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, May 6, 2011

Hope is Eternal

Nida narrates a compelling story of immense sorrow and hope

(Ms. Nida Qayoom,23, was born in Sopore. She matriculated from Government Girls Higher Secondary School in Sopore, followed by graduation in the English Literature from Government Degree College,Sopore. She did her post graduation in English from the University of Kashmir in 2008. She is presently working as a contractual lecturer in English Literature, and in 2009-2010 did so at the at the Government Degree College in Handwara. She writes regular columns in Daily English Newspaper, The Rising Kashmir, related to various conflict and social Issues in Kashmir. She has been a National Service Scheme (NSS) worker for three years and participated in the 91st Indian Science Congress held in Chandigarh in 2004. Ms. Qayoom was awarded the best speaker of the college by the then Education Minister in 2004, and best anchor of the college in 2005. She has participated in the National Games for women as an athlete in 2003 held in Pondicherry and also participated and received awards in many debate competitions and symposiums from 2004 to 2006 held in different colleges of the valley.)

Bravely Serving Life

She is a picture of unbearable agony, emptiness and anxiety. Her dreams shatter, and spill over within her and a howling silence surrounds her. She wears a cloak of sorrow.

On a chilly grey November morning, when autumn had passed and the winds blew away the yellow and dead leaves from trees, paving way for winter that came howling and crying.

Her mother was stretched on a bed of pain and labour, oscillating between life and death. A new guest was about to arrive in the world. The would-be father had gone to his usual work, however, the moment he heard about the news, he made haste to reach home but everything does not go as desired. He was caught in a crossfire. He was anxiously waiting for this moment, but alas he fell to the bullets while coming home.

While the mother was battling for her life, the father too was wrestling for his life. The sun was setting and the moon threw cushioned beams, the birds took shelter among boughs and the flowers folded their petals and the silence descended, the mother started her successive cry…a cry of life …the cry of a poor mother who was lying down in despair and unknown about the fate of her husband, unaware that her dreams were shattered.

At the dead of night, the mother delivered a baby girl. However, the father embraced death and closed his eyes forever. When the mother opened her eyes, instead of seeing smiling faces, every one kept looking at her sorrowfully shaking their heads and her soul was warning her of the doubt in her heart. On one hand she attained motherhood – a dream of every woman - a moment when woman becomes complete; on the other hand, she had lost her soul mate…here the infant was wrapped in silk swaddles and placed by her mother and there the father was shrouded in white cloth and safely placed in his grave and left to none but God.

They say time is the best healer, however, the baby girl, now in her teens, is still shrouded in silence and sadness, baffled by the questions which life has posed infront of her. That fateful winter has passed for her relatives and acquaintances then came the hopeful spring, when flowers bloomed again in the fields and grounds, the brooks flow with freshness and life in the valley yet for girl and her mother it is an eternal winter…

Be true unto yourselves, and bear in mind
That every God is still the good Man’s friend
And when the wicked have their day assigned
Then they who suffer bravely serve mankind


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