Introduction to KashmirForum.org 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.
www.kashmirforum.org

Friday, August 5, 2011

Insidious and Abhorrent

Syeda pitches for the girl-in-the-womb

(Ms. Syeda Afshana, 36, was born in Srinagar. She attended the Vishwa Bharti High School in Rainawari, Srinagar, and the Government Women's College in Srinagar where she received a B.Sc. degree. She completed her Master's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the Kashmir University in 1999 and was the Gold Medallist (first position holder) in her graduating class. She is currently a Lecturer in the Media Education Research Centre (MERC) of the Kashmir University and pursuing her doctorate on the role of internet after 9/11.)


Let Her Live

I’ve no faith in miracles
but this wish I do nurture
that when death carries me
away from the world,
it should grant me
this permission just once
that I may return from
the grave and,
knocking at your door, cry out-
‘if you need a consoler, I’m here.
And if you don’t need one,
I may return again to the other world’

(Faiz)

Consoler she definitely needs. And that too, from her own gender: the one who was brutally snatched from her before she could take her into lap and squander all her caress. She couldn’t help; she had to be a mute spectator. She simply switched off, emotions relapsed, hope resigning to the inevitable. The little angel, a baby girl disappeared into oblivion. No one asked where she is, what has happened to her. No one heard her birth blubbery, not even her swan-song. For others she was never born and hence, she never died. But for someone writhing in maternal pain, she was much more than any unborn reality done to an unbelievable death. She was a pristine wish, a delicate dream, a nascent flower nipped in the bud.

For decades, millions of girls have been victims of so-called female infanticide, mostly in South and East Asia. In some third world countries, the sex ratio is dramatically lower. In India, there are 914 women to every 1000 men (Census, 2011). India today tops the list in illegal abortions and female infanticide in the world. A UNICEF report says 50–60 million girls have gone ‘missing’ in India in 1990. They are termed as missing as they were either murdered at the time of their birth or within few hours of birth. That during the first 50 years of independence more than 50 million girls have been killed in India, confirms the estimate of 1 million girls being murdered each year. By comparison, all other genocides in world history pale into insignificance. The Nazi genocide of Jews was only 5 million; the mass murder of 50 million female children has thus been ten times more severe than the Jewish Holocaust!! And the despicable killings continue.

Genetic testing for the purpose of sex determination and sex selective abortion, though officially outlawed, has become a booming business in India. It has grown into an Rs.1000-crore country wide industry.

A well researched book Genocide of Women in Hinduism by Sita Agarwal blatantly exposes “the single most anti-woman civilization in the history of world, whose followers she labels as mindless male supremacist pigs who know nothing better than how to burn their own wives and rape their own daughters”. Her treatise, in fact, is a vitriolic attack on one of the ancient religions of world, whom she unhesitatingly snubs as “truly inhuman”. She traces the history of female infanticide in India back to the Vedic period and quotes explicit sanction of female infanticide in Vedic religion:

“Hence reject a female child when born, and taken up a male” (Taittirya Samhita VI.5.10.3).

But then, the enigmatic question arises about those who also indulge in this scandalous crime while claiming to be the followers of a faith which ordains high value and regard for a girl child. Hypocrisy is more discreditable. The interim census report (2011) indicates that J&K, a Muslim-majority state, has witnessed the dramatic and largest decline in sex ratio for the past one decade. The provisional data shows that the child sex ratio has fallen from 941 in 2001 to 859 in 2011. It is surely a grim and shameful scenario. The BBC news report says, “The Kashmir Valley, which has been in the grip of an armed insurgency against Indian rule for the past two decades, has now turned on its girls, killing them ruthlessly, in most cases even before they are born”(Kashmir Killing Fields, 23 May-2011).

That abhorred past is insidiously returning through a new door with new poses and new players, is a fitting parable for unabated female infanticide in this worst part of the world. “It is shocking to note that our society has graduated from a girl child-friendly to a girl child-hostile society ...The mushroom growth of unregistered clinics and nursing homes within the state bears testimony to the fact that a sizeable number of medicos and para medics are indulging in malpractices. There are many abortion clinics, as these could be best described, running clandestinely which have grown in numbers during last two decades”(Editorial Greater Kashmir, 25 April- 2011).

So, from the ages when a girl child was burned alive to the times when she is not even allowed to see the light of the world—things have changed only for worse. Arrogance and hidebound attitudes are yet tackier elements of human civilization. All the goody-goody talk of human rise, evolution, progress, development blah blah, seem nothing more than a pure twaddle, more of a delusion perhaps.

Time demands that if we deem ourselves ‘human’, let’s then behave as such. Let’s sincerely harbour a belief that whoever brings up a girl child properly and kindly shall surely enter paradise (Sahih Hadith, No.392). Let a girl child be allowed to live: live to discern the changing colours; the sky-blue pink and night-sable black; tints of pleasure; shadows of pain; fury of umpteen tornadoes; reverie of ephemeral stillness; fa├žade of ups; fate of downs; taste of tears; pungency of smiles and much more.

Let her live, face the world, meet the vicissitudes, and slug it out stoically.

1 comment:

swani said...

well described keep updating well written book on widows and half widows but there is no word widow in islam.regards