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, November 20, 2011

State Women's Commission (SWC) Rescues Failing Marriages

Ms. Shameema Firdous says demand for dowry is a major family issue in the valley

Conflict Taking Toll on Valley Women

Abid Bashir (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: The turmoil has taken a serious toll on womenfolk in Kashmir with post-marital feuds resulting in divorces and break-ups showing a tremendous surge.

Reason: misunderstandings, less tolerance and money matters between the couples.

According to figures available with State Women’s Commission (SWC), the domestic and post martial feuds in Kashmir are witnessing an alarming surge.

“Of the 1820 cases registered with the commission since last few years, 1333 were from Kashmir and just 487 from Jammu region,” SWC chairperson, Shameema Firdous told Rising Kashmir.

She said the figures are really alarming. “Huge influx of cases has put the commission on toes.”

“Although the offices have shifted to Jammu as part of half-yearly durbar move, the commission hears at least 20 cases a day in its Srinagar office,” she said

Shameema said the nature of cases is shocking —misunderstanding over small things proves fatal. “It leads to divorce. We try our best to persuade the couple to reconcile,” she said.

“No divorce is done in the commission. We put in our efforts to keep the relationship intact. In the current year alone, some 300 cases were registered with the commission. Some cases even go to courts. This happens when two sides fail to reconcile after lot of efforts from our side,” she said.

Expressing her anguish over the deteriorating social fabric of the women folk, the SWC chairperson said the rate of divorce and post-marital disputes is high in lower income groups. “Though we have some cases of high profile people including some NRIs as well, but the rate is high within low income groups,” she said.

She termed the money matters especially dowry demands as major cause of post-marital disputes. “The demand for money or dowry causes tension between the families. Husbands are involved in physical and mental torture of their wives and this continuous harassment leads to suicides,” she said.
Shameema, however, said coercion by in-laws has shown a decreasing trend. “There used to be cases where pressure especially torture by in-laws would become major reason for feud. But this thing has shown a decreasing trend. We have registered very few cases where in-laws were the cause of tension,” she said.

She said the situation in Kashmir during past two decades has made male and female folk less tolerant.

SWC chairperson said each case is heard at least four times. “We try to settle the cases as soon as possible. The commission has managed to settle over 600 cases. It means that we have managed to persuade two sides to start afresh leaving behind all bitterness,” she said.

“Since SWC is not that old, many women are still unaware about it. There needs to be a massive awareness campaign so that women could know their rights could be protected by somebody,” she added.

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