Metamorphosis of Resistance – The Way Forward

Should a person accept to live in hell for a distant chance of his progeny living in heaven or should he work towards converting the hell he lives in into heaven?

There is stagnation in the thinking process of the separatist block, they are willing to risk everything (even the present) for a distant future. Their unimaginative strategies is helping nobody but the corrupt stooges who are making common man’s life miserable and are laying no stone unturned to make sure that their is no future of our nation, the future for which we have sacrificed our everything!

Their is a need to revisit the strategies of resistance, the resistance by general strikes and marches have outlived their meaningful existence. By these we intend to highlight the Kashmir issue in the international arena, even after 60 years if some countries are unaware of the issue then what does it say about these strategies? By continuing with these strategies we can’t suddenly make them aware of our plight. This is not the world of 1940 when these tactics had huge effect and when a countries policies were governed by a moral compass. Today’s world is governed & guided by economics, the earliest we realise this and rise from our slumber the better.

The Government officials & offices have become the chief exploiters of the common Kashmiri, the public servants have become coffin thieves. The corrupt officials are encouraged by the lack of oversight and due the fact that they are not being held accountable.

Let’s start working in a proactive manner and at least transform our living conditions. In this regard I am proposing the below system:

Metamorphosis of Resistance

With the above system we need to create an allied financial system and the main aims of the financial system should be as:

– – Creation of People’s Welfare Fund with the aim, if not to replace at the very inception, but atleast give some competition to the banking system.

– – Website of the ‘People’s Welfare Fund’ should reflect live updates of Financial transactions.

– – Financial Accounts of ‘People’s Welfare Fund’ should be visible to all.

– – Emphasis should be given on developing community owned businesses.

I will not go into the details and explain the nuances of the system, minor things and workings certainly are important but not as important as the idea, so lets first agree on the idea!

If you see any loopholes in the above depicted idea you are welcome to criticize but don’t stop yourself just there, suggest things to make this idea better or even propose a better workable system.

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Let’s Play – Death

A child waiting for his father
A wife for her exiled love
Mother for her beloved son
A nation awaits it’s martyr
Buried in a foreign Land he is longing for motherland

—————————————-
People had paused their lives
To remember & protest
Death of a common man
Treacherously murder in secrecy
To satiate the ‘collective conscience’
Of a blood thirsty nation

They killed a common man
Death raised him a Matyr

But who can pause a boy’s day
If they can’t go to school
They have to play the day

Sitting on the sideline
Waiting for his turn to bat
Wishing for the batsman to get out
Thinking about hitting the winning runs

Death roaming the roads
Was getting restless too
It too wanted it’s share of fun
So the boy died
Without getting his turn to bat.

Muslims & Education

By Iftikhar Ashraf & Sara Ataya

IQRA (meaning to read), was the first word of The Qur’an to be revealed upon the Prophet Mohammad (SAW). This word was revealed as a form of a command rather than a simple statement. Over the years many scholars have come to use this revelation in combination with the prophetic command (Prophetic saying / hadith) which says that it is obligatory on every Muslim (man & woman) to seek knowledge even if he/she has to go to China or travel long distances, so as to highlight the importance of education in Islam. With so much importance being given on education, observation & research, the Islamic civilization rose to its pinnacle and people were no longer afraid to fall off the edge of the world, but instead were intrigued to investigate the unknown(1).

Currently, Muslims form the bottom of the pyramid of enlightenment. We are considered arrogantly ignorant and beyond reason. When people of other faiths talk about us, we are mentioned as the barbaric ones and not as the enlightened nation who introduced significant inventions to the West. We are talked about as the nation with stone-age mentality and not as the ones who shook the West from its intoxicated slumber by introducing coffee to them (2) . We are the ones who discovered and explored Astronomy, Architecture, Chemistry, Biology…. And yet we collectively form the current world’s poorest, most backward & ignorant people!

The present generations have been longing for the past glory to return, but it will not return by just brooding on the past. The glory will be ours once again when we work towards it. We will be the masters of the sea & winds when we strive for it. For any nation to rise, it has to improve its education system, and as such, research has to be encouraged. If a person knows how to read or write – this does not mean that they are ‘educated’ or that this is ‘enough’, rather they should be able to analyze different opinions and viewpoints and then form an independent opinion. If being able to read and write would do any good for a nation, then Pakistan wouldn’t have been in such a chaos, the Middle East wouldn’t be ruled by the West through stooges & proxy, Africa wouldn’t be forever hungry with its immense natural resources, the descendants of the rulers of the Indian subcontinent wouldn’t live in ghettos or pull rickshaws, and Kashmiris wouldn’t had been fooled by a piece of rock-salt or by the sign of a pen & ink-pot (3).

As humans, we have immense power to influence others through our actions, as the famous saying goes, “Action speaks louder than words.” Islam gives immense stress on cleanliness and Prophet has even gone to the extend of saying that “Cleanliness is half the faith” (faith or iman, in Arabic) and still we see Muslims in the developing countries living in filthy conditions. Non-Muslims have begun to associate filthiness with Muslims. Once I was attending a birthday party of a friend, her mother while discussing her ‘social-work’ in areas around Jaipur (India) referred to Muslim majority localities as ‘Muslim infested localities’! We can’t blame her for having such a perception, it is we who are to blame. We have been reduced to namesake Muslims. Without education (knowledge) people can’t know what being a Muslim means.

In 2013, I visited Rwanda and had the privilege of speaking with many different members of the Muslim community and the general population. In Rwanda the Muslims are in minority, comprising just under 5% of the population. During the Rwandan genocide Muslims displayed bravery and highest character . Muslim minority impressed (influenced) the majority by offering shelter, safety and directly helping others by extending a helping hand during the genocide. Although the general population’s view of Muslims was that of mystery, since the majority, Christians, did not interact much with Muslims (this view changed after the genocide). Thousands sought refuge in mosques, hid in Muslim households and as a result many Rwandans converted to Islam after the genocide. The number of Muslims grew and people had more positive experiences to recall about their Muslim neighbours. What struck me most was how influential this tiny Muslim community had been in Rwanda, a small landlocked country in East Africa. It made me realize just how we can influence others, and teach them, just by our actions and the way we conduct ourselves. Education then becomes the central part of our life, we learn, influence, inspire and grow together(4).

We tend to take it as a universal truth that the western education system is the best, yes it is superior but it can’t always suit our needs, at times there is a need to modify it. We have simply shoved into oblivion the fact that it was a Muslim lady, Fatima al-Fihri, who founded the first university (which awarded formal degrees) and that too when woman in west didn’t even have property rights instead they themselves were treated as property (either of the farther or the husband) (5) . I grew up in Canada, constantly surrounded and influenced by the local Muslim community in London, Ontario. It was through social gatherings, fundraisers, Eid festivities that I got to interact and learn about the local community and about my identity as a Muslim living in the West. The local mosque ran an elementary school and parents had the option of placing their children in these private Islamic schools (with the aim to further ingrain Islamic concepts and etiquette into their children’s’ lives). Although the concept of an Islamic school in the West might seem alienating to some, the local Muslim population embraced this concept of having a local school. Many signed their children up, even for a year or two, to learn some Islamic history and learn the teachings of the Qur’an and relevant scriptures. Since this community was adamant on educating its growing Muslim population, in more than what regular province-run schools had offered, it stood out. The London Islamic School was recently ranked at the top of the list in the province, which included a list of the top 25 schools in Ontario. The ranking is based on academic indicators and tests in the school (especially reading, writing and math), and this small local school in London had made it to the top of the list (6).

The ranking of Islamic school as the top school has brought focus on the importance of religious studies and how this school transformed its learning module to produce high academic standing for its students. We see the power in community achievement, and this reminds us to continually strive to learn and grow, together, as one big global community. These people in London took control of the education system and set an example.

The people, and more specifically Muslims all over the world, have to influence their respective governments to improve the education system and research facilities, if they wish to reclaim the pinnacle they have fallen from. If the government is not fulfilling its duties, then the people are under sacred obligation to bring in the alternate system. When our desire for knowledge reaches such height that even in the darkest dungeon we long for it than even darkness will help in revealing the laws of optics to us (7).

Seek Knowledge

Seek the enlightenment

Seek knowledge even in the dungeons and

The laws of optics will reveal themselves in darkness

Observe & ask questions and

the night sky will guide you in your voyage.

References

1. Discovery of America before Columbus. http://lostislamichistory.com/tag/exploration/

http://historyofislam.com/contents/the-classical-period/the-african-and-muslim-discovery-of-america-before-columbus/

2.  How Muslim scientists changed the world  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/how-islamic-inventors-changed-the-world-469452.html; http://lostislamichistory.com/5-muslim-inventions-that-changed-the-world/ ; Role (importance) of Coffee, Muslim Drink, in Renaissance  http://lostislamichistory.com/how-muslims-helped-cause-the-american-revolution/ .

3. Muslims ruled over Indian subcontinent for about 600 years and formed the elite class. After the British occupied India, began the gradual downfall of Muslims. The downfall of Muslims in India expedited after its independence. ; Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, a Kashmiri leader, used rock-Salt (representing Pakistan) to usher support of general Kashmiri public ; pen & ink-pot was used as election symbol by Jamat-e-Islami when they fought elections in Kashmir and later this symbol was (is being) used by people’s democratic party.

4. Growth of Muslim community in Rwandan  http://www.muslimpopulation.com/africa/Rwanda/Growth%20of%20the%20Muslim%20community%20in%20Rwanda.php .

5. Education in Islam http://lostislamichistory.com/education/

6. Canada’s experiment with Islamic School  http://london.ctvnews.ca/london-schools-ranked-at-top-and-bottom-in-fraser-institute-s-report-card-1.1668671

7. How laws of optics were discovered by a Muslim scientist in prison http://lostislamichistory.com/ibn-al-haytham-the-first-scientist/  .

Ravaging Floods of Kashmir

Kashmir is no stranger to natural disasters and from time to time it has had to face the wrath of Mother Nature, be it through earthquakes or floods.

Some years back Kashmir (both Indian Occupied and Pakistan Occupied; henceforth Kashmir will refer to Indian Occupied Kashmir) was devastated by a powerful earthquake which razed to ground cities, towns, and villages, killing thousands of people. A couple of days back another natural disaster, a flood, came to pay a visit, the worst in six decades.

Though both these disasters were natural, human interference played an amplifying role. Had the people stayed within their limits, the damage caused could have been less.

complete post can be read here http://muslimmatters.org/2014/09/06/floods-ravage-kashmir-valley/

Season of Haakh

It is spring in Kashmir, as is with every season even spring has certain delicacies associated with it. One such delicacy is Haakh, as is with Nun Chai haakh, too is considered divine. A kashmiri has to like haakh and Nun Chai, if he/ she doesn’t just let them live outside Kashmir for couple of years and they will long for them. Many a times Kahmiris are seen collecting haakh and other vegetations besides their baggage from airports, the curious look (more of amazement) on the other passengers faces can’t be missed. The expats living in different cities of the world even take home grown onions, our land makes them to taste different then the rest, We can’t help it  we are Kashmiris 🙂

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Coming back to haakh, there are many ways of cooking haakh; with chicken, mutton, cheese, fish etc in short you can say we need an excuse  to have haakh. There are various types of haakh and every type tastes best with a particular combination food.

ImageImage

Sunday morning and I am being sent to buy haakh from the market, when ever I am asked to buy haakh from the market I always bring the wrong type! To help myself to overcome the sadness of being as failed Kashmiri haakh buyer I visit my uncle to listen to the stories of the past. Well here too Haakh is the topic of the day, my uncle tells me that the season of the haakh used to coincide with the season of the fish, not the type of the fish that you and me have these days but the type that no more exist, even their names have almost been lost. My uncle tells me about the days when they as kids used to relish keind guran, Chiroo gaad, sattar gaad, pikut gaad, chash gaad, tatur gaad, ram gaad, aumur, aitt gaad, one can’t help but be amazed. My uncle tells me that some of these fish used to come from Muzaffarabad but after kashmiri’s division it seems  that they too chose not to cross the dividing line.

So much has been lost in the past 60 odd years and yet no one seems to mourn. Is it that we never missed what was lost or that we were never told what we lost!

Who will speak for the Voiceless?

Couple of days back had the pleasure of meeting Zareef Ahmed Zareef,  when one is with Zareef Sahib there is no derth of topics of discussions and on this instance one of the topics was birds being made home less around the outer wall (Kalai) of the Hari-Parbat fort (Koh-e-Maraan).

A nation can’t prosper until it takes care of the week, helpless and voiceless.

Ottoman Empire made sure that in their rule even the birds are taken care off. The high rising buildings (mostly Mosques) had bird houses built on their walls so as to protect the birds and give them a place to live. The charters for new mosques often included provision for feeding the birds that lived in these shelters. The Beyazit II mosque in Istanbul, built in the late 15th century, had a charter that allocated 30 pieces of gold each year to look after its birds. Even when the charter was eventually revoked in the 1920s the official then in charge of the mosque continued to feed them out of his own salary until 1947.ImageImage

 

Almost every Muslim kid knows the story of the Jew who released the female dear so that it could feed her babies and  returned to the Jew afterwards as she had promised.

There is another instance where a Camel came up to the Prophet (S.A.W) to complain about the abuse it faced at the hands of his master.

A woman who gave water to a thirsty dog, was assured heaven by the Prophet (S.A.W) for showing kindness to the voiceless dog, an animal which is not liked (to say the least) by the Muslims!

There are many more such instances in the Islamic tradition and history which show the importance of animal rights in Islam.

Now coming back to the Hari-parbat (Koh-e-Maraan) and what we are doing there, after sleeping for generations, last year , the government suddenly woke up to the deteriorating condition of the surrounding wall (Kalai) and began to plaster it and in the process made the birds, who had lived in the walls for generations, homeless !

Zareef sahib had protested against it and had asked the government to make alternate arrangements for the birds, newspaper and news channels had covered it (even by DD Kashmir) but then the news became old. What ever part of the Kalai was still not plastered will be plastered soon. In the land were kids are killed in hundreds not an eye lid is abated how can we expect anyone to care about the voiceless birds, Only if they were eligible to cast votes.

At time when birds are being made homeless no one is touching the encroachers living on the both sides of the wall, that is the power of VOTE!

The three kilometres of the fort used to be the stage for the sweet music of birds chirping in morning and evening, it soothed the bruised souls. Chirping sound of birds is invaluable anywhere but more so in a valley which is full of wails!

It is a shame The Hindu

Media is considered to be one of the important pillars of democracy and rightly so. A free, fearless, independent and upright media is the guarantee of the preservation of the rights of common people in a democracy. With the changing times, one of the most respected professions has been reduced to just being a means of carrying out exploitation, extortion, political & personal vendetta.

The boom of Media industry in India instead of making it better has harmed it. The cut throat competition among media houses has resulted in deterioration of journalism. Journalists who are supposed to be neutral while reporting news now a days do not even pretend to be impartial but what is more appalling is their complete disregard for ethics.

When it comes to reporting about Kashmir it seems that altogether a different yard stick is used not only by the Indian Media but sadly even by the Kashmiris working or reporting for them. Even one of the most respected newspapers of India, The Hindu, doesn’t fare well. The opinion section (not read by every person) from time to time does give space to anti-establishment view point but while reporting day to day news (read by most people) narrative is in accordance with so called ‘national interest’ .

All the Kashmir based journalists who work or have worked for The Hindu have strictly maintained the narrative accepted (enforced) by the Indian government. At times it seems that the reporters just copy paste PTI reports and at times the press briefs handed out by government officials!

Couple of days back The Hindu hit a new low in journalism, Ahmed Ali Fayyaz while reporting about the sexual harassment of a lady doctor by the Health Minister Shabir Ah Khan not only named the lady doctor but even named her husband too, in addition to that gave her designation with the place of posting, thus making her identity known to every person. Later the news report was edited removing the name of the lady doctor and her husband.

The news paper report even now reads “… Wife of a separatist leader…” and her designation with place of posting is still there , which by themselves are enough to identify the victim! ( http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/government-doctor-complains-of-sexual-assault-by-kashmir-minister/article5661628.ece?ref=relatedNews ).

This can’t be termed mere as an oversight on behalf of the reporter and the editorial staff, the fact that the identity of even the husband was made public makes it very obvious that it was done deliberately!

It is nothing but an attempt to discredit the lady doctor in the eyes of the readers and to make her life difficult. Without writing the actual words what the newspaper wants the readers to understand from this report is that the separatist leader in order to malign the image of the minister used his wife! It is tantamount to saying that if a Dalit woman alleges a person from higher cast of molesting her she should not be believed! Imagine the outcry in the second scenario and now do you hear the deafening silence about the way The Hindu reported the news, even the Kashmiri journalists have maintained an erie silence about it!

No doubt Ahmed Ali Fayyaz is no stranger to controversy but here the greater responsibility lies with The Hindu and we need to question it so as to seek answers, we need to seek answers so as to ensure that the institution that we love and respect is well enough to safe guard our rights and the democracy.

P.S: The world’s largest democracy blocked internet in Kashmir valley on the death anniversary of Mohd Afzal Guru and Sopore town with other parts of valley were placed under undeclared curfew and hardly any of the Media reported it!