private school on a meagre sum of Rs 2000 per month. She is now 27 and yet to get a government job. As her age accelerates the marriage proposals decrease. Earlier people used to come to their doors with marriage proposals. Her parents were and are primarily worried about her getting government job, marriage post job. The friendly social society of ours, however, force her parents to think of their daughter’s marriage.

Now they introspect and remember the manzimyor, who two years ago came with proposal of Junior Engineer. They call manzimyour and query about the same person. “He got married and is now a father of one child,” he informs them. “That time you were riding on high horse,” he admonishes them. “As the age of girl slips past 25 prospective grooms start to twitch on age factor now matter how beautiful the girl is.”

The words of manzimyor start to pinch the parents. They realise that even middle rung government employees are not going to marry off their girl as this is the world of open competition. Engineers and doctors have now stopped to be on their list. Teachers and senior clerks are on the radar. Earlier they were ridiculed for their cunning, slow pace and dull boring life. Now, a sort of environment is being created for highlighting their salaries, shrewdness and in case of senior clerks, their access to the higher echelons of bureaucracy.

In analyzing these proposals, they have lost one year. In this new environment, a friend suggested her to do Masters Degree that will brighten her chances for a government job as well as a good life partner. She has now stopped applying for jobs and in her hand there is now another application – as a student for higher studies. Although she is trying very hard to complete Masters Degree, she finally completes it in three years. Now she is 31.

She is now feeling confident and is congratulated by her friends and relatives for completing Masters Degree. They praise her in public but in private they are concerned about her growing age. Proposals are again coming to her family but now they are ones whose one-third hair is grey. Her family is rejecting these offers primarily because of age.

Parents of every child can share the age of neighbour’s children. But when it comes to their own children they try hard to conceal it. For them their children are always young. But society counts the age by simply comparing it with her classmates. Sometimes exaggerating the figure and sometimes underestimating. And in her case, everyone knows she is above 30.

Now her parents have engaged two three manzimyors to look for a perfect bridegroom. They are coming with new proposals but they do not materialize because of age —either from boys’ side or girls’. Ouch - either from men side or woman's side.

It is now 24th January — her birthday. She is now 32…. Earlier, she used to remember her birthday because it was this day she came into this world with all hope for good life and good life partner. Now, she doesn’t want to remember it for other reasons. Why she does not want to remember it for these ‘other’ reasons. Who is to blame? She? Parents? Society? New trends? I don’t know. But I know she is 32 and waiting.

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