Vadaa Tera Vadaa

Kashmir is the land of uncertainties and in this environment everyone wants to be in constant contact with their near and dear ones.  Everyone wants to be able to know well-being of their loved one’s instantaneously, soon after an untoward incident has been reported.
It used to be heart wrenching task to see off your loved one’s in the morning ( while leaving for work or any other thing) not knowing whether they will return home safely, whether they will return at all but thanks to mobiles the element of uncertainty has been reduced if not completely negated.
When mobile service was given a go ahead in Kashmir people went wild to get a mobile connection, stood in queues for hours at stretch. But with BSNL having complete monopoly over the sector soon the quality of the service started to slide down. Then came Airtel, with its promise of   better service and again we saw sea of people standing in queues waiting for their turn to lay their hands on the Airtel sim. The sim agents soon began to behave like gods, with people pleading to them for sims made them more arrogant. The hype was followed by a dip in their services

After Artel, Aircel entered the market and they tried to cash in the dissatisfaction of the customers with its slogan of ‘Vadaa Rahaa’, promising better service and customer care. All these promises seem to fall flat.
Almost a year ago I returned to Kashmir and urgently needed a sim card, when I approached a retailer who sold sim cards of different companies and told him that I urgently needed a sim card, he suggested to me that I should get Aircel as it is the only sim that will be activated in couple of days while others take almost a week. So acting on his suggestion I got the Aircel sim.
In the last one year I many times wanted to just disconnect the number and switch to other service provider but the thought of effort that has to be put in to notifying people  about the number change and those who I can’t , I had to change my plan. Then came the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and my hopes were high about changing the service provider. I applied for MNP and keenly followed the process. All the service providers say that after applying for MNP the service provider will change within a week but even after a two weeks passed and there was no change in my service provider, I contacted the service provider to whom I intended to shift and asked why still there was no change in my service provider, they replied that Aircel was not releasing my number. After pursuing the matter for couple of more days I gave up seeing no hope of my service provider being changed.

You must be wondering what in the first place led me to think about changing the service provider. Well what I faced is faced by many people in the valley; the arbitrary deductions from my prepaid account forced me to look for a change in service provider. Every time I recharged my prepaid account it was followed by an arbitrary deduction. When I contacted the customer care (CC), who are in the first place were very hard to reach, they said that I had subscribed to one or other value added service of which I had no idea how and when I had subscribed. At times I didn’t have time to call the CC so sent mails to them but they never used to reply in the promised one working day. Even after conveying to them I hadn’t subscribed to any service they wouldn’t agree to refund the undue deductions. After some time I altogether stopped recharging my phone with more than rupees 10 and this led to occasions when I had to request strangers to give me their phones to make an important call.
I tried to get rid of these problems on an individual level; I applied for converting my number into a post-paid. I thought that with the conversion all my problems will vanish but with the conversion I new set problems came forth. First the conversion took a lot more time then was promised and then I was not having access to GPRS at all. The CC at first denied accepting the existence of the problem and then when I threatened taking them to court did they rectify the problem.
Initially I used to think that only Aircel customers face these kinds of problems but with time I met customers from other service providers who were facing the same problems. This discovery helped in reducing my pain little bit but at the same time it gave rise certain questions like, if this is so common a problem why isn’t any one raising his/her voice? Why isn’t Telecom Regulation Authority of India (TRAI) taking any action against the service providers, which are cheating their customers? How big is this scam?


Also Appeared in The Kashmir Monitor


Politics of Diversion

Since the onset of this year, many startling revelations have come to fore and with each newspaper headline it seemed that the end of the government was near. But here we stand with just two months left in this year and we can’t recall the first headline that threatened the government.

It is October and last couple of days before the government shifts to winter capital, Jammu, and we are grappling with LPG crises. No one is bothered to recall which the big story before this was and raise a question as to why it has been left mid way, without taking it to the logical conclusion that everyone earlier was so confident of reaching.

Does it sound strange that the issues like Amarnath, Unidentified graves, Healthcare mess, Dog menace, Power woes, Traffic mess etc have been shoved into oblivion!

Whatever the case is we will have to accept that the state government has mastered the art of diversion. It is playing everyone; public, media and none seem to realize it.

For 2008 mass uprising, handing over of forest land to SASB (Shri Amarnath Shrine Board) had acted as a trigger. Well if the latest newspaper revelations are believed to be true, then the SASB has already started constructing concrete structures on the forest land! Now the question rises that what did we, as a people protest against?

The discovery of unidentified graves (Mass graves) seemed to sound doom for the state government and caused a lot of embarrassment to the govt. of India in the international arena. People had hoped against hope that finally the international community will force India to hold an impartial probe. Now it seems that every one has forgot the existence of these graves!

The GB Pant hospital mess, Infant deaths, had caused a lot of uproar, people had come on roads to protest. And then, the game of accusations and cross accusations had begun. Union health minister was forced to pay a visit to the forsaken hospital. Even couple of heads had rolled, but after sometime everyone forgot about the absconding army doctor who happened to be the deputy MS at the said hospital, does anyone know what action was taken against him?

People had asked for reformation of hospital management system in all the state hospitals. Everyday somebody or the other was suggesting the government about how to manage hospitals. Then everyone forgot about the reforms! We were reminded of the infant death only couple of days back when the House committee report was tabled in the state assembly.

Dog menace once upon a time happened to decorate the newspapers as headlines. It attracted attention of people from New Delhi to New York. A sitting MLA even tried to highlight the issue by releasing a truckload of dogs near the civil secretariat but now it seems that as if the problem never existed, even when the government is far from solving it!

The power supply in the summer of the current year has been far from satisfactory; this led some people to compare the performance of the current government with that of the PDP led government. People on social media demanded the removal of the Omar government and installations of Mufti government. People were angry with government, and the comment of
the CM that people should pay market rates fanned the fire and then the son of a minister was caught stealing electricity worth lakhs. But now no one seems to be bothered by the erratic electric supply.

Traffic mess is getting uglier by the day and the government seems to be at loss of wits of how to manage it. They are not making any radical changes in the policy and nor are they trying to improve the traffic police department drastically by providing necessary instruments. Only by installing traffic lights the government can’t assume the disappearance of this problem. Government needs to make a long term policy with respect to traffic management and road connectivity.

J&K government is competent enough to divert anything but the traffic.

It seems to be a strange coincidence that every time government finds itself in the dock, a new controversy comes to its rescue by diverting the attention from the previous. Sometimes the controversies are god sent but at times they have to be created.

With winter approaching and time for the state government to fly to warmer grounds, LPG Cap crises seems to be god sent. Thus the government can avoid answering other uncomfortable questions and try to solve this problem just before its flight.

It is said that for a war to be won not only does a government / state need superior firepower but also a superior propaganda machine. Here in Kashmir everyday is a war and propaganda has to be aided by diversion.

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