What happens in Kashmir does not stay in Kashmir

This is guest post by Miss Manpreet Kaur Dhupia

A recollection of pictures, words, lyrics and poetry lingered throughout that one hour ten minutes flight; vivid and vivacious. These were not born out of my own physical touch or senses but were deep ingrained in thoughts by dictates of people around me. I knew there is a Shalimar Bagh, I knew there is a Dal Lake, I knew there is a Shikara, I knew there is an ethereal feeling; I had sensed it time and again, whenever anybody spoke about the land of valleys and snow. What I did not know was that the recollections would not give justice to what I was about to experience in the next two days.

Kashmir, my destination of dreams and long sustained wait.

A message from an office collegue sums up the entire gamut of expectations that build up when one steps on this land and of feelings that hold you for the rest of your life- “Welcome to Heaven”. A little laugh followed that reading and a big smile follows every memory of the place now.

“Are these houses? Do people really live here?” came the question when the drive from Srinagar airport to hotel showcased a series of wooden structures that exuded elegance and craftsmanship “Yes, we Kashmiris spend our lives on two things- food and building a house.” The statement was very generic but the pride which reflected was singular. The geography of the land insists wooded structures but for people who have grown up in the “flat and society building culture” it meant a feeling inexperienced. The structure of roads, of shops, of lanes , of people , of clothes –everything made me feel distant from the world that I left behind for sometime but so very close to the calmness and peace that the same world I left behind never gave me.

“Please do not venture out alone, it wont be safe. Call somebody to take you to wherever you have to go”. Words of wisdom that were shooted when I told people about my upcoming trip to Kashmir. Were the words wise? Yes , considering the disturbances that have engulfed the area. Were the words true? Not at all. Rickshaw rides on the unknown lanes were of a so called “disturbed area” were my little tribute to Zindagi Na Milegi Dubara spirit in my life!

Dont understand what was Shammi Kapoor praising more when he sung the most romantic Hindi movie song ever- ” Tarif karun kya uski jisne tumhe banaya”- beautiful Sharmila Tagore or the locale behind her; the locale of Dal Lake. If any character of Harry Potter wants to put his/her friend or foe on a stationery mode then why waste a charm or spell, that person should be brought here- the beauty and aura that surrounds the lake would just “stone” him/her. The movements that become out of water when Shikara passes through it are lyrical! One cannot just miss the serenity that suddenly surrounds you. The shopping in water was interesting, the tea break during the ride was refreshing and the sight of mountain range in the background was breathtaking. Did I feel the chaos of Delhi? No, did I feel the stampede of Delhi? No, did I feel the brashness of Delhi? No. Not a single moment spent in that calm reminded me of anything that I brace myself up to every minute of my life everyday.

Sopore, a small quiet town on the outskirts of Srinagar and on way to Baramullah. The orchids of apple and plums that are indigenous to the town made me feel the true sense of the word “flora”. They are your connection to a world unknown to city life- a world of natural food and trees. I will always fall short of words to describe the wonderful hospitality that embraced me that day. The love showered by the family was unconditional. My heartfelt thanks and respect to that family and all the other Kashmiri families who I know treat their guests in the same manner. One thing, did I see the efforts and preparations that went into making a guest comfortable and laying out the table for people? Yes, and trust me for the first time in my life I agreed and accepted that there are people who could beat Punjabis in hospitality!

The last day in the heavenly land saw me tagging behind my friend to have the fastest and largest tour of any city ever. Five hours down and I could beat any localite in describing the insides of University and four Mughal gardens. History lessons of school reappeared everytime a Mughal garden was explored. Shamilar, Nishat, Chama Shahi and Pari Mahal enthralled me to the core. God bless Mughals for giving these to us.

What was the most stand out thing I saw in Srinagar? Houses or Valleys/Mountains or People. Yes they were definitely charming and beautiful but what was most striking was the sense of reality that hit whenever I stepped out. No doubt a trip to Kashmir takes a person away from the madness of city life but one cannot ignore that Srinagar or any other city in Kashmir is just like any city in the country. I walked around the place alone and independently- nobody kidnapped me. It took my friend 1 hour to cover a distance of 30 mns- there was traffic jam in Srinagar (mild one though). I stepped over people and got stepped over too by them while walking on the lane beside DalLake- there were people all around the area-South Indians, Punjabis, Gujratis. I roamed around in Lal Chowk- no bomb exploded there. It was as real as leading a normal life in any town or city or megacity. The simplicity and beauty of Kashmiris and Kashmir distinguishes it from the crowd but Kashmiris and Kashmir are as true and real as are Delhites and Delhi or Mumbaikars and Mumbai. The stories of Kashmir made me wish for a trip to the place but the lores heard always described it as a land far out of reach and too ethereal to exist. It is true in terms of the blessings of nature that you see around but is untrue in terms of the experiences of everyday life and people that you get there.

A recollection of pictures, words, lyrics and poetry lingered throughout that one hour ten minutes flight; vivid and vivacious. This time the flight was taking me back to the crowded life but the recollections were born out of my own physical touch and senses, routed deep inside my heart and mind for ever. Proving a proverb incorrect, “What happens in Kashmir, doesn’t stay in Kashmir”.

The author is a Dehli based HR Professional and can be reached at @rimman

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Islamophobia and Resurgence of Islam

In early 90’s the world was abuzz with jihad and with US being the chief sponsor of the movement, who could have been able to put brakes on it.


Afghanistan was liberated from the Godless USSR and with USSR being shattered into pieces the objective was achieved, after this Jihad was left to sponsor itself. With the new found freedom to operate, it targeted almost everyone, including self and it’s hitherto sponsor as well. With the ever increasing spectrum of targets and attacks the definition of Jihad started to overlap with that of terrorism. Through most of the nineties the Jihadist seemed to be overwhelmed with the idea of killing the Kafir no matter where one could be found. The term Kafir which in Arabic means a lot of things suddenly seemed to mean only one thing, the infidel.
After this early phase was overwhelmed by Jihad, west started to question the teachings of Islam itself. People started to quote Quran out of context to prove that Islam promoted violence and Killings of non-Muslims. This was the beginning of Islamophobia and it reached to its pinnacle with the 9/11. People with turbans and beards were being attacked and discriminated against (even now they are). New York Police Department (NYPD) started to monitor (Spy on) the Muslim community, this only alienated the Muslim community more rather than yielding any fruitful results.


No doubt Islamophobia has lot of negative effects on the overall intercommunity interaction and understanding the Islam itself but there is a silver lining to it.


The Muslims have taken it upon themselves to represent their faith in a better way and assert themselves in a very positive way in the society. People who seemed to have nothing to do with the faith suddenly started the journey of self-discovery, tried to know and understand their faith better. These people now have transformed into better ambassadors of their faith.


With news channels, in their quest to present Islam in bad light, refer Muslim terrorists as Islamic terrorists and attacks carried by them as Islamic Terrorism but when it comes to reporting the terror attacks by people of other religions they simply are referred as “insane people”. This over exposure of the word Islam in the media has and continues to make people curious to more about Islam. After 9/11 attacks the conversion rate of non-Muslims has raised many folds and currently Islam is the fastest growing religion in US at the rate of 6.7%!


The young Muslims who were fascinated by the Hollywood and hip-hop culture are now supporting long beards, with skull caps, wearing khan-dress. While girls have suddenly taken a liking to nikabs and abayaas. These physical and appearance changes have made the presence of Muslims more prominent. To curb this prominence, different governments are coming forth with laws which ban or discourage wearing of Abayaa or nikaabs or growing beards or wearing skull caps in public places, while some have restricted the restrictions to educational institutes only. What these governments fail to understand is that by trying to restrict the spread and rise of Islam they are only promoting it.


It seems appropriate to say that Islamophobia has helped in shaking the sleeping giant but to wake up the giant from its slumber is up to Muslims and Muslims only.

Also Appeared in The Kashmir Monitor

Kashmir banega Pakistan

The recent Ganderbal incident where a young man was killed, some termed it to be a sectarian violence while some termed it as hooliganism of NC sarpanch. But after just one week people have stopped talking about it, newspapers haven’t bothered to conclude there discussion of whether it was sectarianism or hooliganism and leaders are busy attending Iftar parties. In all this mess some people are shouting for introspection and none are bothered to listen to them after all we have to buy confectionaries for the Eid!


This incident should have acted as an eye opener to all but instead we chose to cover it up with the cloth of hooliganism and thus avoid the acceptance of the fact that we as a society are heeding towards crisis. Before the NC sarpanch angle was not discovered the people seemed to be worried and seemed to be interested in introspection.

 
Almost two months ago a friend of mine had rented a room in a locality of Srinagar. Two days after moving into his new room he called me, sounding frustrated. I asked him what was the reason of his frustration, he said moving into that locality was his biggest mistake.
My friend had taken a rented room as he wanted peace of mind while prepare for his upcoming KAS prelims exams. The locality that he moved into has two adjacent Mosques (with a common wall between them), belonging to two schools of thought and every evening battles were fought. Making it impossible for people in that locality to listen to their own thoughts when they are being bombarded by someone else’s thoughts through loudspeaker!

 
The two mosques don’t compete with each other only in the ideology but in other aspects of mosque administration as well. If one of the mosques buys new fans, the management of the other mosque brings Air-conditioners for the mosque. This prompts the management of the other mosque to buy costlier AC’s! Islam teaches submission to will of God and simplicity but instead we are submitting to our individual and collective egos, Islam teaches equality and asks us to stand together but we are dividing ourselves. Islam teaches us that whenever there is difference of opinion we should sit together and find a way out but we like confrontations!

 
My friend went on to raise some serious questions about these two mosques, as I am not a religious scholar, I was not able to answer his questions. I am reproducing his questions hoping that some one who is better qualified than me could be able to answer.

 
1. Is it allowed in Islam to have two mosques adjacent to each other, with only a single wall separating them, to be erected? (doesn’t it promote division among the Ummah)
2. What will be the impression of Islam on non-Muslims living in the area? ( if some one will invite them to Islam isn’t it a chance that they will ask the person which Islam he/she is inviting them to, with reference of two mosques available. The same thing is believed to have deterred Dr.Amedkar from converting to Islam)
3. For how long will they fight over loudspeakers only, before they come on streets?
4. Where from does all the money come? (In matter of days new mosques are coming up, normally it takes years to collect funds for a mosque)


There are certain elements in our society who seem to be fanning the fire of our hatred for each. They shout from the loudspeakers of mosques, they torch our shrines and darghas and we are listening to them.

 
Almost a year ago I wrote about possibility of the sectarian violence flaring up in Kashmir (Kashmir: A Fire Ball In Making) some people had agreed with my view point and some didn’t. Today I am sure that more people will agree to it and there are those who still won’t; they believe that Kashmiris can’t be divided after they have endured together hardships for decades.


We are supposed to learn from history but alas we seem to be so busy in our daily lives that we hardly read history after leaving school. One of the reasons for downfall of Muslims is that we stopped introspection and research, we no more are driven by knowledge.

 
King Faisal tried to use oil as weapon against the US and west. With Pakistan in toe, went on to create OIC with an aim to counter balance the west controlled UN. Pakistani pilots even volunteered in the Arab-Israel war and caused heavy damage to the Israelis. After the Arabs were humiliated in the Arab-Israel war, David Ben Gurio, 1st Prime Minister of Israel in Jewish Chronicle of 9 August 1967 said that “The world Zionist movement should not be neglectful of the dangers of Pakistan to it. And Pakistan now should be its first target, for this ideological State is a threat to our existence. And Pakistan, the whole of it, hates the Jews and loves the Arabs. “This lover of the Arabs is more dangerous to us than the Arabs themselves. For that matter, it is most essential for the world Zionism that it should now take immediate steps against Pakistan. “Whereas the inhabitants of the Indian peninsula are Hindus whose hearts have been full of hatred towards Muslims, therefore, India is the most important base for us to work there from against Pakistan.”It is essential that we exploit this base and strike and crush Pakistanis, enemies of Jews and Zionism, by all disguised and secret plans.” Soon after a chain of events started in Pakistan, that led to the flaring of sectarian violence. Since then Pakistan has not been able to overcome its internal disturbance to exert itself as a big player in the international arena.

 
It has been almost two decades since the onset of the armed uprising in Kashmir, though the government has been successful in restraining the armed struggle but while doing so it has alienated the people of the region even more. From time to government has been alleged to have used many unethical ways to restrain and to present the movement as driven by religious extremists, may it be through the alleged pre planned Pundit exodus or through the kidnapping and murder of five western tourists in 1995 (as alleged in the book Meadows). Now at this moment what better way to reduce the intensity of the secessionist feelings, present Kashmiris as religious fanatics and divert the attention of world from the human rights violation, then to divide the people and what can divide people better than religion!


The popular slogan of the protesting people of Kashmir in 90’s, Kashmir banega Pakistan (Kashmir will be Pakistan), seems to have an altogether different meaning now and the people against whom this slogan was raised seem to be raising it.

Also Appeared in The Kashmir Monitor

Eureka – We Lost It!

Recently Science was in news, for some good reasons and for some bad. Scientists at CERN believe that they have now enough evidence of the presence of Higgs Boson. This discovery is being presented as this century’s one of the greatest scientific achievements.
Pakistan in their quest not to be far behind, announced the invention of Water-Kit. The Pakistani engineer seemed to have solved the world energy problems for good. What followed as an instant fame, in a nation that is so eager to hear anything good about itself.
The euphoria generated by this news was unprecedented; everyone was talking about it on social media, newspapers, buses, TV shows. This goes on to show the desire of the masses to get liberated from the enslavement of energy barons.
Then a damning write-up was published by the country’s leading and most respected newspaper, The Dawn (Bad Science ). The article not only questioned the authenticity of the inventors claim but also raised some serious questions about the conduct of parliamentarians and media, especially TV, who all had gone on an over drive to celebrate their so-called messiah.
Today through this column let me introduce you to the person who dreamt of freeing the humanity from the shackles of energy cartels. Some people believe that he even succeeded in finding a way out, but the world’s most powerful nation has kept all his innovations and technological advances under lock as they challenged the monetary system put in place by them.
The person I am talking about is Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943), the man out of time, the person who is credited with inventing 20th century!
Not only was he responsible for introducing us to the alternate current but also invented machines (gadgets) with which to harness the alternate current. He even proposed to generate electricity from thunderstorms on industrial scale, which would be cheap and clean.

Tesla believed in giving power to the masses, reason why he never budged in to the pressure from business conglomerates or energy cartels. So when Thomas Alva Edison ran a maligning campaign against him and the Alternate Current (AC), Tesla didn’t flinch in his conviction of the benefits of AC over DC (Direct Current, promoted by Edison). When the Business establishments announced an all out war against him and AC, he gave up his royalty rights so that the access of AC to the masses couldn’t be delayed, this single donation still should account to humanities largest donation in terms of money!
We all laughed when last year one of the members of J&K assembly wished (suggested) the WiFi transmission of electricity across the Pirpanchal, but you will be astonished to know that the lights in Tesla’s Lab were  WiFi  and he wanted to demonstrate Inter-Continental  WiFi  transmission of electricity. His dream of intercontinental transmission of electricity couldn’t be achieved only because of lack of funds required to build the two towers!
While giving lectures at different colleges, Tesla in one of his favourite demonstrations used to ask for all the lights in the room to be killed then he would do something and the whole room would lit up as if it was day. No one could make out where from the light came or find the source of light. This is one of the experiments, among the long list of experiments, which scientists have not been able to reconstruct till date even with all the technological advances!
Tesla had another dream, dream of seeing people fly at the speed of light. He was infected with the idea of building aircraft’s (spaceship) since childhood. He had once said that when he will build a spacecraft which won’t look like any other aircraft. Well he couldn’t achieve this dream in his life time.
Later on Otis T. Carr, who claimed to be student of Tesla, started a company OTC Enterprises in 1955 to build the spacecraft in accordance with Tesla’s plans. He also claimed that Tesla taught him how electromagnetic energy could be freely harnessed from the abundant electrical energy in the atmosphere. The possibility that electrical energy could be freely acquired without need for expensive power plants, conductive wires, relay stations, telephone poles and significant power loss, which challenged conventional power companies. In November 1959 Carr successfully patented his design for a full-scale civilian spacecraft he called OTC-X1 on the pretext of it being an amusement device. If one believes Dr Michael E. Salla (author of Exopolitics: Political Implications of the Extraterrestrial Presence and founder of the website: http://www.Exopolitics.Org.) Carr not only built the spacecraft but also successfully tested it. Dr. Salla goes on to claim that U.S government forcefully closed the project and wrongfully implicated Carr, which led Carr to be sentenced to prison. One is not sure whom to believe and who not to.
What I have mentioned above about Tesla is not even a drop of the sea that he was. It would be befitting to say that, 9 out of 10 times when a person (scientist / engineer) finds that what he assumed to be a new discovery or invention in the electric field and goes to patent it, he finds it has already been patented under the name of Tesla!
Now you must be wondering if Tesla was such a genius why you never heard of him or his achievements, why you never read about him in your books in school or college. Tesla fought against the media and the people who controlled it all his life, they had declared a war on Tesla and left no stone unturned to undermine his achievements. It seems that the latter are still fighting against Tesla but there is no one to return the favour on Tesla behalf.
In this fight, it is the humanity that has lost. We have been left to rediscover all the works and technological advancements made by Tesla. We can only wish that soon another Tesla comes around and we are given freedom from the enslavement of energy and War’s that are being fought for it.

Also Appeared in The Kashmir Monitor

Free Education to All – A Promise Never Meant To-be

When the peasants rose against the rule of the monarch in Kashmir, It was a movement which was driven by Communist ideas. One can’t find a better example of equal redistribution of wealth (Land to tiller) than Kashmir. Some historians even believe that the Socialist tilt of Kashmir made India & Pakistan uncomfortable leading it to be annexed, in parts, by both countries. One of the key fundamental demands put forth through Naya Kashmir (memorandum submitted to Maharaja Hari Singh, later adopted by National Conference as its manifesto) by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, was access to free education to all. Sheikh wanted to offer free education to all up to college level. This goes on to show how much importance education was given by the pioneers of the revolution and rightly so.

 
Even after three generations of the Abdullah family have ruled Kashmir the promise of free education to all, still remains a promise only!
Many times people, in the past decade, have raised the issue of deteriorating education quality in Kashmir. To show that they are taking education seriously, Govt has been laying stress on the class X results. At times heads of schools with dismal performance in the board exams were issued show cause notice. If government was really serious on improving the education they would better focus at the root cause of the problem rather than addressing the symptoms.

 
We have heard the saying umpteen number of times that to construct a strong building one needs to make the base strong. Well the base of the Kashmiri education system is in taters, torn apart by apathy and indifference of administration, whose children study in private schools.

 
To know the exact status of our education system, visit any primary school. In a primary school the teachers are the first people who hit like a thorn in one’s eye; one wonders who selected them for this job. They enter a class write couple of words on board and ask to students to recite them on loop for the whole duration of class. They only seem to be bothered about what has been prepared in the mid-day meal or one will find them shouting at the peon for ringing the bell 5 minutes late. Most of the time teachers are busy, in staff room, munching on the fruits brought by students, weaving the winter wear for their children, discussing the newspaper headlines as if the world depended on their viewpoint and bitching about their in-laws.

 
Things that one observes about children are torn shoes and chappals; dirty and worn out clothes (pants are prone to be worn out at buttocks rather than knees, due the special matting). Most of the time children are busy shouting couple of words in loop with out knowing what they mean, because their teachers never bothered to tell them.

 
The main objective of primary teachers seems to keep the children busy with something rather than teaching them. One of the favourite tool of teachers to keep children busy is the recitation of numerical tables, the class representative or the class monitor leads the class (memorisation of tables is one of the main qualification for CR selection).

 
With a system like this how can we expect the sudden transformation of these kids into some sort of scholars in board exams!

 
For selecting a teacher for a primary school qualification shouldn’t be the only criteria. There are certain psychological roles that the teacher has to full fill, thus it becomes imperative that they are judged according to these requirement as well. So apart from qualification, behavioural assessment of the candidate should be part of the selection process.

 
Unless we drastically improve the quality of the education at primary level the overall quality is not going to improve.

 
Even though our leaders promised free educational up to university level some 70 odd years ago, it would be considered a great achievement if government can even provide free primary education.

 
The pioneers of Kashmiri struggle had envisioned of a society where education would be available to all irrespective their social or economic status. Nowadays education imparted in Kashmir can be classified according to the economic status. The children from poor families can be only found in government schools, children from middle class are to be found in private schools and the children of upper middle class & upper class can be found in couple of elite private schools in Srinagar.

 
Naya Kashmir was considered a revolutionary document and even now some people look towards it as a beacon which would help them to serve their people better. Irony is that the nation who had come up with the document has completely forgotten its existence.

 
It is high time that the state legislature introduces the Right to education bill following the suit of Indian parliament which passed the bill in 2009. By virtue of the bill the primary education was declared as the fundamental right of every child in the age group of 6-14 years. After the bill was passed many prestigious schools opened their doors for the underprivileged children. Of course there have been incidents where the students thus admitted have been discriminated against but we can’t deny the overall positive aspects of this bill.
There were times when the progeny would put everything online to see their fore father’s dream come true, but the times have changed.

Also Appeared in The Kashmir Monitor

Everything and Nothing on Sale

A new shop opens in town, couple of new hoardings raised, some mouths hired, some bait laced traps and a mad rush of people, as if chased by a herd of bulls, jumps straight in.

Something similar happened in Sopore recently and most people, who somehow didn’t fall prey, referred to victims as idiots. We all have and are falling prey to the tricks of one or the other person ( NGO’s,companies and government). After all hadn’t it been for temptation we wouldn’t be here on earth.

Take the case of fair&lovely, the cream that is supposed to make one look fair, it is one of the biggest scams and people still fall for it. Almost every girl uses this product and now the company was forced to introduce a product especially for men, courtesy the men (boys) picking their sisters and girlfriends bags!

Then there is the case of Axe deodorants and their over exaggerated commercials.Even the antiseptic soaps, some even claim to be 99% effective against germs, persons dressed as doctors are used in commercials to sell lies to us.

These things are certainly a matter of concern and people need to be informed that they are being duped.

Advertisement was and is used as a tool to sell us lies, through them we are sold daily use products or products that we never need. now advertising is being used to sell the second-rated education and we are not buying!

A college is considered the fountain of knowledge and one is free to drink as long as one’s thirst is satiated. People who are driven by this thirst go to extreme level to satiate it. But can one’s thirst be satiated by looking at a beautiful, scenic picture of the fountain!

That is exactly what our students are being made to do.
The higher educational institutes in Kashmir are limited which forces the students, who don’t make it to these colleges, to look outside the state. The colleges of other states being well aware of this scenario leave no stone unturned to squeeze the last rupee out of the pockets of Kashmiris.

Every major road in Kashmir is filled with huge bill boards of different colleges, offering so many things and all claim to be the best. Students of Kashmir are joining these colleges in hoards, without fully evaluating these colleges.

While choosing the colleges the students many a times throw caution to wind and join any college which seems to be good to them. A college seems to be good to a student if it has regular nice looking billboard on major roads of Kashmir, if it has regular advertisements in the local dailies and if it gives good marks in examinations. Students or parents don’t bother to check what kind of reputation the college has in market or what kind of students it attracts from other parts of the country.

Parents in Kashmir spend their life savings in trying to give their wards best education and most of the colleges of country are aware of this fact. Some people from the rest of the country blame Kashmiris for the sky rocketing the admission fee in reputed colleges and rightly so.

In order to cash in as much as they can, different colleges are spending substantial amounts of money so as to attract Kashmiri students. They have placed huge billboards on major roads and advertise in local dailies beside the national media.

While choosing a college one should not be distracted by all this glitter after all, all that glitters is not gold. Parents and students need to keep in mind that the quality of education they get depends on the quality of college. Quality of college depends on the faculty and the quality of the students they attract.

In college education more than a teacher it is one’s peer who drives you to excel through inter-student competition. So a lot of attention should be paid to ascertain whether the college attracts the cream of students from other regions as well or not. One should also not ignore the facilities available at the campus and the accessibility of the campus.

A certain college located on the Haryana-Himachal border, which has become a favorite among the Kashmiri students, is one of the most inaccessible colleges I personally have ever seen. It is a herculean task to travel from the nearest city to this campus and to add to woes this college / university is still in its infancy stage. Despite these things the Kashmiri students are coughing substantial amounts of money to get their admission secured.

I would like to say to the students of Kashmir that don’t waste your life’s precious years in these good for nothing universities. One should work a bit harder and try to get admission in well-established universities like AMU, Jamia, Hamdard etc. It is not like that exams of these universities can’t be qualified, if a Kashmiri can qualify AIS he can qualify any exam.

It is high time that government takes stock of the whole education system in Kashmir. There is an immediate and urgent need to revamp the whole system, besides more technical colleges and professional colleges need to be added. But for government to wake up from their slumber and take some constructive steps for improving education, they need to first get time from throwing around fans and abusing each other!

Also Appeared in The Kashmir Monitor

Taraweeh Twenty-20

Every evening most of the localities (Mohallas) of Kashmir run an unofficial race; race to finish Taraweeh earlier than the other.

Recently I happened to offer Taraweeh at a mosque in Srinagar, First I couldn’t make out when the Surah Fatiha ended or when did the Surah that followed start. Besides I also was not able to make out even a single word recited. In Atayehiyat I was only half way through Darude Ibrahim When Imam Sahib notified the angels on his shoulders about the completion of Salat. Before I could figure what was happening the congretion was up on their feet, ready again!

I felt cheated, felt as if I had bought tickets for a test match and was made to watch a Twenty-20.

It made me ponder; was this kind of Salat acceptable? Are we treating Salat as another Job that needs to be just done? Isn’t offering Salat in this fashion, with its essence missing, a futile exercise?

Taraweeh in no doubt is a test your patience and endurance, but the rewards are many folds greater so shouldn’t we try to ensure that we offer these prayers in a proper way. While deciding whether to have the Quranic Taraweeh or normal Taraweeh the Mosque comities need to take into consideration the old & week. It is very sad to observe that some of the localities choose Quranic Taraweeh only because their adjacent locality has done so, thus it has becomes a matter of ego. Even if you decide for Quranic Taraweeh it should be ensured that it is offered in a proper way, it shouldn’t bother any whether it takes 1 hour or 2 hours.

Most of the localities which choose Quranic Taraweeh are then infected with the twenty-20 mentality; look for a young Imam and throw rules out of the window.

A younger Imam is chosen so that he can recite very fast and non stop. Rules are ignored, rules like; one should stop /pause after every ayat of surah Fatiha, one should be able to understand (at least make out) every word recited or the rule asking not to make haste while offering Salat.

Aren’t we just making mockery of Salat itself, god forbid us from the repercussions.

If people aren’t ready for a 2 hour taraweeh then wouldn’t it be better to offer the normal Taraweeh instead of Quranic. After all Salat isn’t cricket.