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, September 21, 2012

Children of Misfortune

Aliya addresses the growing societal concerns about girl orphans

30,000 Orphan Girls Await Marriage

Aliya Bashir (Kashmir Monitor)

Srinagar: In a startling revelation, at least 30,000 orphan girls of Kashmir, who are in mid-30, are not able to get married due to lack of money.

The development has set alarm bells ringing across Kashmir and once again put a question mark on the functioning of orphanages. A R Hanjura, Founder of Islamic Relief and Research Trust (IRRT), said that the Kashmir has 2, 14,000 orphans in which around 30,000 girls are waiting since long to get married but are not able to due to poverty.

“In the last ten years, we have been able to help only 4000-5000 girls to get married. We provided them with financial assistance of Rs 2000-2500 and distributed few marriage items in a bridal kit. But, that is not enough as there are a huge number of orphans who have reached the suitable age of marriages and are not even able to perform their marriages,” he said, adding that these orphan girls are not even able to perform their marriages in a simple way.

According to a report titled ‘Orphaned in Kashmir’ by Save the Children, the estimated population of orphans in Jammu and Kashmir is 2, 14,000 and 37 per cent of them were orphaned due to the armed conflict.

On the basis of total child population of the state in 2009, the estimated number of orphans stands at over two lakhs in which 55 per cent orphans across the state are between the age group of 7-18 years followed by around 38 per cent in the 15-18 years age group. The percentage of orphans below six years of age was found below seven percent.

There is a growing trend in Kashmir from past many years where people are spending in lakhs and crores when it comes to marriages as people are doing everything larger than life. The extravaganza in the festivity from buying expensive jeweller to designer outfits and spending in food to decorations and other rituals has made the whole affair of marriage quite un-affordable for the lower-income groups.

While highlighting the problems of orphan girls, Zahoor Ahmed Tak, Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Yateem Trust said that the situation has become disastrous for orphan girls as they are facing problems in getting employment, no suitable matches and tension-filled society who are not ready to marry orphan girls and give her a new life by expecting a reward from Allah. “There are no exact figures to suggest the accurate number of orphans who have reached the prime age of their marriages but as per the rough estimates we have more than 20, 000 orphan girls who are already in their mid-30’s but are yet to get married,” he said.

Tak further said that the over-age due to the delayed marriages is taking a heavy toll on the physical as well as mental health of girls which at the end results in adjustment problems. “The increasing social evils in marriage institutions demand for dowry, working girls and boys and increase in materialism are some of the major reasons which are pushing the orphan further to alienation. Everyone talks about the problems and different reasons but no one is bothered to help them on ground and accepting them is a far issue,” he added.

Dr. Arshid Hussain, a renowned psychiatrist said that the late marriages especially for orphan girls can have devastating effects on the psychological health that are already separated from the normal functioning of the society. “The negative effects of late marriage on orphans can range from depression to marital disharmony. Beyond a normal phase of marriage age, they might not be able to enjoy the benefits of marriage and there can be hormonal imbalance and procreation is a biggest issue which may get disturbed due to hormonal imbalance,” he said.

2 comments:

Deepak said...

Sir,

i am 33 years old and i am willing to marry a girl from orphonage. Can you please give me the address of orphanage in Kashmir where the girls are living. My email id:
dpakk100@gmail.com

thank you,

Sincerely,
Deepak

Unknown said...

As salamu alaykum
I want to marry a girl from orphanage
My name is irfan shafi n I am from Srinagar
Contact
irfan6002@gmail.com