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Abid Soffi
Saturday , September 07, 2013

The mountains echo of Zubin's music, but where are the Kashmiris?


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There are various aspects of the much-hyped and talked-about world renowned music conductor Zubin Mehta's concert in Kashmir. People who oppose it talk about its political implications on the Kashmir issue and people who support it call it a perfect platform to present the state at an international platform. People have been shouting on top of their voices on talk shows on national television. Opinions have been published by learned scholars and many who know nothing about Kashmir or music. There are many who have been debating it over evening tea in the comfort of their houses. But no one has actually bothered to know what the people of Kashmir feel about it. "I didn't choose Kashmir, Kashmir chose me." These are the words of Zubin Mehta. No matter how promising and majestic these words may appear to an outsider, but for the people of Kashmir this....


Saturday , January 19, 2013

Time for India to join hands with Bharat to curb crimes against women


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After the horrific Delhi gangrape incident which shook the nation to its foundation, people for the first time in one voice said 'No to crimes against women'. Experts even called the protests a real breakthrough in human consciousness, in terms of people waking up and understanding the centrality of the issue of ending violence against women. The protests were so intense that the government was forced to intervene and set up a fast-track court for a speedy trial. The government also promised the nation that measures will be taken to curb crimes against women. But after more than one month of the incident - have the rapes and crimes against the women stopped, or even decreased a little bit? The answer, ironically, is no. Everyday, there are reports of rapes and sexual harassment from all over the country. Delhi alone witnessed 45 rapes (three in a day on....


Sunday , September 02, 2012

Marriages no more a low-key affair in Kashmir


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With each culture evolving its own ways of celebrations, marriage is an event of lifetime. After a break during the Holy fasting month of Ramzan, the marriage season is back in the Kashmir valley, where hundreds of couples are entering into wedlock everyday. Surprisingly the butcher shops and those selling chicken remained closed since the marriage season started after the Eid-ul-Fitr with divisional authorities watching helplessly at a time when the government is functioning from the summer capital, Srinagar. A number of marriages were solemnised on the second day of Eid in the Kashmir valley, particularly in cities and towns. However, people living in rural and remote areas prefer to conduct marriages of their children after the farming season is over. On the contrary, in many remote and far flung areas marriages are solemnised even during snowfall in winter. It is believed that....


Saturday , August 04, 2012

Team Anna joining politics: SAD, MAD, BAD


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The recent decision of Team Anna, to use fast again as a weapon to force the UPA government to engage them in talks when there are differences between the core members on the issues, and its announcement of joining politics have been SAD, MAD and BAD. SAD: Because the movement, which had received overwhelming support from all shades of life: young, old, women and small children, irrespective of their political, religious and regional affiliations across the country was not carried forward in a planned manner to strengthen it further. It was truly a people's movement initially and Anna Hazare's fast was used as a major weapon to force the government to succumb. The strong wave across the country in favour of the movement forced the UPA government to announce introduction of the Lokpal Bill in Parliament. However, without considering it as their first victory towards the final goal,....


Saturday , July 28, 2012

Has Anna Hazare lost his aura among the masses?


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Anna Hazare and team are back in town but this time, not with much of a bang as they could muster the support of less than few thousand people in the first three days of their stir. After a breathless, word-by-word coverage of Hazare and his team last August, this time around the response has so far been cold. It seems that Team Anna is struggling, mainly because of contradiction within. The anti-graft agitation led by Hazare, which was seen as the second independence movement by the people across the country, who whole heartedly support it, has almost lost its sheen and direction with the passage of time. It is also ironic that Hazare, who was projected as the leader of masses (or so as we thought), has been reduced to just a mere figure. Team Anna's campaign against corruption appears like Hamlet, one of Shakespeare's plays,....


Saturday , July 21, 2012

Is Rahul Gandhi ready for the big role?


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Now with the presidential election a thing of the past, the Congress has finally decided to gear up for 'Mission 2014' with Rahul Gandhi announcing that he would play a more proactive role in the party and government. Rahul is projected as the young face of the Congress and one who will, in time, take over the reins of the party from Sonia Gandhi. Dubbed as the Prime Minister-in-waiting by the media, Rahul is expected to eventually become the Prime Minister if Congress and its allies retain power in 2014 national elections. Rahul, in his short political career of six years, has mostly worked at the grassroot level and it was just a matter of time before he was asked to join the mainstream. But the sudden desperation on behalf of the Congress to push Rahul up the ladder points to one important fact: the party has been....


Monday , August 15, 2011

Peaceful summer in Kashmir, calm before the storm?


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Everyone is satisfied that the summer in the Kashmir valley this season remained peaceful. Of course barring some incidents of stone pelting and strike calls by separatists. However, timely response by the government in most cases, including custodial death case of a youth in apple township of Sopore in north Kashmir. Though the separatists still dissatisfied, have helped to cool down the tempers and saved the situation from going out of control as last summer. Horrifying memories from last summer still saddens most of us back in the valley, when death of a youth in security force action in the down town resulted in about four month long turmoil, taking more than 120 lives. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abudullah too expressed his satisfaction over the peaceful summer while Union Home and other central ministers and leaders praised the state government for maintaining peace. But the question....


Friday , May 06, 2011

Will the change be enough to 'change' Bengal?


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New Delhi: With only two phases left in the West Bengal Assembly elections and the judgment day round the corner, the people of Bengal are keeping their fingers crossed, hopping change for better governance this time. However, change will be a distant dream for the people until they force the government, whosoever will be elected, to change the work culture among the babus, who are strong enough to sabotage any system. The journey of West Bengal elections can be compared to Hamlet, one of Shakespeare's plays, where everyone does what they are asked to do without questioning the might of the writer. The only difference here is that there are multiple writes (political parties) with same objective (to win) but with different approach. Be it CPM accusing TMC of being a Maoists sympathier or TMC accusing Left Front of having killed about 75,000 opposition workers. The....


Tuesday , April 12, 2011

Spring colours bring hope to Kashmir


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Finally the harsh winter is over with the arrival of spring in the Kashmir valley, which has woken up to life with fresh green tints having emerged on the frozen land and mountainside. However, this time due to late snowfall, high mountains are still under a blanket of snow. Not far away from the winter, the spring brings about changes even in the dress and eating habits of the people in the Kashmir, where the pussy willows and the daffodils are in blossom. Migratory birds had started arriving. Mustard has carpeted the countryside, almond trees are in flowers and willow branches are imbued in anticipation of sprouting buds. Kashmir is literally in bloom. However, late snowfall on upper reaches and rains in plains had turned the weather a bit cold. According to Khalid Bashir, poet and writer, who has written several books on Kashmir, the Kashmiris have....


Tuesday , March 22, 2011

Try out your hands on Kashmiri cuisine


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The state of Jammu and Kashmir is not only known as paradise on earth, but also for the hospitality across the globe. Wazwan is the Kashmir's most formal meal, which took hours of cooking and days of planning. The Secret behind the mouth-watering cuisine of the state lies in the books of history. The history of modern Kashmiri cuisine can be traced back to the 15th century invasion of India by Timur, and the migration of 1700 skilled woodcarvers, weavers, architects, calligraphers and cooks from Samarkand to the valley of Kashmir. The descendants of these cooks, the wazas, are the master chefs of Kashmir. The ultimate formal banquet in Kashmir is the royal Wazwan. Of its thirty-six courses. Majority of them can be preparations of meat, cooked overnight by the master chef, Vasta Waza, and his retinue of....


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