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.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Letter to "Maej Kasheer"

Amreen asks a poignant question, "Do we still belong to the valley of saints?"

(Ms. Amreen Naqash, 23, was born in Srinagar. She completed her schooling from the Mallinson Girls Higher Secondary School, Srinagar. She subsequently joined the University of Kashmir, where she is currently the 4th year student doing B. Pharma. Ms. Naqash mostly writes on social issues and is also a budding poet. In leisure time she enagages in writing, poetry, painting and reading.)

Letter to my Mother

Dear Mother,

Salaam, I hope the days would be bright and the seasons quite serene at your place. You know mother, Today I took my pen to write the hardest of truth happening at your home. Now the sun doesn’t rise as it used to, the morning chirp of the melodious birds now go unheard, the day remains more enveloped in the dark clouds than in bright sunshine, the sun now shies away and people call it sunset, night isn’t known for dreams anymore but the insomnia is something that is more. The plight of this restless heart I want to convey you as no one can understand me so nicely as you.

Mother! The time since I have opened my eyes in this world full of charm and beauty I have grown up watching how in your garden, blossoms turn to flowers but from few years why so many turn to weeds whom we want to pluck off, rather than keeping along. You know now eyes have become dry and the hearts have turned to half a pound weighing stone. It’s hard enough to even carry it along. Mother you know well, the garden looks beautiful when the trees are well enveloped in the beautiful color green, flowers seem beautiful when petals are spreading eye pleasing colors, and the green carpet spread for miles but now this is no more accepted. Now your garden loves to stay naked as if autumn has taken off its pride. Mother now the preference has turned around, withered tree and barren land is all that is looked upon. These aren’t the orphan words but the tale how the pride of your garden is being laden with dust and a termite of doubt has made place to heart asking “Do you still belong to the valley of the saints?”

Mama, I have many questions and they all have the same origin, Modernization and Westernization. Dear, I don’t understand these two newly developed civilizations. You taught me that modernization should be in thoughts, in views, in the way of communication but our society is changing, I am disturbed, I can’t understand, I am frustrated. Mother, people who are simple, who wear Salwar Kameez is not modern any more. They are treated quite differently by the society. You know when I visit a shop with big names I am not being attended as other modern people are, although I have money in my pocket. You have not taught me real modernization. Mama if my brother would not have gifted me the new cell I would have not been treated well at the shop. Thanks to my aunt who called at the right time. The salesman got an eye on the phone and he placed the racks down. I can’t understand this kind of attitude, this is irking me.

Ralph Waldo Emerson defines the situation as “Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great” whereas Leonardo DA Vinci says “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Mother I don’t understand what are we waiting for? Our culture has changed all together. Today marriage is not celebrated as the union of two souls but for the advertisement of wealth. The more the sounds of crackers are heard, the more warm pockets the owner has. Even though sometime the case is all together different, the owner is drowned in the loan but no, he has to show the world how rich is he or should I say society is provoking him to do so. Yes! It’s the society which is responsible. Mama, it’s me, it’s you and it’s us who are responsible for such things.

Mama, why we remain quiet to what we see around? Why have we blindfolded our eyes? As we walk through university gardens? As we go to different public places? Mother! I am not able to understand anything. Mama can’t we change it? I can’t see the land of the saint’s turning to land of devils? Mama, please guide your children. Please ask your people to think over it. Please.

Mother! My hand is tired and heart burdened with pain and regret. I am dropping my pen over here and hoping for you to hold me in your lap again. I want to sleep and dream of the old beautiful garden where the innocence of the child was the lonesome treasure, where the shyness of the girl was her only jewel, where the truth of the heart was the word of the tongue, where the song of mother was the most mesmerizing sound to the ear and the food cooked by her was the real delicacy. Mama, take me back to that paradise and wake me when our garden would have turned same. Love you Mama

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