The Emotions of Alienation

The Emotions of Alienation

SYED ATA HASNAIN I must admit that I am a cricket buff and would miss everything else just to take in the thrills and pleasures of a hard-fought one day match involving the men in blue. In the midst of the anguish that I faced watching my favorite team lose to Pakistan in the recent Asia Cup came the nails in the coffin of defeat, delivered by the events in Meerut. A segment of 67 young students from Kashmir allegedly and admittedly cheered for Pakistan even as the negative emotions from defeat were just about eroding. On a social media discussion I initiated with a wise and mature group of people I made an opening statement. It stated that the action of the students was “akin to the famous Hindi proverb – ‘ Aa Bael Mujhe Maar’, an euphemism for harakiri. Human instinct usually ensures that when no advantage accrues to you from a certain action you desist from it. However, if you still insist on doing it then it is at the risk of your neck”. The subsequent discussion was shorn of any major emotions but one thing was clear the friends from Kashmir who were engaged in the debate displayed a surprising naivety about the reality of the situation surrounding the problem of Kashmir, the way it is viewed by people in rest of India and the emotions connected with it. I tried to explain the issue of Realism through an example. In 2011, the World Cup was approaching and the chances of Dhoni’s men lifting it were reputed to be strong. I was heading the Army in Kashmir and in the middle of an exciting experiment to change the narrative through innovative methods of outreach to the ‘Awaam’. There were daily meetings with different stake holders and suggestions were being received from all quarters. Someone suggested that cricket being a passion, a virtual ‘Diwaangi’, in Kashmir it would only be appropriate that people in way off villages and towns must get the opportunity to view the World Cup matches. In their usual innovative way the Army formations went a couple of steps beyond the normal television sets and utilized their video...

Knowing Kashmiri Women on International Women’s Day

Knowing Kashmiri Women on International Women’s Day

Kashmiri Women, Conflict Situation and the People’s Perspective of Women Empowerment   Adfar Shah Prelude If a more active role is assigned to the vital Observation technique and methodologically designed field studies are given a preference and sufficient time with proper follow-ups, the facts thus far established on Kashmir will automatically turn to half- truths! On the gender issue in Kashmir valley, though a great deal of literature has been produced but hardly any use of varied models and approaches of fact collection have been employed; rather thereseems to have been the incorporation of a unique mode though with several approaches but never juxtaposed against each other for maximum effect! Though there are ample ethnographic studies in existence as well, however there are not ethnographers but the enemies of ethnography-the methodology of direct observation. We need a deconstruction approach towards most of the gender discourses on Kashmir in order to get a fresh and realistic perspective. Introduction The world is still trying to do away with the burden of gender discrimination, gendered violence and exploitation of women besides the abhorrent issues of caste, religion, colour, class. Women are still the most disadvantaged segment of the world population, though efforts to alleviate the many ills that beset them, are on everywhere, in right earnest! However, acknowledging the fact that mainstreaming the gender and accomplishing the transformation process/achieving women’s emancipation is not a one day jo, this is an uphill task requiring immense and unswerving devotion and perseverance. This paper deals with  the question of the politics and politicization of women empowerment as a slogan and discusses the perceived empowerment as a local narrative beyond any feminist tendencies among women at the micro-level, with a special reference to Kashmiri women. The paper conceptually deliberates upon the women’s understanding of empowerment and realization of a viable social identity/identity at home against the grand theories of gender discrimination and feminism. It utilizes the people’s as well as women’s ‘thinking of being’ empowered against the labels of disempowerment and worthlessness, devoid of dignity. Amongst the myriad interpretations of empowerment, the paper discloses the never before exposed dimension of women’s sense of empowerment that is quite contrary to the conventional...

A Visitor At Aligarh Muslim University

A Visitor At Aligarh Muslim University

Lt General Syed Ata Hasnain Travelogues may really not be a part of this e-paper’s scope yet when you make a brief foray into a neighboring town and it excites you with what you observe, you are duty bound to share impressions that you have returned with. Aligarh houses the famous Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) about which there has been more negative than positive publicity; remarks about its falling standards and inability to modernize. When one hears of such things it is not good to accept it at face value. Always better to take a look yourself if it is within the scope of your capability. I am not an Aligarhite, so to say but have many friends who have emerged from the hallowed precincts of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s iconic institution. I have heard and read so much about it and now I have the honor of being appointed the Visitor’s nominee on the University’s Executive Council. The Visitor happens to be the President of India. This is just a short travelogue of a day spent at AMU. I was there for a day; left at 5 AMand returned at 7 PM. In these 14 hours, including travel time I underwent a profound change in my perception about AMU and it gave me an insight into how institutions can become the vehicle of social change, if you want them to be so. It may be interesting to take note of my ignorance and my observations and provide a critique about what I write. What was the occasion? Nothing so earth shaking; I was invited to speak to a gathering on a supposedly mundane subject, ‘Internal Security Challenges of India and Human Rights Concerns’, a subject not usually touched by educational institutions in India. The reason, simply because this is an issue taken for granted by most without realizing that even more than external security it is your internal environ which gives you the capability to aspire and achieve what you have set out as your goals. The drive to Aligarh via the Expressway and then the 47 Km segment from Tappal needs to be experienced to get a measure of the difference between evolving, modernizing...

Neither Azad nor Kashmir

Neither Azad nor Kashmir

Sahil Mushtaq POK covers an area of 5134 sq miles (13,927 Sq Km) with a population of 4.5 million. The region of POK is officially known in Pakistanistan as the Azad Govt of Jammu & Kashmir (AJ&K).  The state is divided into three divisions viz Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Poonch and ten administrative Districts with Muzaffarabad as the capital of the state. The Muzaffarabad division comprises of Muzaffarabad and Neelam, Rawalakot division comprises of Bagh, Poonch and Sudhniti districts and Mirpur division comprises of Mirpur, Kotli and Bhimber.  These ten districts are further divided into 32 sub divisions. The people’s participation in the political and socio – economic development is ensured through elected institutions of AJ&K Legislative Assembly comprising 41 directly with 8 indirectly elected members and the AJ&K Council with 6 elected members.  Presently, Sardar Mohd Yaqoob Khan is the President and Chaudhary Abdul Majeed is the Prime Minister of AJ&K.  Urdu is the official language while Pahari, Mirpuri, Gujjari and Punjabi are also widely spoken. Farce of Autonomy & Anger against Pakistanistan in POK Theoretically, Azad Jammu & Kashmir is a self governing state under Pakistan’s control however according to the general public opinion and sentiment in POK reflects that “although ‘azad’ means ‘free’, the residents of Azad Kashmir are anything but free.  The Pakistan authorities govern Azad Kashmir with strict control on basic freedom and liberties”. It has been acknowledged by the global community as well Supreme Court of Pakistan has admonished Islamabad’s oppressive, undemocratic and colonial subjugation of the POK.  The residents of ‘Azad Kashmir’ are mostly Sunni Muslim and predominantly Punjabis, with barely 20 percent Kashmiris.  Expropriation of land and residence rights of natives in POK stands in sharp contrast to strictly adhered provisions in the Indian Constitution, disallowing non-Kashmiris to acquire property in J & K. Far from a ‘special status’ that Article 370 grants to J & K, people residing in POK lack any constitutional status whatsoever. Development wise, POK remains one of the poorest and most neglected part of Pakistan, with a minuscule per capita income of Rs 1,802 compared to J & K’s average of Rs 2,700. There is an acute shortage of electricity, water and basic amenities...

Kashmir 2014: Talk by Gen Ata Hasnain at IDSA

Kashmir 2014: Talk by Gen Ata Hasnain at IDSA

  “Kashmir 2014: A Review and Prognosis” The Internal Security Centre at IDSA conducted a talk by Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain on 06 January 2014 on the topic “Kashmir 2014: A Review and a Prognosis”. Gen Hasnain provided a strategic review of the Kashmir situation through the 1990s and 2000-2013 followed by a prognosis for the period 2014-18. This involved analyzing key concerns like the effect of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) withdrawal on Kashmir, issues pertaining to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in J&K and the need to take Operation Sadbhavna to the next level. Followings are the key points brought out by the speaker in his talk: Highlighting the strategic importance of Kashmir, Gen Hasnain argued that it is important to keep in mind the October 1947 ‘Instrument of Accession’ and the 1994 joint resolution of the two houses of the Parliament, asserting the idea that the whole of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) is an integral part of India. Having said that, he laid emphasis on changing the narrative for Kashmir against established narratives and then went on to analyze Kashmir’s current status and where is the situation heading. After years of antipathy and anguish, many people claim victory in Kashmir today. But the question is, can a victory be declared when there isn’t even an articulated political and military aim? Gen Hasnain felt that while a military aim existed in vague terms, a political aim in Kashmir has been eluding for long possibly because of the unclear external and internal dynamics.  Militarily, infiltration has been taken care of and every year the numbers of successful infiltrators in the valley are dwindling – all thanks to the Line of Control (LoC) fence which was constructed in 2003 -4 that changed the mathematics of terror; more terrorists being eliminated than the numbers that could successfully infiltrate. Politically, however, he stated that there is a long way to go and the Army would have to continue to be the lead agency in supporting and rebuilding efforts; this is because of the outreach that it has and the organizing will and zeal to bring normalcy in Kashmir. No other...

‘Nice guys finish second’

‘Nice guys finish second’

So what should the governor of Kashmir be like? HAPPYMON JACOB I am using the title of BK Nehru’s famous book ‘Nice guys finish second’ as the title of my column today because what follows would have certain indirect links with Mr. Nehru’s tenure as the governor of J&K from 1982 till he was shifted out by Indira Gandhi for refusing to remove Farooq Abdullah from power in J&K.  The Times of India carried a news item the other day that there is a strong speculation that the incumbent National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon will replace Mr. N. N Vohra as the Governor of J&K, that too in the near future. I am not sure how much to trust this story but if indeed there is such a move underway, I don’t consider that to be a good choice for a variety of reasons. If Menon’s stint as the Foreign Secretary and National Security Advisor is any indication of what kind of a Governor he will make, then one would have to say that he is unlikely to be any more than a guardian of the status-quo, something the people of Kashmir patently detest. Mr. Menon is a sophisticated diplomat who can articulate and justify New Delhi’s positions on various issues with élan and aplomb. But that’s it – he is no visionary who can put together a roadmap for conflict resolution in J&K considering the fact that governors in this conflict-ridden state have been given more powers than governors elsewhere. So what should the governor of Kashmir be like? Clearly, Kashmir and Kashmiris deserve someone better than Mr. Jagmohan whose tenure can easily be termed as one of the most disastrous in the modern history of Kashmir. First of all, the governor of J&K, where a number of internal and external security considerations converge, should be someone who can get out of the comfort of the Raj Bhavan and connect with the people of the state. He/she should be a statesman, sensitive individual, and who does not see governorship as merely a post-retirement perk. Again, when it comes to J&K, there is no point in suggesting individuals who may be very good...

On the language policy of the Civil Services Examination 2013 – Aaditya Gore

On the language policy of the Civil Services Examination 2013 – Aaditya Gore

The Union Public Service Commission announced its Civil Services Examination notification dated 5th March 2013. The new policy vide the notification made it compulsory for a candidate to have graduated in the medium of the language other than English or Hindi in order to avail of the option of taking the Civil Services Main examination in that particular language. It also made it compulsory for there to be a minimum of 25 candidates opting for taking the examination in that language to be able to exercise the choice, failing which the candidate would have to take the examination in English or Hindi. The notification also made the hitherto qualifying English language paper a scoring one among the other papers which led to protests from all over and this move was criticized as as being insensitive towards the weaker sections. After a furore in the Parliament, the language policy regarding the Civil Services Examination is put in abeyance[1], according to Hon’ble Minister of State for Personnel and Training, Mr. V. Narayansamy. The recommendations of the High Level Committee headed by Prof. Arun S. Nigavekar, former Chairman, UGC with a view to making the Civil Services main examination ‘more relevant to the present day,’ according to the Hon’ble Minister[2], were approved by the government[3]. Although some of the reforms in the new pattern include greater emphasis on General Studies, that has hardly been a contentious issue in this case. The real bone of contention lies in the conditions laid down for a person to be able to take the Civil Service Main examination in a language other than English or Hindi. Some of these conditions, according to the 2013 EXAMINATION NOTICE NO. 04/2013-CSP DATED 5.03.2013[4] are cited from the notification : “(iii) Candidates will have the option to answer all the question papers, except Section 2 of the Paper-I (English comprehension and English précis) in English or Hindi. If the candidate has had his/ her graduation in any of the following language mediums using the particular language medium for qualifying the graduate level examination, then he/she may opt for that particular language medium to answer all the question papers, except Section 2 of the Paper-I (English comprehension and...

What if Rumi would have been a politician and a Law-maker? – Siddharth Acharya

What if Rumi would have been a politician and a Law-maker? – Siddharth Acharya

The article has been written as a tribute to sufi saint  Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī and analyzing  the idea of presence of someone like Rumi in heated sphere of conflict between two warring nations India and Pakistan. “Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others’ faults. Be like running water for generosity. Be like death for rage and anger. Be like the Earth for modesty. Appear as you are. Be as you appear.” – Rumi Rath-yatra by Lal-Krishna Advani in 1990, Exodus of Kashmiri Hindu pundits, demolition of Babri Masjid, Godhra riots, Malegaon Bomb blasts, controversial 26/11 attacks and surreptious killing of Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte on the night of 26/11 somewhere has involvement of element of religion into politics, Assam riots and the latest one being AkbaruddinOwaisi’sferocious and hard hitting speeches in Nizamabads brought series of religious outrages back in our country. Evidently, elections are not far and every political party be it Congress or BJP and new stalwarts like Maharashtra NavnirmanSena and Majilis-i-Itihaad will not loose even a single opportunity to champion the cause of there regions and religions. Few of them will gain power out of this and others like always keep mum about everything in order to save there traditional vote banks. Communal politics laid its foundation long back during British regimeand still persists in Great Indian Political Theatre. The eminent jurist and reknowned lawyer in sub-continent like Mohammed Ali Jinnah and great laureate Mohammed Iqbal in search of own political identity diverged from Hindu-Muslim unity and still after sixty five years of Independence religion still remains an inevitable ingredient of political campaigns. Rumi had always spoken about the introspection of soul and by seeing all this he would have been shedding tears and regretting of even giving it a thought. Rumi said “People of the world don’t look at themselves, and so they blame one another.” Need of a Philanthropist Watchdog: In the subcontinent, the Sufis made untiring, selfless and incessant struggle for the spread of Islam. They devoted their lives and gave up their homes to champion the cause of Islam in a miraculous way. Neither did they resort to...

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