And It Snowed…. 

I guess everyone has enjoyed the snowfall which was being waited quite eagerly in this ChilaiKalaan, the harshest 40 day winter period. Sonam Lotus, the chief weatherman had given us the forecast which had come correct after a series of wrong predictions. Snow to each generation means different things. For the young ones who had seen snow in winters in past it was a refreshment of the past memories echoing in our minds. For the elder ones, well they will always be hard on snow, either they will say that this snowfall is nothing as compared to past when they were young and in the same breath will complain that this snow needs to stop. Well most of the times the old age problems which have set in like ortho or respiratory disorders which we find in young ones also compels them to go against the nature and gaze upon the sky to stop the white stuff and be melted down as soon as possible. For kids, well it is Christmas, an opportunity to witness and relive the spectacle witnessed in Disney cartoons which the fortunate ones are blessed to see. Whole place is converted to a la Disneyland and Voila the kids can mould the snow to any character they want which won’t be scarier and uglier at least as compared to the scarecrow. I am not a good writer and neither do I know why I am writing this but as soon I started to drive slowly which also was dangerous after a days snowfall, I was smitten by it, no words to express. As soon I reached the destination, the radio started to play ‘Guloon main Rang Bhare’, a Faiz sahib Kalaam in the melodious voice of Mehdi Hassan. I swear I haven’t enjoyed the verses more as I was watching the white snowy field and I didn’t at all move out of the car till Mehdi Hassan’s voice ended. People say that enjoying music in rain has its own charm but enjoying music with Faiz’s words in snow, it is something I cannot say it in words, I can only explain in snow.

Driving on the banks of Boulevard Road with snowy atmosphere is something which is cherish-able and you kind of witness many things like the snowmen made by boys and taking Selfies with it and the mandatory Sheen Jung or snow fight between friends. It was kind of much needed change after the burning summer as the collective moods were still off even after autumn had passed. Young couples, boys and girls were stopping their cars on the banks of Dal Lake and were posing for the pictures, all enjoying the happy snowy moment, after all the snow had come to visit us after two years. The skewer makers were having a merry day, the peculiar smell of meat roasted on the burning charcoal surrounded by snow, well imagine! Imagine! And I am leaving the imagination to you for how savory it would have been 😉😉.
Snow is something which jogs us to think that why there are seasons, why we need changes in life if it has been on a constant, snow certainly will not make you philosophical or a poet but will make you feel different for a while, a nature’s reminder that life can be beautiful outside of dreams too. Snow Hafiz.

A Solicitous Enquiry after the Mental Health of Arnab Goswami

KAFILA - 10 years of a common journey

Arnab,

I am wondering if all has been going well with you. I saw your show on television the other night and you were shouting at a young man who has now been accused of sedition because of a meeting he attended on his college campus. In this show you shouted this young man down, did not let him speak, turned off his mike while he struggled to make himself heard. You called him a terrorist. You said people like him are dangerous elements and wondered who was funding him. You told him he should be grateful for things that India has apparently given him and others like him. You even had a tweet for the purpose #FlashpointAfzal. We will not go into the extraordinary idiocy you displayed in your own version of what you are pleased to call an ‘argument’. It seems in the world you inhabit, and people…

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Lal Bazar

aatish e chinar 🍁

In the early 90s, people in downtown Srinagar faced the brunt of Indian military forces’ brutalisation. Downtown or the Old Srinagar has been at the forefront of the Kashmiri struggle for independence since centuries. In fact the first revolt against Dogra in 1864 started in its Zaldagar area.

In 1990s, the rebels found home in the maze of alleys and lanes. The underground movement had massive support in Downtown. Thus the military choked this area with a camp or a bunker at almost every nook and corner. It resembled casbah in Algiers when the Algerian armed struggle to overthrow the French started.

The arsons of Kaw Dara and Noor Bagh in the early nineties saw more than 300 properties summarily burnt down (including homes, schools and shops) shocked people. No one expected this incursion in their daily lives. Fear grew by the day. It forced many to consider leaving downtown…

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The Social Media Musings of this Autumn

Last few days have been hectic for the people of sub-continent, well it always has been like that. Being from Kashmir has always been a tough job to be on Social Media as along with Kashmir, you have to keep an eye whats happening in India and Pakistan which Kashmiris manage quite well. First of all let me start from the Hometown where the talk of the town is the most recent BOPEE Scandal involving its former chairman and some agents who sold the Entrance Question Papers to some wealthy people in order to get admission in the prestigious medical colleges of J&K. As the scandal was about one of the most important exams in any medical students life or for that matter the parents hopes, it naturally had to get over the top reaction from the general public. Naturally the students who had been burning the midnight oil for qualifying the most prestigious exam would have been most aggrieved and the mental trauma is understandable and so of their parents also. Well its not the first time that medical entrance has been plagued by this BOPEE scandal, similar thing happened in 2003 BOPEE exams. Same level of hue and cry was raised and same tone of reaction was aroused in general public and what happened to that case, need not to mention. But in this case another thing was added which was not only discussed in social media circles but in newspapers also. A section of public including a well to do journalists looked like they were more interested in the name of the BOPEE ex-chairman than the grievous crime itself. When i saw the discourse of this scandal involving Mr. Mushtaq Peer, i was confused that are people discussing the scandal genuinely as should be the case, are people discussing the scandal because it just involves Doctors ( as it has fake glamour attached to it ) or people are discussing it because the surname of the accused person is Peer. And to add insult to the injury big columns were written discussing that the said person has Peer as surname and also attached his name with the fake Peer who would love to proclaim his name as Syed Gulzar Ahmed Bhat involved in the infamous Sex Scandal. With such discussions, Kashmir earned a distinct title of distinguishing crimes based on his or her caste. No one can give a satisfactory answer that how does a crime committed depend on ones caste, whether he is Bhat or Peer in Kashmir. Further more the Chief Minister of J&K went a step further in this tragicomic situation, he said that the accused Ex BOPEE Chairman is a Muslim, no wonder what happens to the secular state at that time. The prisms with which these so called intellectuals see the picture seems to be biased. Few years back i read a book on Kashmir written by David Devdas in which he pointed out that Kashmiri politics is also caste based and gave his explanation. Well to my knowledge and  understanding of nature of Politics in Kashmir, i couldn’t understand on what basis he said it. Did it matter for the common masses that Muhammad Abdullah was a Sheikh or Peer, Maqbool Bhat was a Bhat or a Peer, Yusuf Shah was a Syed or Bhat and so on and on. Not justifying the crimes committed by the so called upper caste including Peers in any way but a place where society is divisible at many junctions, having this kind of notorious discourse whether the crime committed by peer or a non-peer is beyond any logic of understanding. Castigating one community alone is not going to solve any-ones problem, the rot runs deep in the society as corruption or any vices has become more and more part of this fragile society from bottom to top.

Now opening a window to the Pakistan where there is usually a bad news coming in every day. Few days back a riot took place in Rawalpindi involving two sects of Muslims on 10th Muharram where many died and dozens got injured. On the social networking sites, people were more interested on who actually were responsible not for breaking the law of land but just for they get some brownie points in criticizing the other sect tarnishing all the values of humanity if ever it was present. There were proofs given by people who actually were sitting some thousands of miles away from Rawalpindi on who were the perpetrators of the riot. Whosoever were the minds behind the riots, how does it matter with which sect they belong to ? More icing on the cake when twitterati began giving suggestions to stop these kind of riots in future by suggesting to ban Ashoora and Mawlid processions . Wonder, how will it help in country where Masjid and Imambargahs were not spared of bombs by terrorists, so how does these kind of shallow ideas emerge from anyone’s mind. I have never participated in any Mawlid or Ashoora processions but banning any religious procession is strictly against the tenets of freedom of speech and religion. And the irony is those demanding ban on religious processions were, are and will be the most iconic voices in portraying the Islamophobia in West, a simple case of one bigot calling a other bigot, a bigot. If anyone doesn’t give right to express his or her own opinion in his or her own way, never expect that this person will give you to raise your own voice tomorrow on any other issue. Now it has been a routine on social networking sites to discuss religion freely with the availability of Sheikh Google. Come Muharram – discuss Shias, Come Rabiulawal – discuss Barelvis and Sufis, Come the stupidity and abuses by the family of Saud – discuss Wahabis and Come some unusual Fatwas – discuss Deobandis. You will get bundles of Fatwas of Shirk and Kuffr from those who even don’t know you and will be targeted in groups as if the only thing left in their life is to prove that they all along are right, rest can and should go to hell. Some of us hold our head so high that it gets impossible to argue but little they know that this arrogance can also fall just like the Tehelka Head.

Coming to the Indian Media where the most covered news this time is the Tehelka scandal involving Tarun Tejpal. A magazine which began with humble origins with the motto of crusade against the wrongdoings finds itself entangled in the web of accusations which are very gory. And many media houses and political parties grinding there own axes against the Tehelka Magazine. Well the idea of Tehelka was shattered long before and some shine it had left, also is now faded. Being an avid newspaper reader, i remember that day when Tehelka became a print newspaper ( don’t remember it was weekly or fortnightly) and i bought it for ten bucks few years back and also remember the scold i got from my grandfather when he asked me why i bought a newspaper for ten bucks !! Such was my trust with the brand of Tehelka but it soon started to fade out. The Tehelka is all there, it has fallen in this season of fall, leaf by leaf in front of the 24*7 circus of TV News channels.

Now moving on to the biggest news this week is that of successful talks between the Global superpowers including USA with Iran. The Iranians celebrated it with fervor in view of easing of sanctions against them on the issue of nuclear energy. The success can be attributed to the new moderate President of Iran, Mr. Rouhani along with his Foreign Minister. But the successful talks have made some angry which include Saudi Family and Israel. Not to forget to mention that what murky things Iran is doing in Syria has nothing to do with the Common Iranians who are suffering due to the harsh sanctions against their own country. A common Iranian and the Ayutullah regime are two separate entities. Long before if u would be discussing Iran with anyone, two separate views emerged, one being blinded by his pro-Iran regime loyalties and other being blinded by his anti-Iran stance with both having shades of sectarianism associated. When confronted with own middle-path unbiased views, none believed, each giving its own version. The truth being mixed with the tales of Iran by the Iranian Press TV and the Pro-American Media including CNN and FOX. That is what happens when a country lives in isolation for more than three decades which makes it difficult to tell people the real picture.

And the social media musings with its fallacies go on………………….