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Friday, 29 May 2009

MUZAFFARABAD - DAY 3


Thursday 21/05/09

Eating food and sleeping in public places have their undoubted hazards. The fact that my wife and two infant children are with me too, creates the added frustration of not having one's own secure environment, in which to eat and sleep.

Though I managed to complete my 17-day cycle ride without spending a single rupee, having my family with me necessitates expenditure. It's just as well that my family in the village has sent us some money, perhaps I can enjoy respite for a few days more. Though at almost 1,000 rupees a day on just basic necessities, it will not be many days before I'm back at square one. It's important that I activate the ex-patriate Kashmiri community in helping me agitate for positive change (ref. www.yughayar.net). Most people in the sub-continent jump at the chance of re-starting their lives in the "West".

Adopting a ready-made society in terms of the rule of law, security and economic opportunity is always going to be perceived as the easy way out. Very few people are willing to undergo the challenging, rough and tough life of improving their own society or region. Even fewer are willing to return, once they've tasted the good life. In that respect, perhaps I seek a fool's paradise. I'm committed nonetheless.

Juggling my personal requirements with improvising a strategy for positive change in society is no easy task. What makes it harder is when I come across people who have blind faith in Pakistan. They fail to see any fault in Pakistan's conduct over the past 62 years, rather they expect India to fall in line! It gets more absurd when they suggest that they have some sort of trump card up their sleeve/s, which will imminently force India to give up Kashmir!

There are many factors to blame for this rational abyss and atrophy. The education system narrowed during the colonial era and worsened after Independence enabling (sic) muslims to bite the bait of sectarianism. A "royal" aura and mindset (as if Muslims are born better than others and have a god given right to rule) curbed their evolutionary instincts. Tragically, they omitted the need for introspection and an understanding of the civilisational benefits that Islam gave to the world, particularly in it's first 1200 or so years of existence.

What I commonly opinionate to people is that, as long as this region fails to provide those 3 basic duties of security, rule of law and economic opportunity to it's people, they will continue to fall prey to the "needs and priorities" of the Western World. While the Far East and some aspects of Indian society have truly become dynamic, the rest of us continue to be mired in ills that follow from our leader's blind gaping at the "West".

While I listen to the lawyer's press conference in respect of Tuesday's farce, my positive reaction to talk of bringing accountability into society and stemming the police's seemingly unbridled power; is transformed into horror when one of the lawyers suggests that Pakistan should take full administrative control of Azad Kashmir!

How about Pakistan taking control of Pakistan as a pre-condition to such servitude, I dare ask?

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