Monday, December 28, 2009

Tiny Tidbits | Interview of an imaginary politician

This neta is a bit of all netas and netis rolled into one. Shikasladlal Khot: Khot maange vote. Party symbol: A beggar's katora with gold coins. Hmm... Ask him the reason for the 'unique' party symbol and he says, "Well, you see, it's all symbolic. The beggar's katora is India, which is still a 3rd world poor nation. I want to fill it with gold coins." But, we hear Maangelal has been a beggar and drug peddler in the past, thus the name Maangelal and the katora. And then, more by crook than hook, he rose from rags to riches after becoming a politician, earning him the name Khot and all the gold coins he has in his coffers now.

Starting the interview, the latest in the news is Telangana being split from Andhra Pradesh. There is going to be a longer list - Vidharbh, Gorkhaland, Mayawatiland, Jammu, Kashmir... Why break up India into pieces?
We are not breaking India into pieces. Our aim is to be as great as the Superpower America. Now, America has 50 states and that is what we want to achieve with India too. And we have consulted educationists about this. They feel Indian kids know very little about the motherland. This is an attempt to make them know more. Now they will know more places and capitals in the country.

But many politicians are indulging in divisive politics. They want to create a rift between Hindus-Muslims, Maharashtrians-North Indians...
We are only trying to make things easier. See, if people stay on in their respective states, they won't have to learn a new language. There would be no need for boards like ICSE, CBSE... It will be good for the students. And they have to take so much trouble to relocate, move away from their families. Our Indian culture teaches strong family bonds and values. We are only trying to safeguard that.

Some MPs are going on hunger strike to keep the states from splitting. What about them?
This is off the record - they have been advised by the doctors to shed weight. Some have eaten so much from the public funds that they suffer from monetary dysentary. So, this is ek teer se do nishaan. Next question please.

Another controversy is the sub-standard bulletproof jackets that claimed the lives of three officers during the Bombay terrorist attack.
*Sobs* They took the bullets that was meant for us. Those bulletproof jackets belonged to us politicians. But out of the goodness of our heart and for the benefit of our people, we gave away our own jackets so that the officers could fight the terrorists. Little did we know that the jackets were faulty. Yeh opposition party ka shadayantra hai humare khilaaf.

What about the rising prices of commodities? Everything is so expensive and the public is angry because the govt. cannot control the inflation.
Nahi, nahi, aisa nahi hai. Public humare iraadon ko samjhi nahi hai. We are only trying to teach them the value of savings and encourage them to save. See, if everything comes cheap, they will spend mindlessly whether they need the thing or not. Whereas, if everything becomes expensive, they will obviously not spend and thus save a lot of money. This is also our way of discouraging commercialism.

So when is your 196th statue being erected?
Very soon. *Grins*. My youngest buffalo will bear a young one soon. Usi ki khushi mein ek naya putla humara banega.

And, all this will be on public funds?
Public ka paisa aur humara paisa alag thodi hai? Jab hum public ke hain, public humari hai toh kaisa bhaid bhaav? Aur hum bhi toh public hi hain. Jo public ka hai woh humara hai, jo humara hai woh bhi humara hai.
Alec Smart Said: After this the neta had to take a leave. The blue prints for a new road named after him had to be approved and he had a party with the BollyWood Stars.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Something worth smiling at :)

Alec Smart said, : Suddenly I got a crush on Dr. Richard Dawkins

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Swine Flu | The Real Story

Earlier I have posted on H1N1 and influenze and I recieved many comments which more or less point to the fact that it could have propogated even in a Muslim Civilisation.. Some advised me to do some proper research before commenting on such sensitive topics.. So here am I.. Prepared and confident..

What is going on?

  • Swine flu is a virus that originally infected only pigs and they spread it from one infected hog to other hogs the same way it spreads in people, by direct contact or by droplets holding the virus in the air after a pig coughed or sneezed.
  • Because pigs are physiologically very similar to humans, when they have been living closely with humans, some microbes that can infect them are able to be changed or mutated into strains that people can catch.
  • These types of diseases that we can get from animals are called zoonotic diseases.
So where did Islam come here?

  • wants to prove that in an ideal Islamic society, such an outbreak would never have taken place. Because Islam considers pig as a dirty animal which should not be bred for food/any other use. A pig is thus considered Haraam in Islam.
So how can you prove that?

and now some stuff to bore you guys:

Transmission within pigs
  • Influenza is quite common in pigs, with about half of breeding pigs having been exposed to the virus in the US.
  • The main route of transmission is through direct contact between infected and uninfected animals. These close contacts are particularly common during animal transport.
  • The direct transfer of the virus probably occurs either by pigs touching noses, or through dried mucus.
  • Airborne transmission through the aerosols produced by pigs coughing or sneezing are also an important means of infection.
  • The virus usually spreads quickly through a herd, infecting all the pigs within just a few days.

Transmission to humans

  • People who work with poultry and swine, especially people with intense exposures, are at increased risk of zoonotic infection with influenza virus endemic in these animals, and constitute a population of human hosts in which zoonosis and reassortment can co-occur.
  • Transmission of influenza from swine to humans who work with swine was documented in a small surveillance study performed in 2004 at the University of Iowa.
  • This study among others forms the basis of a recommendation that people whose jobs involve handling poultry and swine be the focus of increased public health surveillance.
  • Other professions at particular risk of infection are veterinarians and meat processing workers, although the risk of infection for both of these groups is lower than that of farm workers.

Interaction with avian H5N1 in pigs

  • Pigs are unusual as they can be infected with influenza strains that usually infect three different species: pigs, birds and humans.
  • This makes pigs a host where influenza viruses might exchange genes, producing new and dangerous strains.

    Alex Smart Said: One guy even thought that Swine Flu was created when a Arab sneezed on a pig and it exploded in a suicide bomb attempt...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Eid Qurbaan | The other side

Alex Smart Said: The other side or the disgusting internals ? Nothing which I cant eat...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Alex Smart

Let me introduce you guys to Alex Smart. He is an ordinary Kashmiri, loud and stupid. Thanks to a friend, I managed to get a lot of cartoons made, which from now on are going to represent him. Alex Smart always ends my post in a surprising yet funny way.. Sometimes he will be the true Kashmiri self, most other times he will be some one or the other.. Ladies and Gentleme.. This first dedicated post to Alex Smart is a really smart poem indeed. Meant for those Kashmiris who try and join english coaching centres in order to improve their English. Umm.. I knew one guy who went.. He started talking to me in the wierdest mix of American-Kashmiri accent English.. As I have said somewhere.. Kashmirs and Americans dont mix... Here is something I found somewhere..

I take it you already know
of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you,
on hiccough, thorough, laugh and through.
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
to learn of less familiar traps?

Beware of heard, a dreadful word,
that looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead -- it's said like bed not bead --
and for goodness' sake don't call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt)

A moth is not the moth in mother,
nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there,
nor dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there's dose and rose and lose --
just look them up -- and goose and choose,
and cork and work and card and ward,
and font and front and word and sword,
and do and go and thwart and cart --
come, come I've hardly made a start.
A dreadful language? Man alive.
I'd mastered it when I was five.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Dying Dal Series | Blue Wonderland

Naveed Fayaz Siraj

Alec Smart Said," Behind you can see the SKICC, and in foreground is the green algae "

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eid Ul Adha Mubarak

Alec Smart Said: Its the time when animals do slaughter humans.. Tsk Tsk.. The Two Legged Animals I mean...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bad Father Jey Kumar | Internet Search

Oh.. Look What I Found..

It is titled "Bad Jey Kumar"

Jey Kumar is currently the principal of Burn Hall School (my alma mater) and people say that he is not doing his job properly and will lead to the sink the glory and prestige of the school. Recently, as people say, that there has arisen a communal riot between the Muslim teachers and the Christian administration.. Tsk Tsk.. Baad Jey Kumar... Please do check the site.. and let me add.. It hasnt been updated recently I guess.. What I would like to say is that Khola Ma'am is no more with us.. She passed away on 15 May (if I remember correctly)

Alec Smart Commented, " Jey Kumar is lovingly called Shin Chan by the Burn Hall Student Community because of his physical properties .. Hah "

Burn Hall to be shut down | Communal row

The Telegraph

The Catholic Church has threatened to shut its schools in the Valley after a row with these institutions’ mainly Muslim teachers, citing their alleged anti-Christian activities as one of the reasons.

The Church runs three secondary schools in Kashmir —Burn Hall and Presentation Convent in Srinagar and St Joseph’s in Baramulla — with over 7,000 students on their rolls. All three are more than a century old and are among the best schools in the Valley.

The teachers, particularly those at St Joseph’s, have been agitating for a raise, claiming their salaries have been static for five years. But the row is taking on communal overtones.

Church liaison officer Joseph T.K. said the school authorities were facing constant interference and harassment by the teachers. “They raised anti-Christian and anti-religious slogans during a recent protest. We have asked the government to investigate the real motive behind these slogans,” he said.

Father Verkey T.J., vice-president of the Diocese of Jammu-Srinagar Education Society, which runs these schools, said: “If a conducive atmosphere is not provided to Church-run institutions in the state, the society would not be left with any option but to close down the institutions till the return of a congenial atmosphere.”

Another office-bearer, who didn’t want to be named, said it appeared the teachers were acting at the behest of “outsiders who do not want missionary schools to operate in the Valley”.

Church authorities have met chief minister Omar Abdullah demanding security at all their institutions.

The teachers say all they want is higher pay but the management is “giving it a communal colour” to silence them.

“Our salaries were on a par with those of government teachers till 2004 but there has been no hike since then. Instead, some of us had to take pay cuts. The school bylaws say there should be a pay revision every year but our principal has amended them,” a St Joseph’s teacher said. “The management also suspended two teachers, which aggravated the situation.”

The teacher said the three schools stood on government land at the best locations in the Valley.

“The land costs hundreds of crores but the schools pay the government a few thousand rupees in rent — an amount they get from just one student in a year. These are commercial institutions that charge handsome fees, so what is wrong if they pay us decently?” he asked.

Fr Joseph, however, said the teachers were paid well and that a salary hike would put an additional burden on the students.

The state director of education, Shagufta Parveen, said: “I will examine the matter thoroughly.”

Alec Smart Said: Its all the fault of the new principal of BHS, he seemed crazy to me the first day I saw him.. He is arrogant and extremist..

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Dying Dal Series | The Orange Energy

Naveed Fayaz Siraj

Alec Smart Said: " The Dal Lake will die, will moan and sigh, and I will cry "

Naveed Fayaz Siraj

Naveed Fayaz Siraj was born in Srinagar, Kashmir. Due to the dispute in the valley his parents sent him to a boarding school in New Delhi, when later he graduated there and came back to help his father with their business.
Early in his life, he developed an interest towards photography and later took it up as a hobby. Without formal training in photography he started clicking everything he could see, from fountains to shops. He considers himself as a free spirit who likes to go out with his and capture whatever gives him joy. Later he took his photography to the professional level by doing product photography and travel photography, basically on articles related to Kashmir.
The Dal Lake is Naveed's favourite subject. Our site is proud to publish his works on the Dal Lake.

Naveed's work on
The Dying Dal Series:

Its Black and White Series:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Qazi Mamoon is now a delegate | One Young World

Dear Qazi,

Congratulations! Since registering as a candidate you are now well on your way to becoming a delegate representing Malaysia. Not only have you accumulated a high number of votes, your submission fits the profile of the young leaders and decision makers of tomorrow in vited to attend One Young World Summits. Your profile status has now been upgraded to 'delegate' on the Facebook app.

Wow.... I have been made a delegate.. Which means to really go to london and attend the Summit, I need to get a sponsor.. Its not easy I know.. Oh.. A sponsor because the required fee is too large.. 3000 Pounds.. Well, with that amount of money I can buy myself a nice car. I dont want to miss the summit just because I couldnt arrange for the money.. Time for some skilss to be put to test.. London... Here I come...

1) I am the only Kashmiri who is going.. Should I ask the Kashmiri government to sponsor me.. Well, no they wont... They wont like me.. (or my blog)

2) I would rather ask the Indian government to sponsor me.. But then the government wouldnt like a Kashmiri to represent them.. Period

3) Why would I ask the Malaysian government to sponsor.. I hardly know a bit of Malay..

4) Now, all that is left are companies.. Maybe they will sponsor, thanks to my CGPA and other boring stuff that I am good at.. (London :( )

Any ideas please???

Any sponsors please??????


Alec Smart was ill today... He didnt even have money for the medicines :(

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I am an open-minded guy who loves to work and get involved with anything that I find fulfilling. I share my time and talents with other people to be an instrument of their inspiration in achieving something they could be proud of, even a help in a assignment is important for me. I may have lesser achievements for now being a leader, but I am very much willing to work harder just to prove that I have the ability of becoming a good leader. Its just a matter of giving a chance.

I am a Kashmiri by birth, a land which is thirsty for good leaders. I, talented no doubt, dream big and try to build my skills in every sphere possible.

I am now a engineering student in one of best universities in malaysia and my tuition fees are fully funded by scholarship. I am highly concerned about human rights issues, environmental issues, technology and also poverty. As a witness to human rights violation, I would be strong in defending human rights for the sake of humanity.

So, lets try and make a better life for humanity. All that is left is the future now, and its going to be ours.

On the light side, be it in piano playing, learning new languages, or just volunteering for so many things, I am always somewhere around. I am a freelance journalist who writes on social issues.. Debater and bla bla. I am usually posting stuff on the internet (but not while I am driving :) ).

I dont believe that some other guy would come up and be the saviour. All the others would be thinking the same right? I am someone who wants to give the best for mankind, and this earth. I know the task as a candidate "One Young World" is not easy, but I can promise to all of you who read my statement, that I will do my best for all, with creativity, and innovation of young people that I have to co-exist with..

The point is that we are not searching for people who can merely lead a group of 100 more or something like that.. We need people who can dream, like Martin Luther King once did..

I'm ready to lead representative changes in our society. I know the steps to achieve it are not easy, there will be barriers as in any path but there is nothing that persistence, tolerance, creativity and will can't do.

As they say, "Charity begins at home but it should not end there... "

I would also like to thank my parents who have alwayz stood beside me in good and bad, in highs and lows..

You can follow my website at '', where I write about social and political problems that exist in Kashmir and elsewhere.

Qazi Mamoon,
A Global Citizen

Alec Smart saod: "Ouu Bacha Bada Hogaya Hai (The Child is growing up.. Oouuu)

Sunday, November 15, 2009


In a December 2006 interview with Congressional Quarterly, Reyes said that al-Qaeda, an exclusively Sunni group, was composed of "both" Sunni and Shi'te members. He then instead asserted al-Qaeda is "predominantly probably Shi'ite." He also avoided answering the question whether Hezbollah, a Shi'ite organization, was Sunni or Shi'ite.


Catch theoriginal text at Para : 5 Topic: Congressional Career on WIKIPEDIA....

Alec Smart Said : "This is kind of scary. The head of the House intelligence committee, Congressman Silvestre Reyes, failed a quiz on terrorist organizations. He didn't know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite, didn't seem to know what Hezbollah was. So , I guess the term 'intelligence committee' is just a suggestion for us."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ok! I am officially into politics now.. :)

I am standing as a candidate for One Young World, a platform where I can represent my generation and my country on some of the greatest challenges ahead. Help me become a delegate by voting for me now! Guyz... Now please :)

Go to this page and then click "Vote for Candidate"

Alec Smart said: No Elections.. Hum kya chahtay Azaadi :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Who Was Jesus?

By Sheik Yusuf Estes - Former Christian Preacher

Islam honors all the prophets who were sent to mankind. Muslims respect all prophets in general, but Jesus in particular, because he was one of the prophets who foretold the coming of Muhammad. Muslims, too, await the second coming of Jesus. They consider him one of the greatest of Allah's prophets to mankind. A Muslim does not refer to him simply as "Jesus," but normally adds the phrase "peace be upon him" as a sign of respect. No other religion in the world respects and dignifies Jesus as Islam does. The Quran confirms his virgin birth
(a chapter of the Quran is entitled "Mary"), and Mary is considered to have been one of the purest women in all creation. The Quran describes Jesus' birth as follows:

"Behold!' the Angel said, God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations. Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name shall be the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and in the Hereafter, and one of those brought near to God. He shall speak to the people from his cradle and in maturity, and he shall be of the righteous. She said: "My Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?' He said: "Even so; God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing, He says to it, 'Be!' and it is." [3:42-47]

Muslims believe that Jesus was born immaculately, and through the same power which had brought Eve to life and Adam into being without a father or a mother.

"Truly, the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, and then said to him, 'Be!' and he was."

During his prophetic mission, Jesus performed many miracles. The Quran tells us that he said:

"I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by God's leave. And I heal the blind, and the lepers, and I raise the dead by God's leave."

Muhammad and Jesus, as well as the other prophets, were sent to confirm the belief in one God. This is referred to in the Quran where Jesus is reported as saying that he came:

"To attest the law which was before me, and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden you; I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear God and obey me."

Prophet Muhammad emphasized the importance of Jesus by saying:

"Whoever believes there is no god but Allah, alone without partner, that Muhammad is His messenger, that Jesus is a servant and messenger of God, His word breathed into Mary and a spirit emanating from Him, and that Paradise and Hell are true, shall be received by God into Heaven."

Alec Smart Said:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is Islam Merciful and Tolerant?

One Hindu friend happened to tell me something in a local Indian language (Hindi, no prizes here and there is no language like INDIAN also.. ) once which goes like this.

Islam allows stoning to death for the married woman if she has committed adultery. So much for Islamic mercy and tolerance!"

In Islam, justice and morality comes first. Right? Indecency and injustice (like what happened to Iraq and Afganistan) shoudnt have a place in the best way of life.. Right?


"If you do judge, judge between them justly. God loves the just."

(Our'an: 5:42)

"O You who believe! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for God alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, God is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, God is aware of what you do."

(Qur'an, 4:135)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ghulam Hassan Sofi | Dead

Melody King Of Kashmir Ghulam Hassan Sofi Is No More.

He contributed a significant lot to Kashmiri Classical Music..

He was born on July 8 in the year 1932 at Dalgate, near Dal Lake, Srinagar. He began his music career in early 1950's from the local radio station Radio Kashmir and became very popular with the masses.

He also sang for Doordarshan Kendra, Srinagar, and the Cultural Academy besides working as an instructor in the Song and Drama Dvision from 1967 to 1994.

Hassan Sofi, commonly knows as "Hassan Suif" had also received life time achievement award from the union Information Ministry and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah award from the state government in 2006.

His most famous song " Afsus Duniya " is loved by all and describes the stages of life for a man from birth to death. Friend from "Kashmiri Overseas Association" |
have a collection of his songs. presents a few of their links (some of his personal favourites that is... :)

Afsoos Duniya kansiya' na lob samsaar sity'e

Ch logath soram chachm'n , may koratham dil ubalayee

Nyaree latee'e, bar ch vathiyey'e

Chana'e bar tal ravam racha'e aawaaz vach'e no

Zamanai pokene hamdam

Rozoo rozoo bozoo

Grees Kouri

(These songs require you to use REAL PLAYER media player. A free version can be downloaded at , TQ)

Alec Smart Said

إِنَّكَ مَيِّتٌ۬ وَإِنَّہُم مَّيِّتُونَ

"Truly thou wilt die (one day), and truly they (too) will die (one day)."
Surah Al Zumar (39:30)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

When people sneeze | Then People Say:

When someone sneezes:

1) In a Public Place

Christians: Oh Excuse Me
Muslims: Alhamdulillah

2) When alone

Christians: God Damn It
Muslims: Alhamdulillah

Alex Smart Said: Contrary to popular Christian belief, "Damn It" is not God's last name.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kashmir as they see it | BASIM AMIN

Copied innocently from


He is shrouded in a long “phiran” and the traditional cap. He sits outside his mud house where he takes long deliberate sips of “Noon Chai” from that typica

l round cup.

His fellow is busy setting up the strange “Jajeer” by blowing gallons of air into it, making all sorts of weird noises. He is “Gaffar-Kak”. He is a stereotype Kashmiri. A Kashmiri that the outside world knows – for that is the way he is portrayed.

The electronic media undoubtedly has a great role in shaping up the views and opinions of people regarding everything.

Most of the visuals circulated the world over about Kashmir have time and again shown “Gaffar-Kak” sipping the same cup of “noon chai” while his fellow continues to set up the same “Jajeer”. This ambiguity, as expected, has had bizarre implications. While a good percentage of people are well aware of Kashmir in its true flavour, there exist these eerie people as well, who think of Kashmir as a far flung village stuffed with not so literate people possibly earning their livelihood by pushing bulls and ploughing fields. The unwarranted unawareness that people sometimes exhibit about Kashmir leaves you flabbergasted.

I still remember this incident while I was putting up at a more “reputed” town in India. A Kashmiri friend of mine was proudly boasting to his colleague about Kashmir. “You know Apples; the ones you sell with stickers on them saying ‘OK TESTED’; the ones you sell for 20 rupees each. They are so abundant in Kashmir that you will find them scattered in gutters!” He went on and on about all the things and finally hit cricket! “Kashmiris are fanatic about cricket. You know? We are excellent at it. You will find people playing cricket everywhere day in and day out.”The colleague was somehow not ready to buy this story. “I don’t quite understand….How can you play cricket in Kashmir? How is it possible? I mean, does the ball not roll down everytime you hit it????” Poor fellow, all this time he was under the impression that Kashmir was a small town located on the slope of some undistinguished hill. “It is a valley dear, remember. A valley is surrounded by those things, the mountains, and then you have thousands of acres of level ground in between.” While this kind of unawareness puts you off, it is very prevalent. Many of my friends actually managed to ask me the silliest question ever, “Do we need a passport to go to Kashmir???”

It comes as an absolute shock to people like these when they finally get to visit the “Jannat-e-Benazir”. Quite recently I met such a group from Mumbai. The group had arrived at Srinagar just a couple of hours ago. It was but obvious from their expressions that they were mesmerized, to say the least, by the sublime view, the Dal Lake had to offer. Poor guys, they clearly were getting a lot more than they could have ever expected. I felt a titillating pleasure inside me as I saw my Kashmir ravish them to bits. I asked one of them rather sardonically, “Hey uncle…How is the view?” He was lost for words, “It`s…It`s good, great…In fact, I have never seen anything like this before!” He was quite a jovial guy. We talked for some more time before he asked me a question that struck me as a little awkward, “Where are you from?” I replied, “I am a native. I am from Srinagar.” Somehow he found it hard to swallow so he asked again, “You mean you are from Srinagar?” I said, “Yes, of course.” It took me nothing less than a couple of more assertions to make him absorb the fact. We talked about the weather and the market and the situation and just about everything else before he suddenly interrupted me again, “Are you sure you are from Srinagar?” I could take no more. I shot back, “Why is it so hard to digest UNKAL?” He hesitated a little but then broke out, “I had a totally different image of Kashmiris in my mind. I could never imagine, even in the wildest of my dreams, a Kashmiri speaking English!” I smiled as I immediately understood that he was referring to our good old “Gaffar-Kak”. I said in a typical Kashmiri accent, “Welcome to Kashmir UNKAL. You will definitely return a changed man!”

As changed men they do return, only that there are only a diminutive number of them. Of the oceans of people out there, it`s only a fraction that gets to visit Kashmir and come face to face with – its reality –the charisma of its vibrant colors and the tranquility of its unending meadows; the warmth of the hearts of its people and the tales of its unsung heroes . Others, more often than not, recognize the valley only by the masquerade of strife, turmoil and sometimes beauty.

Monday, November 2, 2009

India and Pakistan | Friends or....

Syed Muzammil Hussain

Alec Smart: While this article looks promising, I would like to stress yet again that there should be no nationalism and we should be one and only one Ummah. Period. Thanks to our guest writer Mr. Syed Muzammil Hussain for this brilliant write-up. I have tried to highlight a few points in red and dark red, please pay special attention to them.

A recent news item in various Indian, Pakistani and Indian
Administrated Kashmir papers says:

"The Indian High Commission in Pakistan has denied visa to a peace
activist, Ershad Mehmood, who along with 17 other delegates was
scheduled to attend the 4th intra-Kashmir Conference held in Srinagar
recently. The High Commission refused the visa to Mehmood, a writer
and columnist, at the eleventh hour for reasons not revealed.
Reacting to the action, Mehmood, who is a fellow of Intra-Kashmir
Dialogue, told that the conference was aimed at providing a unique
opportunity to Kashmiris on both sides of the line of control to
develop a broad-based understanding and to know each others’
viewpoint. “If the governments of India and Pakistan impose undue
restrictions on political activists, the Kashmiri civil society and
its representatives, to get together, and do not facilitate the
dialogue, then it would certainly be difficult to restore the
composite dialogue process,” he said, adding that the unjustified
impediments in the talks among all the stakeholders would also have
serious implications and repercussions on the over all political
situation in the region. He added that if an concerted cooperative
effort is not dedicated by the governments, the situation may thus
endanger a well cherished process of multilateral peaceful dialogue
to the Kashmir issue.
Pertinently Ershad Mehmood, an advocate of Intra-Kashmir dialogue, has
been regularly attending the conferences held in Jammu, Srinagar and
New Delhi. He is the first journalist from AJK who visited Kashmir in
2001. He writes in various national and international journals on
Kashmir and the Indo-Pak relations have been the focus of his most
professional journalistic writings over the past 20 years. He has also
been engaged in the Track-II discussions being held at different
The sad news of denial of Indian visa to Ershad Mehmood is seen by
some analysts as a “Good” omen, because it is likely to serve as an
eye-opener message to all the people of the sub-continent who have a
sense and value human dignity for a larger communal interest. Ershad
was born in Rawala Kot, Azad Kashmir, a Pakistani administered part of
Kashmir which was a united territory before the sub-continent was
divided into two countries i.e. India and Pakistan on 14th August
1947. Subsequently, Kashmir was further fragmented into various
parts; namely Indian Held Kashmir, Azad Kashmir (Under Pakistani
administration) and Gilgit Baltistan, without any administration for
60 years.
As a son of the soil every Kashmiri, who was born in any part of the
divided motherland, has an undisputed and undeniable right to travel
to any part of his/her territory. This right has never been given to
Kashmiris. Instead, they were forced to travel between Pakistan and
India on visa documents, e.g. a Kashmiri living in Baramula has to
obtain a visa from Pakistani Mission in New Delhi to travel to
Muzaffarabad. Like wise another Kashmiri living in Muzaffarabad has to
obtain a visa from Indian Mission in Islamabad in order to travel to
Srinagar. It is very interesting that distance on a direct route
between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad is only 130 kilometers or 75 miles.
It is rather ironical and tyrannical that sons of the soil are
deprived of their in-born right to move freely in their own
motherland. In some cases, where sons-daughters and even parents are
separated due to uncalled for territorial restrictions, and wishing to
see and meet their near and dear have to wait for years to get a
proper visa.
Keeping in view this situation, both India and Pakistan agreed to
start a bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad and to open some
crossing points for travel within divided Kashmir, but this
arrangement did not bring fruitful results for Kashmiris because
procedure to get a permit to travel to any part of the divided land is
very complicated and cumbersome. Both the countries have restricted
movement between divided parts of Kashmir to blood relations only.
This implies that a person who has no blood relation in either parts
of the divided land, is not entitled to and thus unable to travel
within his/her own territory. The world, as a global village, is
moving towards borderless states, but Kashmiris are forced to live
under heavily guarded territorial restrictions. This pathetic
situation requires urgent action from intelligencia. People at the
helm of affairs are expected to make changes in the present laws,
which are a major impediment to the Kashmiris’ for free movement
within their homeland. For example I was born in Pakistani side of
Kashmir and I have no blood relations in other side of the divided
land. Same is the case of Mr. Ershad Mahmood, who was born in
Rawlakot. He has a passion to work for his motherland but has no
blood relation in Indian Administrated area. Legally, inhabitants of
all parts of Kashmir should be allowed to travel without any
hindrances, hurdles and restrictions, which are unjustified and are
created by the so-called bureaucracies of India and Pakistan.
Mr. Ershad Mahmood’s case is just one indication of this irony. There
are millions of Kashmiris, who wait for ages to get permission to
travel to other parts and eventually breath their last in just waiting
for a favourable reply to their visa request. Srinagar is just 130 km
(75 miles) from Muzaffarabad but unfortunately both the bureaucracies
have divided this territory in a way that Kashmiris, if allowed, have
to travel all along thousands of kilometres to meet their near and
dear at their destinations. This attitude requires urgent change of
minds towards a human cause.
This change of mind should come from people who have respect for human
values. Both India & Pakistan are spending heavily on their defence.
Why, because they are afraid of each other and feel permanently
threatened. Both nations have deployed their forces on the Kashmiri
forefronts. A huge expenditure on defence needs on both alienated
sides have placed their people in a very precarious position and are
thus made to live far below the international poverty line. Basic
infrastructures are lacking. Hospitals are jam-packed with huge
turn-out of patients but no proper medical services and medicines are
available. Youth are largely deprived of their right to get proper
education. Environment is shabby and developing into slums and kiosks
endangering the general life and health standards. Alas, what a
grief-stricken situation we, the Kashmiris are in?

The history of Kashmir issue is a painful story of shameful
retractions from solemn pledges, of tall claims on the stage and
devilish misdeeds behind the curtain, of might throttling the right,
of misrepresentation of facts and misinterpretation of agreements and
of colonialistic approach to a problem concerning decolonisation. It
is also a sad story of a simple problem being changed into an
imbroglio by vested interests to avoid its equitable solution, of the
basic right of self-determination being sacrificed at the altar of the
selfish interests of bigger nations and international power politics.
Besides being one of the most interesting but dangerous byproducts of
the partition of Indian Sub-continent, creation of Kashmir issue was
also an ill-conceived plan to keep India and Pakistan fighting and
weakening each other so that they could not get strong enough to pose
any danger to outgoing but fast fading British colonialism.


Only way out is to make Kashmir a bridge of friendship between India &
Pakistan as by adopting this approach both the nations can reduce
tensions and conflicts. For example
1) Pakistan can gain from economic contracts with India.
2) India can gain if it gets road access to Central Asia.
3) Both nations will have less violence, more peace means more tourism.
4) If they start complementing each other, we can influence world
decisions. Instead of subtraction we will be adding to well being of
all the citizens of India, Pakistan and Kashmir. Then a Kashmiri
living in any part of his/her motherland will have an opportunity to
travel freely to any part of his/her territory. Both Pakistan & India
shall prosper contributing towards world peace and stability. Then a
time will come to enable millions like me to travel to Sri Nagar from
Muzaffarabad in early hours of the day and return to the home in the
evening. This is quite possible because if two Germanys can bury their
differences, why should not both India & Pakistan? Scandinavian
countries are most prosperous in the world. Why? Because they have no
enmities and they are not hostile to each other. They live in a
friendly atmosphere. India & Pakistan fought five wars. Thousands were
sacrificed at the alters of egos of their rulers. But for What?
Obviously for Kashmir. Yes, they (people of India and Pakistan) can
benefit from Kashmir if they make it a bridge of friendship. A
Pakistani living in Lahore or Faisalabad or Karachi or Peshawar or
Quetta has very right to travel to Sri Nagar or any other part of
Kashmir and like wise an Indian from Bombay or KolKutta or any other
part of India has right to visit any part of Kashmir to enjoy beauty
of nature. India and Pakistan have right to remain nuclear and possess
what they want, but they should not fall prey to Kashmir.
Kashmir should not be allowed to be a bone of contention for ever.
Britain sow the seed of hatred in the sub-continent. They wanted to
make the sub-continent a milking-cow for them even after their return
from this region. Both India and Pakistan had produced world class
genius leaders like Gandhi & Jinnah who never thought of enmities. But
both the leaders passed away in early period of 1948 and both the
nations spoiled their resources in last 62 years.
Now after 62 years of foolishness, both the nations should realize to
bury their differences for their future generations.

Here is a brief description of Indo-Pak defence situation along with
an over view of Kashmir.


The supreme command of the Armed Forces is vested in the president. As
well as armed forces of 1,325,000 personnel in 2008 there are
1,721,000 active paramilitary forces including 208,000 members of the
Border security Force based manly in the troubled Jammu and Kashmir
region. Military service is voluntary but, under the amended
constitution, it is regarded as a fundamental duty of every citizen to
perform National service when called upon. Defence expenditure in 2005
was US$21,726m (US$ 20 per Capita and 2.7% of GDP). India’s spending
on major conventional weapons was second only to that of china at
US$10.2bn-in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 China’s expenditure was higher,
although in 2003 that of India (at US$2.9bn) was the highest in the
world. In Sept. 2003 India announced that it would be buying 66 Hawk
trainer fighter jets, with delivery expected by 2009. In Oct. 2003
agreement was reached for India to purchase Israel’s sophisticated
US$1bn. Phalcon early-warning radar system.


India’s first nuclear test was in 1974. Its most recent test were a
series of five carried out in may 1998. According to the Stockholm
International Peace Research Institute, India’s nuclear arsenal was
estimated to consist of a minimum of 50 nuclear warheads in Jan. 2007.
India, known to have a nuclear weapons programme, has not signed the
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty, which is intended to bring
about a ban on any nuclear explosions. According to Deadly Arsenals,
published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, India has
chemical weapons and has a biological weapons research programme. In
2006 the USA and India announced a civil nuclear co-operation
initiative. Under the terms of the deal, India was exempted from a ban
on nuclear energy sales that had previously covered non-signatories of
the International non-proliferation treaty, of which India is one. In
return India agreed to open up 14 of its 22 nuclear Installations to
international inspections. However, the deal has yet to be ratified.


The army is organized into six commands covering different areas,
which in turn are subdivided into sub-areas, plus a training command.
The strength of the Army in 2006 was 1.1m. There are four “RAPID’
divisions, 18 infantry divisions, ten mountain divisions, three
armoured divisions and two artillery divisions. Each division consists
of several brigades. Officers are trained at the Indian Military
Academy, Dehra Dun (Uttarakhand). Army reserves number 300,000 with a
further 500,000 personnel available as a second-line reserve force.
There is a volunteer territorial army of 40,000. There are numerous
paramilitary groups including the Ministry of Defence Rashtriya Rifles
(numbering 57,000), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (36,300) the state
Armed Police (450,000), the civil Defence (500,000) the central
Industrial security Force (94,000) and the Ministry of Home Affairs
Assam Rifles (63,900). An Army aviation Corps was established in 1986.


The Navy has three commands; Eastern (at Visakhapatnam), Western (at
Bombay) and southern (at Kochi), the latter a training and support
command. The fleet is divided into two elements, Eastern and Western;
and well-trained, all-volunteer personnel operate a mix of soviet and
western vessels. In May 2003 india held joint naval exercises with
Russia in the Arabian Sea for the first time since the collapse of the
Soviet Union.
The Principal ship is the light aircraft carrier, Viraat, formerly HMS
Hermes, of 29,000 tonnes, completed in1959 and transferred to the
Indian Navy in 1987 after seeing service in the Falklands War. In 2003
india began construction of another aircraft carrier and began
negotiations to purchase a third from the Russian navy. The fleet
includes 12 soviet-built submarines and 4 new German design
submarines. There are also 25 destroyers and frigates. The Naval Air
force was 7,000 strong in 2006: equipment includes 34 combat aircraft.
Main bases are at Bombay (main dockyard), Goa, Visakhapatnam and
Calcutta on the sub-continent and Port Blair in the Andaman Islands.
Naval Personnel in 2006 numbered 55,000 including 5,000 Naval Air Arm
and 1,200 marines.


Units of the IAF are organized into five operational commands central
at Allahabad, Eastern at Shillong, Southern at Thiruvananthapuram,
South-Western at Gandhinagar and Western at Delhi. There is also a
training command and a maintenance command. The air force has 170,000
Equipment includes more than 850 combat aircraft. Major combat types
include su-30s, MiG-21s, MiG23s, MiG-27s, MiG-29s, Jaguars and Mirage
2000s. Air Force reserves numbered 140,000 in 2006.


A council for Defence and National Security was set up in Jan. 1997,
comprising the President, the Prime Minister, the Ministers of
Defence, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Finance and the Military Chiefs of
Staff. The Council advised the government on the determination of
national strategy and security priorities, but was disbanded in Feb.
1997. The Council was revived in Oct. 1999 following the change of
government but was to have a wider scope and not restrict itself to
defence matters.
Pakistan provides the largest contingent of peacekeepers to the United
Nationals of any country. At Aug. 2007 there were 10,616 personnel
serving in 12 different missions.
Defence expenditure in 2005 totalled US$4,050m. (US$25 per capita),
representing 3.7% of GDP.


Pakistan began a secret weapons programme in 1972 to reach parity with
India, but was restricted for some years by US sanctions. The
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that
Pakistan possesses a minimum of 60 nuclear weapons. In May 1998
Pakistan carried out six nuclear tests in response to india’s tests
earlier in the month. Pakistan, known to have a nuclear weapons
programme, has not signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty,
which is intended to bring about a ban on any nuclear explosions.
According to Deadly Arsenals, Published by the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace, Pakistan has both chemical and biological weapon
research programmes.


Strength (2004) 550,000. There were also about 292,000 personnel in
paramilitary units: National Guard, Frontier Corps and Pakistan
Rangers. Army reserves number around 500,000. In April 2004, the army
announced a cut-back of 50,000 soldiers.
Most armoured equipment is of Chinese origin including over 2,400 main
battle tanks. There is an air wing with fixed-wing aircraft and 21
attack helicopters.


The combatant fleet includes seven French-built diesel submarines,
three midget submarines for swimmer delivery and eight ex-British
frigates. The Naval Air wing operates six combat aircraft and nine
armed helicopters.
The principal naval base and dockyard are at Karachi, Naval personnel
in 2004 totalled 24,000. There is marine force personnel in 2004
totalled 24,000. There is a marine force estimated at 1,400 personnel
and naval reserves of 5,000.


The Pakistan Air Force came into being on 14 August 1947. It has its
headquarters at Peshawar and is organized within three air defence
sector, in the northern, central and southern areas of the country.
There is a flying college at Risalpur and an aeronautical engineering
college at Korangi Creek.
Total strength in 2004 was 415 combat aircraft and 45,000 personnel.
Equipment included Mirage IIIS, Mirage 5s, F-16s, Q-5s and J-7s. There
were 8,000 Air Force reservists.
(The Statesman’s Year Book 2009, Published by Palgrave Macmillan, New
York, USA.)



1. Officially termed as Jammu Kashmir State and surrounded by
Pakistan, India, China and Afghanistan, Kashmir has a population of
over 16 million, more than individual populations of as many as133
independent nations of the world
2. For longer part of its history, Kashmir enjoyed its identity with
its frontiers expanding and shrinking periodically. Kashmir reached
the zenith of its glory and prosperity when it was free of others’
3. The economic potentials of Kashmir are such that within a decade or
two of its re-unification, it can become the most prosperous territory
of the region. Kashmir is called “Switzerland of Asia” and “Nature’s
Show-Window” for its fascinating natural beauty and climate most
pleasant and full of health. Kashmir valley and Gilgit Baltistan in
particular are famous the world-over also for dozens of sky high-peaks
including K-2 and Nanga Parbat. All this can invite millions of
tourists every year. Kashmir is very rich in water resources and can
generate electricity on a large scale that is badly needed by its
neighboring countries. Fruit, timber, minerals and herbs are found in
abundance in different parts of the State. The handicrafts of Kashmir,
famous the world-over, can prove a valuable asset. Watch making
industry, already functioning in Srinagar on a small scale, can be
4. The overall literacy rate in Kashmir is higher than that of both
India and Pakistan.
5. Both India and Pakistan are committed, through their declarations
made on national and international level, to Ronour will of Kashmiris.
6. Kashmir has an area of 222,000 sq. Kms. spread over five regions,
Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Ladakh under Indian control since 1948 and
Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan under Pakistan. The population of
Indian administrated areas is over 10 million and those living in Azad
Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and abroad number over 6 million (Various

Syed Muzammil Hussain


Syed Muzammil Hussain is PR practitioner, a freelance columnist, a multilingual translator, social worker, and a media consultant. Internationally experienced but a Kashmiri by heart. Our site is proud to publish his works. 


India and Pakistan | Friends or....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

That Day When Kashmir Was Occupied

62 years ago on this day (October 27, 1947) India landed its army at Srinagar airport to occupy Kashmir. The disaster would have happened, but could have not continued, if the political foot soldiers, like the one mentioned below, had not been first cultivated by the Indian state. While narrating the events of 1947 in his autobiography 'My Life and Times'(1992: Allied Publishers, New Delhi, India, p39)The late Syed Mir Qasim, once a puppet chief minister of Kashmir, and himself a front-ranking foot soldier, writes::

"...As they [Indian Army] landed at the airport some of them killed a few Muslims. This shocked and infuriated the local people who were there to welcome the Indian army as their savior. The shocked people thought of carrying their dead ones to Jamia Mosque in a procession. This could have created an uncontrollable situation and turned the people's anger against India instead of the invaders and perhaps could have given a different direction to the history of Kashmir. No Kashmiri leader, including Sheikh Abdullah, could possibly stem this uprising. But Khawaja Ghulam Mohiuddin Qarra intervened and managed to stop the procession at Lal Chowk. He talked the mob out of its procession plan so convincingly that one of them stood up to shout that his son was among those dead, but he would sacrifice another son if Khawja Qara so demanded. The mob was pacified..."

The two foot soldiers, one who is talking and the other who is being talked about, both are no more. Gone from this world after breathing in their allocated volume of Oxygen. However, the misery their actions, as well as of those like them, brought still persists. We have to take on the burden, do what best we can to end the misery, and secure the future of coming generations.

Alec Smart Said: "62 years only.. We have a lot to go.."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The One With The Dancing Farooq Abdullah


When Omar Abdullah Prayed

Now When Farooq Abdullah Prayed


Alec Smart Said : Dil Mein Meray Hai Dard e Disco..

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Can Christians Drink Alcohol?

Recently I had a chance to visit Singapore. A really nice place for the materialistic homo sapien of this age. One thing I want to mention is that their public bathrooms dont have running water. And the best thing is that many of you in the so called "developed countries" might laugh at my observation (maybe because 'no-water' common in their lands-get a life fellows.). Ugghh!! So called Developed White Man..

I happened to visit a very popular place called Merlion Park. Its a place where people come and look at the mighty structure of the lion-mermaid thingy which is like the symbol of Singapore.

The Merlion..

There was like a big chain of bars nearby, happy white people driniking to their fill. I started thinking, " Foolish People ". Then I realised, did their religion really permit them to drink, or is it that the "ever-changed-Christianity" didnt even speak about drinking.

Once again, with a question in my mind, I looked up the internet. (Call me the modern researcher), and once again I am not too sure of the source as I couldnt look up the real texts and confirm with what is there in the internet. So I trust the internet (Not Recommended.. hehe)

Islam does not permit having alcohol in any form:

يَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلۡخَمۡرِ وَٱلۡمَيۡسِرِ‌ۖ قُلۡ فِيهِمَآ إِثۡمٌ۬ ڪَبِيرٌ۬ وَمَنَـٰفِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثۡمُهُمَآ أَڪۡبَرُ مِن نَّفۡعِهِمَا‌ۗ وَيَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلِ ٱلۡعَفۡوَ‌ۗ كَذَٲلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمُ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ لَعَلَّڪُمۡ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ

Qur'an 2:219

They ask thee concerning wine (strong drink) and gambling.
Say: "In them is great sin and some profit for men;
but the sin is greater than the profit."


"Is there any indication that Jesus drank alcohol? Can Christians drink alcohol?"

The Bible is very clear that drunkenness is a sin:
"Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy." (Romans 13:13)

"But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat." (1 Corinthians 5:11)

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

"The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21)

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." (Ephesians 5:18)

"For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do--living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead." (1 Peter 4:3-5)

I hope you have read that my brothers.. Comments are welcome as always.

Alec Smart said:.. and now for the smart people who think Jesus had alcohol, do peek in here...


China Gives visas to Kashmiris but not on Indian Passport

The Chinese embassy has recently issued stamped visas to Kashmiris on a separate sheet of paper and not on their passports. Beijing says Kashmir is a disputed territory, and India is occupying illegally on Kashmir.

Source: Youtube

Alec Smart Said : "From Chandi Chowk To China, and from China , With Love "

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

13 October 2009

I am in the CAD lab. Making a stapler. Wish me best of luck! :)

and some other updates (no big boring articles for this post):

The Semester is about to come to an end.
I lost my wallet a few days back.
The CAD teacer hates me (!!)
I hate the rest (!!)

IIUM is almost same.. Some people are graduating this time of the year. The new complex is almost ready to be opened for public. Nasi Goreng Special is fantastic. and my Farm in Farmvile (FACEBOOK) is growing..

Oh and...
I am thinking of a minor, so i get to choose one of these as one:
1. Economics
2. Management
3. IRKHS (Islamic Revealed Knowledge)

I am stuck between choosing Number 1 and Number 3.. I think I will go with Number 3. Then I can Debate better :D (and blog much much better)

Am thinking of growing a beard too.. But Alas! the beard doesnt want me.. So I will wait for sometime until it comes !!!

Alec Smart Said: A muslim with a beard may not be a good muslim in other respects (email me and i can give you thousands of examples). So stop judging our DEEN based on the acts of such bearded people.. Or Just compare Mamoon (no beard) with ShahRukh Khan (no beard again... Ooops.. )

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A New Cold War in Kashmir

Read more at:

Speaking of consensus, there's the small and ever-present matter of Kashmir. When it comes to Kashmir the consensus in India is hard core. It cuts across every section of the establishment -- including the media, the bureaucracy, the intelligentsia, and even Bollywood.

The war in the Kashmir valley is almost 20 years old now, and has claimed about 70,000 lives. Tens of thousands have been tortured, several thousand have "disappeared," women have been raped, tens of thousands widowed. Half a million Indian troops patrol the Kashmir valley, making it the most militarized zone in the world. (The United States had about 165,000 active-duty troops in Iraq at the height of its occupation.) The Indian Army now claims that it has, for the most part, crushed militancy in Kashmir. Perhaps that's true. But does military domination mean victory?

How does a government that claims to be a democracy justify a military occupation? By holding regular elections, of course. Elections in Kashmir have had a long and fascinating past. The blatantly rigged state election of 1987 was the immediate provocation for the armed uprising that began in 1990. Since then elections have become a finely honed instrument of the military occupation, a sinister playground for India's deep state. Intelligence agencies have created political parties and decoy politicians, they have constructed and destroyed political careers at will. It is they more than anyone else who decide what the outcome of each election will be. After every election, the Indian establishment declares that India has won a popular mandate from the people of Kashmir.

In the summer of 2008, a dispute over land being allotted to the Amarnath Shrine Board coalesced into a massive, nonviolent uprising. Day after day, hundreds of thousands of people defied soldiers and policemen -- who fired straight into the crowds, killing scores of people -- and thronged the streets. From early morning to late in the night, the city reverberated to chants of "Azadi! Azadi!" (Freedom! Freedom!). Fruit sellers weighed fruit chanting "Azadi! Azadi!" Shopkeepers, doctors, houseboat owners, guides, weavers, carpet sellers -- everybody was out with placards, everybody shouted "Azadi! Azadi!" The protests went on for several days.

The protests were massive. They were democratic, and they were nonviolent. For the first time in decades fissures appeared in mainstream public opinion in India. The Indian state panicked. Unsure of how to deal with this mass civil disobedience, it ordered a crackdown. It enforced the harshest curfew in recent memory with shoot-on-sight orders. In effect, for days on end, it virtually caged millions of people. The major pro-freedom leaders were placed under house arrest, several others were jailed. House-to-house searches culminated in the arrests of hundreds of people.

Once the rebellion was brought under control, the government did something extraordinary -- it announced elections in the state. Pro-independence leaders called for a boycott. They were rearrested. Almost everybody believed the elections would become a huge embarrassment for the Indian government. The security establishment was convulsed with paranoia. Its elaborate network of spies, renegades, and embedded journalists began to buzz with renewed energy. No chances were taken. (Even I, who had nothing to do with any of what was going on, was put under house arrest in Srinagar for two days.)

Calling for elections was a huge risk. But the gamble paid off. People turned out to vote in droves. It was the biggest voter turnout since the armed struggle began. It helped that the polls were scheduled so that the first districts to vote were the most militarized districts even within the Kashmir valley.

None of India's analysts, journalists, and psephologists cared to ask why people who had only weeks ago risked everything, including bullets and shoot-on-sight orders, should have suddenly changed their minds. None of the high-profile scholars of the great festival of democracy -- who practically live in TV studios when there are elections in mainland India, picking apart every forecast and exit poll and every minor percentile swing in the vote count -- talked about what elections mean in the presence of such a massive, year-round troop deployment (an armed soldier for every 20 civilians).

No one speculated about the mystery of hundreds of unknown candidates who materialized out of nowhere to represent political parties that had no previous presence in the Kashmir valley. Where had they come from? Who was financing them? No one was curious. No one spoke about the curfew, the mass arrests, the lockdown of constituencies that were going to the polls.

Not many talked about the fact that campaigning politicians went out of their way to de-link Azadi and the Kashmir dispute from elections, which they insisted were only about municipal issues -- roads, water, electricity. No one talked about why people who have lived under a military occupation for decades -- where soldiers could barge into homes and whisk away people at any time of the day or night -- might need someone to listen to them, to take up their cases, to represent them.

The minute elections were over, the establishment and the mainstream press declared victory (for India) once again. The most worrying fallout was that in Kashmir, people began to parrot their colonizers' view of themselves as a somewhat pathetic people who deserved what they got. "Never trust a Kashmiri," several Kashmiris said to me. "We're fickle and unreliable." Psychological warfare, technically known as psy-ops, has been an instrument of official policy in Kashmir. Its depredations over decades -- its attempt to destroy people's self-esteem -- are arguably the worst aspect of the occupation. It's enough to make you wonder whether there is any connection at all between elections and democracy.

The trouble is that Kashmir sits on the fault lines of a region that is awash in weapons and sliding into chaos. The Kashmiri freedom struggle, with its crystal clear sentiment but fuzzy outlines, is caught in the vortex of several dangerous and conflicting ideologies -- Indian nationalism (corporate as well as "Hindu," shading into imperialism), Pakistani nationalism (breaking down under the burden of its own contradictions), U.S. imperialism (made impatient by a tanking economy), and a resurgent medieval-Islamist Taliban (fast gaining legitimacy, despite its insane brutality, because it is seen to be resisting an occupation). Each of these ideologies is capable of a ruthlessness that can range from genocide to nuclear war. Add Chinese imperial ambitions, an aggressive, reincarnated Russia, and the huge reserves of natural gas in the Caspian region and persistent whispers about natural gas, oil, and uranium reserves in Kashmir and Ladakh, and you have the recipe for a new Cold War (which, like the last one, is cold for some and hot for others).

In the midst of all this, Kashmir is set to become the conduit through which the mayhem unfolding in Afghanistan and Pakistan spills into India, where it will find purchase in the anger of the young among India's 150 million Muslims who have been brutalized, humiliated, and marginalized. Notice has been given by the series of terrorist strikes that culminated in the Mumbai attacks of 2008.

There is no doubt that the Kashmir dispute ranks right up there, along with Palestine, as one of the oldest, most intractable disputes in the world. That does not mean that it cannot be resolved. Only that the solution will not be completely to the satisfaction of any one party, one country, or one ideology. Negotiators will have to be prepared to deviate from the "party line."

Of course, we haven't yet reached the stage where the government of India is even prepared to admit that there's a problem, let alone negotiate a solution. Right now it has no reason to. Internationally, its stocks are soaring. And while its neighbors deal with bloodshed, civil war, concentration camps, refugees, and army mutinies, India has just concluded a beautiful election. However, "demon-crazy" can't fool all the people all the time. India's temporary, shotgun solutions to the unrest in Kashmir (pardon the pun), have magnified the problem and driven it deep into a place where it is poisoning the aquifers.

Is Democracy Melting?

Perhaps the story of the Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world, is the most appropriate metaphor for the insanity of our times. Thousands of Indian and Pakistani soldiers have been deployed there, enduring chill winds and temperatures that dip to minus 40 degrees Celsius. Of the hundreds who have died there, many have died just from the elements.

The glacier has become a garbage dump now, littered with the detritus of war -- thousands of empty artillery shells, empty fuel drums, ice axes, old boots, tents, and every other kind of waste that thousands of warring human beings generate. The garbage remains intact, perfectly preserved at those icy temperatures, a pristine monument to human folly.

While the Indian and Pakistani governments spend billions of dollars on weapons and the logistics of high-altitude warfare, the battlefield has begun to melt. Right now, it has shrunk to about half its size. The melting has less to do with the military standoff than with people far away, on the other side of the world, living the good life. They're good people who believe in peace, free speech, and in human rights. They live in thriving democracies whose governments sit on the U.N. Security Council and whose economies depend heavily on the export of war and the sale of weapons to countries like India and Pakistan. (And Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, the Republic of Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan... it's a long list.)

The glacial melt will cause severe floods on the subcontinent, and eventually severe drought that will affect the lives of millions of people. That will give us even more reasons to fight. We'll need more weapons. Who knows? That sort of consumer confidence may be just what the world needs to get over the current recession. Then everyone in the thriving democracies will have an even better life -- and the glaciers will melt even faster.

Arundhati Roy was born in 1959 in Shillong, India. She studied architecture in New Delhi, where she now lives. She has worked as a film designer and screenplay writer in India. Roy is the author of the novel The God of Small Things, for which she received the 1997 Booker Prize. Her new book, just published by Haymarket Books, is Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. This post is adapted from the introduction to that book.

Read more at: