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.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Down the Memory Lane

Fida saw flashes of harmony and Brotherhood. What he missed is anguish. Other than rhetoric and handouts, the majority community still does not comprehend the deep chasm that keeps Pandits away

(Mr. Fida Iqbal, 47, was born in Sopore. He attended the D.A.V. School in Nayadyaar, Rainawari, and the Government Higher Secondary School in Sopore. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Agriculture/Floriculture and Landscaping from Chowdhry Chottu Ram College at Muzaffarabad Nagar in Uttar Pradesh. Mr. Iqbal works with the Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Department as a landscape architect. He enjoys kitchen gardening, reading writing, and is very a passionate and dedicated golf player.)

The Songs of Love

Last week Jammu and Kashmir Government organized three days ‘Kashmir festival’ at India international centre (IIC) New Delhi. Amid usual inaugural pampering and customary valedictories the festival ended on 4th of December. Many cultural programs were part of the festival; art, cuisine, and other forms of Kashmiri culture, traditions and heritage were very well showcased. But, the essence of the whole three day show was an elaborate musical and theatrical performance by ‘Mouj Kasheer’ a music and theatre group of children of displaced Kashmiris. These young boys and girls in the age group of ten and twenty mesmerized the entire audience at multipurpose hall of India International Centre. Never ever residing permanently in Kashmir, still they presented the true culture and tradition of Kashmir in their one hour long musical presentation; with an emphasis on age old tradition of amity and brotherhood in Kashmir. Their entire performance proved nostalgic for reasonably large Kashmiri audience at India International Centre.

This particular festival with active support of India International Centre was primarily a tourism promotion event; however it facilitated exploring the hidden ‘Kashmiriyat’ within the large population of displaced Kashmiris temporarily living outside the valley of Kashmir. On that positive evening at India International Centre, Mouj Kasheer was the true representative of entire community of displaced Kashmiris, representing the emotions and intense desire of homecoming. Within the smaller but technically exceptional multipurpose hall of India International Centre, even least influence-able souls, like me got swayed by the excellent performance of these budding Kashmiris. This was more a stirring concert than a usual performance. This outstanding musical performance, depicting real Kashmir was devoid of any visible or veiled bias and was a befitting reply to few fringe groups (particularly outside valley) wandering in the deserts of hatred to seek refuge and cheap publicity after attaining nothing in their life. It was, as well a call to fellow Kashmiris, both outside and within Kashmir to unite for honorable homecoming of dislocated Kashmiris. The name of this unique group in itself is not only attracting but touching as well.

The name ‘Mouj Kasheer’ meaning Kashmiri motherland makes you nostalgic in the first instance and rest, the real Kashmiriyat was brought to limelight by the artists of this group by their rousing performance.

Generally in Kashmir we suffer with a belief, that these displaced people have detached themselves from their roots and are living a happy and prosperous life full of happiness and joy, cherishing every bit of present materialistic world, but in fact these ill-fated (ill-fated in the sense, their destiny got them displaced) Kashmiris are not only well connected to their Kashmiri roots but are having a yearning desire to return to their ethnic and cultural descent. Every act and lyric; costume and settings of Mouj Kasheer theatrical group was full of emotions and longing for ultimate Kashmir. It required a heart, a bigger heart to be precise, to listen to their message of unity and love and decode it for future united and amiable greater Kashmir. Keeping track of culture, language and traditions at this young age, that too in a fast moving materialist world describes their unflinching love for their homeland and particularly that of their language. In Kashmir at occasions parents express complete disapproval of their children speaking in Kashmiri language and most often encourage them to communicate in English or Urdu language (that too distorted ones).

However, these tender souls have put a huge question mark before the present generation of Kashmiri people, that too the neo-riches; a question mark of existence as a nation with unique culture, heritage, traditions and above all the distinctive language.

After listening to honest and earnest calls of Mouj Kasheer at India International Centre, I sincerely believe that if politicians will not play a ‘spoilsport’ the displaced Kashmiris will soon join their brethren in Kashmir and then Mouj Kasheer’s young souls will recite great Kashmiri poet Mehajoor’s harmonious Kashmiri poetry—dudh chu muslim hund chu shaker saf saf, dudh te bea shaker ralaew pane waeween.

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