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, September 4, 2011

Anarchy Redefined

Naveed finds peculiar bipolar attributes in Kashmiris having one sense of discipline inside their homes and a different one outside

(Mr. Naveed Tramboo, 24, was born in Rajbagh, Srinagar. He matriculated from the Burn hall School, Srinagar, and completed his Higher Secondary (12th grade)education from the Tyndale Biscoe School, Srinagar. He completed a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Kashmir. Mr. Tramboo is currently working as a Public Relations and Placement Officer for the SSM College of Engineering & Technology group with multiple institutes in India, including a campus in Pattan. Previously, he was involved with the Mercy Corps, and has worked for the Prasar Bharti. He has received numerous awards as an outstanding student and in All-India debates, and played an exemplary role as student representative and editor in his school and college days. He is also active in social service, having volunteered for the Red Cross, and also raised public awareness about citizen responsibilities.)

Chaos, Chaos and Chaos

"Oh for shame, how the mortals put the blame on us Gods, for they say evils come from us, but it is they, rather, who by their own recklessness, win sorrow beyond what is given..." Homer, Odysseus. Homes, offices, roads, shops, markets! They may represent entirely different things. However, they all have one thing in common. Chaos! We are the children of chaos, wherever we go, chaos follows us. Observe people around you and you will realise that most of us have a fixed frown on our faces; symbolising irritation frustration and exasperation.

Let me be upfront about this write up. It is not one of those “advice- giving” or “we-should-do-this-and-that” write-ups. It is merely a reflection about the frowns on our faces and about some other things.

One of the best examples of chaos presently is the Hyderpora Chowk and the New Airport Road. Everyone plying on that road curses his or her luck and wish they could be at any other place in the world. That place is an epitome of absolute confusion and mess. The traffic police finds itself incapable of dealing with such a huge flow of traffic. The passengers are flustered at the state of work – always wondering why all the work cannot be done in night shifts or at least in an organised manner. The tourists visiting Kashmir get to know the demand for the paradise and the rush to enter it. Tourists leaving Kashmir experience the hospitality of Kashmiris, who make effort to hold them back and incidentally many of them miss their flights. I am not sure if they like this type of hospitality. One fails to understand why all the “development” here has to happen in such a slipshod manner bringing inconvenience and trouble to everyone. But then again we are the children of chaos. All this is bound to happen. A narrow road on which traffic flows both ways. And there you see cars trying to overtake. Bikes and autos miraculously fitting in the smallest gaps available. Common sense would suggest maintaining one line. That common sense is not present there. How inviting does the small gap, which gives you the opportunity to overtake, look. No matter the honking and whistles, every gap must be filled, every road must have multi-lanes. Everyone has some kind of passion. In this part of the world, one of our passions is to dig. Literally! One day the road gets fixed and metalled. The other day that same road is dug up again. We just cannot stop digging. It is almost as if we are on some treasure hunt and want to be sure that we haven't missed anything. The pavements and the footpaths bear the same fate. Forget the dilapidated ones, even the newly constructed ones are broken down, dug up and reconstructed. Try not to figure out why all this happens. It is more complicated than Daedalus' labyrinth.

Our work places, in particular the public offices and departments, are another places to meet chaos. Everyone loves discipline and order in one's home. However, the office is a different case. Too much order can have bad effects and hence, every effort is made to create disarray in the work place. Firstly, it is a lot of hard work to find the right person at the right time. He may be having a tea break or may be busy meditating. Then comes the task of looking for your records or processing them. One look at the dusty humongous mess of files and then thinking about the prospects of your search is enough to give you a heart attack. Of course, your file may not even be there. It may ultimately be in a different department. Alternatively, if you are very unlucky, then it will be in the intestines of insects. A pandemonium prevails everywhere. They say happiness is a psychological thing. I say no matter how psychologically fit you may be there cannot be any happiness after one futile hour in such a department.

The educational places have no different face. Students are full of energy. They require a very strong system, which can channelize their energies in the right direction. That system is seldom present anywhere. The teachers may be confused about the process to follow or disinterested by the response of the students. Students themselves are all over the place. Theoretical knowledge is like a glass of cold drink, which anyone can drink in one gulp. However, the application part is non-existent. Let alone the complex applications of knowledge, our education system does not even ensure the delivery of the practical knowledge. Most of the students like this mess. Who cares about it if one can secure good marks by just mugging up things. Why waste the energy of the mind on such thoughts. We may complain about it, write a bunch of articles in newspapers, but who moves beyond that?

There is so much mayhem everywhere around us. It is a surprise that we even exist as a society – a chaotic society that is. All it takes to establish order is the effort of a person at individual level. As Thomas Carlyle puts it, "Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world.” Our homes are such a good example of order. We do not like the pillows being moved to the wrong places, or the doors being left open, or garbage lying around. We make sure our lawns are mowed properly and free from weed. We like our houses to be clean and look like new ones. Too much order in fact. However, something happens as soon as we step outside our homes. Maybe a mass split personality! Or a complete sense of antipathy. We do not care about the garbage, as long as it is lying outside our walls. We do not care if we wash our cars on the roads, as long as it is the roads beyond our gates. And who really is concerned about the public property – we are not in the public.

Everyone here is a VIP. I wonder what must be the thoughts of a new born when he observes all this chaos. Does he imagine it as a reflection of hell or does he simply wishes to be unborn again. They say we require 50 muscles to frown. I guess here the only thing required to make a frown is to step outside our homes. All of us want a peaceful life. But no one wants to sacrifice personnel interests. We all want a change. However, no one wants to be the change. With such an outlook towards life, it is but obvious to have the present state of chaos.

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