Sunday, April 24, 2011

This is also what happens in Kashmir

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Gossip Mongers

I used to be a neutral guy, never used to take any sides, except where I saw injustice was being done.

Now I have changed, thanks to handful of people who just regard me to be an object to get information, for the use in their construction of gossip. They think I dont know what they have termed me as, what nicknames they have given me. Then they act as innocent as a baby in front of me. They gossip to others about me, and those (stupid) others gossip to someone else about me, the chain continues, and finally it comes back to me..

Who gossips with you will gossip of you

One thing I have observed, that a gossip monger, after years of gossipping about others and thinking himself/herself to be perfect, is often faced with a situation that makes him/her a talk of the town. Usually the (in)fame is caused by a near/dear one, or the person himself. I have too many examples to be mentioned. What goes around comes around. I dont even have to mention all the Hadith related to gossip, the sin is grave enough

An advice, however well your condition is, however well off you are, you have absolutely no right to gossip about anyone else. REMEMBER IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!!! Take the example of people around you..

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The nightmares that Kashmiri roads are

If the state of our roads were an indication, we are soon to have one more summer of protest against the mis-governance

Saima Farhad

When the previous summer’s unrest broke out, many people tended to cite unemployment and misgovernance as important issues and factors responsible. Their argument was that a sort of anger and rage has developed amongst the common people, because of their frustration with the slow pace of development, which has made them to come out on the streets to protest.

Lets for a minute believe them. If that would have been the case then the government should have taken its cue, used the money flow from the ‘packages’ that came to prevent the unrest, and gone in for speedy development on all fronts. But is that the case.

If the state of our roads, which all of us ply on everyday, were an indication, then we are soon to have one more summer of protest against ‘the misgovernance’. And this time around no one would need to search for stones. The streets have no dearth of them.

Every single day, due to the dismal state of our roads, every single person here, loses time as well as money.  Be it a student, employee, a businessman, a hospital going patient, a doctor, a job seeker who has to go to an interview, everyone is losing time. Those who travel by bus get their journeys delayed because of the numerous potholes, and unplanned excavations where-in every government department is in a race to make a drain or lay a telephone cable or a water pipeline as soon as a road is repaired or completed. The roller coaster ride through the numerous bumps and the potholes sets the mood for the day for the commuter in the bus. And if he is in the overload, as most of us are, it sets a day for back ache too.  

A car owner’s nightmare is more fuel consumption, more loss of money and more damage to the car. The car mechanics in Srinagar are the happiest lot, because thanks to the government, they are making a quick buck.
The condition, our roads are in is worsened whenever there is even a drizzle, forget about moderate or heavy rain, or snow. The absence of a proper rain water drainage system, only adds to the situation, since the water stagnates on the road, leading to more damage to the roads.

The potholes become cesspools and the roads rivulets during rains. The potholes continue to store water long afterwards. Thus the government ensures that those who have to walk the road face the utmost difficulty. There is probably no one in Srinagar whose day has not been affected by the splash of muddy water from the pothole or the road, when a vehicle passed by.

The unrepaired roads are even unwalkable in the dry season because of the dust. You have to keep a handkerchief to your nose to walk even a small distance. But the handkerchief does not solve the problem completely. The occasional spec of duct finds its way into the eye, leading to a sordid time. It is not late for doctors to have a study on the prevalence of lung diseases and eye infections in Kashmir, due to the ever increasing dust on the roads.

At many places the roads have caved in. And this does not apply to mountainous terrain where there are natural reasons at work. These cave-ins instead of being repaired have been left as such, waiting for unknowing victims.

It is no surprise that the condition of roads has greatly increased the risk of accidents. The two wheelers face a particularly difficult plight where they not only have to protect themselves from the dust and mud, but also curve around potholes. Lives put intentionally at risk.

 Whenever a road is repaired elsewhere out of the state it is expected to have a particular time span. Let’s say, a year at minimum. But the repaired rod here reverts back to the state from which it was repaired in just two months at maximum. The contractors, fleeced by the government officials, assure that the worst quality product is put into road building and road repair. The money spent finds its way into the coffers of engineers, politicians, and contractors, and the common man suffers. Only if 40-50 percent of the approved money for each project would have been spent on actual work, things would have been much different. It is not as if people are demanding for American or European standards. Even standards employed elsewhere in the country would do. But in the face of an almost non-existent quality control mechanism, this can never happen.
Even if luckily a road gets repaired, soon some government department or agency finds it appropriate to start work on a new drainage project, and the road digging starts again. This happens so often, that there can be no co-incidence to it. There is no co-ordination among the various govt departments is an accepted fact, but there seems a deliberate attempt to start digging work as soon as a road is repaired. During the digging process, no care is taken of traffic diversions. Even if there is another road from inside the colony or the mohalla which commuters put to use, as an automatic diversion, somehow at the same time out of all the other places, digging starts there to undertake a long overdue public works project.  A comedy of errors, some would say. But it is too planned to seem random.       

And this digging and then reconstruction is a long long wait. The biggest problem with road projects, be it repair or construction, here is that they take ages and generations to complete. What should have been completed in a week, takes months, what should have been completed in a year takes decades. A mohalla road takes around the same time taken to complete a new metro lane in New Delhi.  

More so, even to the common eye the techniques put into use to construct and repair roads, seem right out the stone ages. There has lots of smoke, lots of dust, lots and lots of labour, and so on.

All this seems to be a deliberate and planned effort at failure. A calculated effort to steal public money and let it flow into coffers of those who know how to extravagantly overspend.

But since everything is supposed to be complicated in Kashmir, it may not be so simple. Maybe this is even a form of long and protracted community punishment being put into effect, to frustrate and slow down-greats achievements for those who have these goals in sight.

So, if we go by the state of our roads, then we are on the road to another summer of protest. Till then let the mechanics, the engineers, the politicians, the ministers-the odd and the even make merry. As someone pointed out, they make merry even then. It is always the commoners who suffer.

Author is Assistant professor, Department of Sociology and Social work University of Kashmir and can be mailed at

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Have You Ever

Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going?


Instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or pretend you forgot something or just mutter to yourself to ensure that no one around thinks you are crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Areeb and his airport tragedy

A couple of weeks back I had published this post about my friend Areeb, highlighting all his misfortunes. His life is so interesting and random.

He did it again today.

He missed his flight in the morning.

Somehow the traffic didn't let him through, and he was stuck in a traffic jam for 2 hours. He was last seen in a picture with Ronals McDonalds wearing a black jacket. The picture is just worth sharing, emotions- priceless

What do you think of this picture?

No seriously, there is something really wrong with the guy part of the picture. I mean why would do anything like that. Plus I dont like the money either... And I think the girl is wearing two watches, one on each hand. Looks like her time is over.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Private practice: Bane or boon?

Should a doctor employed by the government in a hospital to tend to the ill for a stipulated amount of time be allowed to practise at a clinic or not
Saima Farhad

A witch-hunt of sorts has been started against the doctors in Kashmir. The reason stated: private practice, wherein it is stated that doctors are too busy filling their own coffers and not tending to the ill in the hospitals. But does the argument stand.
First let us come to the basic question: should a doctor who is employed by the government in a hospital to tend to the ill for a stipulated amount of time, say 8 hours every day, be allowed to practise at a clinic or home, or not.

The people who say that he should not put his skill to use in tending to those in need beyond the stipulated 8 hours for which he is being paid should understand that by not allowing the doctor to practise they are depriving the society of quality healthcare. He is an asset to the society who can give more. And he has every right to charge for this service. Why should he see people, who can afford to pay, free of cost? It is not as if he is forcing anyone to come to the clinic. People who do not go to the hospital, and instead prefer to come to the clinic have their reasons and freedom to choose so.
And it is not at all the case that a doctor will be able to give full attention to a patient in a hospital OPD when 300 more patients are waiting outside. If a patient wants more attention than what is being given to him in a hospital then if he has no problem in a paying a fee, what is the problem of the government. The same OPD time of the doctor can be availed by a poorer patient. But if we are insisting that a doctor not see patients beyond the hospital hours we are, actually, putting more burden on the overburdened hospitals, and compounding the problems of poorer patients.
This leads us to another question: why do people not want to come to the hospital? This, in itself, is self explanatory. Why stand in long queues and fight over the turn, when you can afford to go to a private clinic. Many of those who visit private clinics do not have the time to come to the hospital as OPDs as a rule function in their work hours. Going to the clinic in the early morning or the late afternoon solves their problem. Why should a person lose a work day to visit a hospital?

Then there is one more thing which must be taken into account: the doctors have an option to earn more if they prefer to work outside of the state or the country, as has been the case in many instances. If they chose to do this, then this will accelerate the brain drain form our society and create a vacuum which will affect the healthcare of the state.

All the arguments of those who oppose private practice cannot be rejected outrightly; if a doctor, who is on government rolls, prefers his private practice even during the time he should be in the hospital, then he should be punished with the most severe penalty, which may even include firing him outright from the Job, and even imprisonment. The time in which he has to be in the hospital, should not be compromised anyhow. For this, the government can come up with a stringent monitoring policy to see whether the doctor is coming to the hospital on time, and doing his work efficiently.

Also number of people raises this point which is related to the ‘Doctoral pride.’ A lot of doctors are not ready to listen to patients at all. They present an image that they know everything and patients know nothing. Then again there is the question of the sincerity a doctor puts into his work at the hospital. He can not afford to give second class treatment to the patients who visit him in the hospital intentionally.
Coming back to the question of private practice, one thing is for sure that there has to have regulations. The fees charged should not be enormous, and only certified doctors should be allowed the same.

Then there is the most important issue of supplementing the healthcare infrastructure. In this debate that issue has somehow lost.

Author is Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Social work, University of Kashmir and can be mailed at 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Google Wins Like Anything

I have Arabic Paper tomorrow and I have no mood to study, at all.. I needed a big distraction, something really cool to put me into study mood. Something which will tell me my whole day has been wasted and there are better things to do.

 So I opened my laptop, logged in, smiled at my Ubuntu desktop and opened Firefox. I went to and wanted to play with the automatic search suggestions from Google.

I looked up "why is there...".

I got "why is there a dead pakistani on my couch".

I smiled and went back to study.

Friday, April 1, 2011