Are you about to celebrate UT status? Read this before you do

By Rigzin Namphel

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This UT comes with no legislature. What does this mean? It means we have no power to make our own laws and all powers are held by the central government.

More importantly, this UT comes at the cost of Article 35(A) and 370. What does this mean? It means anyone can own land and settle in Ladakh i.e. the end of Ladakh as we know it – both in terms of our cultural heritage that’s been passed on from generation to generation and our natural environment.

There are barely 2 lakh people (Leh and Kargil combined) who speak the Ladakhi language and follow the Ladakhi customs and traditions. We are a minority from every perspective. So far, we have lost just business to outsiders. Next we will lose our jobs to outsiders. It won’t be too long before we lose our land to outsiders. Our land is much more than soil, rocks or minerals. Our land is tied to all aspects of our existence – culture, spirituality, language, family and identity. Without our land, we have no home and no culture.

To top it off – we live in a fragile ecosystem that’s delicate beyond measure. We have already seen the impact of 2-3 lakh visitors during the summer – from the waste they produce to the water crisis that ensues. Now imagine even more pressure on our limited resources. Once everything is used up, done and dusted – outsiders will move to another place with opportunity. What do you think will be left for Ladakhis then or does it not matter because by then, there might not even be ‘Ladakhis’ per se.

 

This article is copied from social media to create a data base of developments in Ladakh on a single platform. We encourage young writers from Ladakh to write their concerns at ladakhexpress[at]gmail.com

Contextualising the current Lok Sabha election in Kargil

By – Anwar A. Tsarpa

After concluding the counting process of the current Lok Sabha election in Ladakh, I was on the way to home from Degree college Kargil where the election counting process held. I took a sharing taxi towards home that had heated debate over the election result. Two people were overwhelmingly criticising the religious organisations for “repeatedly betraying” the people. We saw such disillusionment and distress among many other people in the region. Is this true that the religious organisations have betrayed the people? Or, this is handiwork of any third party to disappoint the people from religious organisations?

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Before answering the above two questions we must admit that we are doing three major mistakes in this political scenario. Firstly, we are looking all religious organisations with a single lens. We are not judging, how they are different from each other in their goals, ideologies, strategies and performance. We are judgemental in marking them on grade scale. Without looking at their contributions and objectives we are putting all in a single basket. All apples are not same. Some would generate more revenue than others depending on their quality. By putting all in a single basket we are undermining their efforts.

Secondly, while choosing the electoral candidate we are focusing on relationship, affiliations, personal interests and prejudice instead of agendas to fulfil. We are not aware of our political motives to fulfil by the potential candidate, once he gets successful in the election. In this particular election sentiments like Buddhist Vs Muslim, IKMT Vs ISK, Broqpa Vs Balti, Balti Vs Purki and many such affiliations were allegedly provoked in political rallies and speeches.

Instead of judging which side is using these unfair terms and means for political goals, the people are choosing candidates with prejudice. We all have ascribed an identity to ourselves that are prioritised over political agendas, moral principles and individual capabilities of candidates.

Thirdly, we are neglecting the basic fundamentals of Islam. In Islam principles comes first than majority. People are neglecting the fundamental principles of Islam while casting the vote. According to some Islamic prominent jurists casting vote is a “Faraiz” (obligation) like other Faraiz in Islam. While choosing the right candidate to cast vote one must admit the witness of God, and follow the principles of justice. While choosing candidate we must follow the principles of seniority, impartiality, ability, truthfulness, no nepotism etc.

Let’s come to the first question. To know whether the religious organisations are betraying people we must analyse and judge their decisions. Are their decisions in favour of the mass or they are benefitting some external agencies? Because, if you have closely analysed last few elections and particularly this election, you must have smelled handiwork of some external agencies infiltrating in Ladakh and particularly Kargil.

Their agenda, as some experts observed from their activities, is to weaken the religious organisations. To disappoint the people from religious organisations. Because religious organisations are the only powerful authorities that have the decision-making power in the region. With the existence of these organisations the external agencies would not be able to put forward their cultural, economic and political goals.

If an individual or an organisation whose decisions and actions are resulting in disappointment of people over religious organisations you must admit that he/they are playing in hand of an external agency. If the discord between religious organisations thwarted Kargil from electing a united candidate, that in turn resulted in disappointment of mass over them, it means the external agencies are successful in their goals. The religious organisations knowingly or unknowingly strengthening an external front who would erode their acceptance in the region.

Sometimes people wrongly compare Kargil with other districts and regions which is not right. Because agencies have already got huge hands in setting their puppet regimes in those regions while Kargil has thwarted them from doing so. It means people in Kargil are more aware than people in other regions. And you must continue this legacy of awareness to next level instead of losing them.

In the concluding words I would suggest not to put all individuals and organisations in a single basket. Judge who is right and wrong or who is at least better than its alternative. Focus on agenda-based politics rather than affiliations and prejudice. Don’t let the external agencies to erode your sovereignty or to take your part of decision.

Principles should be base to choose MP – Sheikh Anwar Hussain

 

Sh Anwar 1

In the name of God, the most beneficent, the most merciful. All the praise is for him. Blessings and peace upon the household of the prophet (saw) and his followers. Dear believers, men and women, the youth of the Ladakh region greetings to you all. We all gripped in the crisis of the election because of not able to unite the religious organisations over a single candidate. If they had united over a common candidate, we might not have to face all these problems. But unfortunately, two candidates came into the fray. Both the two organisations and some small organisations are campaigning in favour of one and against another.

In this regard, I want to deliver advice to you. I am offering this message from a nook of Qom, because of being a part of this society. Please listen to it and if you find it valid accept it otherwise throw it out.

Dear, we are forced to accept from among two candidates – Sajjad Kaksari and Asgar Karbalai. What should we do? Should we decide on based on the organisation or basis of principles? This is a matter of great examination for all of us.

I site you an example. If the government ask us to appoint a principal for a school from among many youths in the area, knowingly or unknowingly people would choose either of these two options in taking this decision: Amanathdary (Truthfulness) or Khayanat (betrayal). If the people of the area are truthful, no dispute will arise over the decision. They would say that the best, talented, and suitable should appoint as principal and there is no need for prolonged arguments. But if they are politically or materially motivated, they would get into a conflict of region, caste or religion and would appoint a less qualified person. Is this betrayal or truthful with the future of the children in the area? This is like chopping one’s legs with an axe. This is spoiling the future of children.

If one says that a new face is required, youth is needed, it is a betrayal. What should be the criteria? Aged or youth, Sheikh or Syed, minority or minority or quality matters? There is a particular requirement for the post of principal; so, one who possesses these requirements should appoint on the vacancy. That would be the best decision for the future of children.

Similarly, if appoint a CEC, for which the people have no direct right to appoint but appoint by the councillors, should nominate the best qualified from among themselves. There is development in areas, even in non-Muslim countries like Europe because of electing representatives with a principle. Principles should be the criteria rather than, age, region, party or something else. If followed principles in the appointment, then only justice is made with this particular post.

If I say in other words, I would say that this election is not between two individuals or between IKMT or ISK. This is a matter to decide the future of our region. Some say that because of two candidates in Kargil the seat would slip out of their hands. You should not concern only for Kargil but for the whole region. You should concern the entire country or state as the whole. Now you are not choosing a CEC or MLA but a Member of Parliament. This is a representative of the whole region not of a particular organisation, region, Sout, Karchay, Shakar Chiktan etc. This is not a matter to dispute based on region or Leh or Kargil. Even our intellect says that the best person from the area should appoint for the welfare of the whole region.

We should appoint the best person who would represent the Ladakh region among other around 500 MPs in the parliament. We may have someone more qualified, senior from them. But now in this current scenario, we have to choose the best from among these two. Above region, religion, caste and party, our decision should guide by intellect, mind and principles. For this decision, you have to forget all those bitter tastes and discords, if you have with the best person from among these four MP candidates in the fray.

I site you another example. To become an MP, one must possess some experiences. He should be a councillor, MLA and then an MP. He should go step by step. This is stupidity to bring youth to parliament who have zero experience of politics. I am not aimed to defame or weaken a particular candidate. Giving suggestions and gaining experience on the ground are two different things. It needs experience. Reverberating, what can do and what not in Urdu and English words would only examine well once get into the field. Thus, there is no question of aged vs youth, IKMT vs ISK, Congress vs NC etc. You shall cast your vote for the best-qualified person for this particular post. God willing, we would not fall in a loss.

How much experience and capability our MP should have who would be on the field with the most experienced politicians from all over India. He would serve the region, State and the whole country. Is it right to handover an aeroplane to a truck driver no matter how good he is in his truck driving. These two things are two different things. A person from one field cannot handle in another field.

The message delivered by Sheikh Anwar Hussain Sharafuddin is translated by Ladakh Express team with due permission from the speaker.

…ایک کہانی اتحاد کی

DiscoverUnity

کہانی تب شروع ہوتی ہے جب اسلامیہ اسکول میں اسلامیہ اسکول اور امام خمینی میموریل ٹرسٹ کے اتحاد کے نام پر ایک بھونچال آتا ہے اور اسلامیہ سکول کے نیے صدر جناب ناظر المہدی صاحب کا انتخاب جناب سید جمال الدین صاحب کو ہٹا کر ہوتا ہے جو اُس وقت اتحاد کرنے کے لیے سب سے پیش پیش ہوتے ہیں اور اس حد تک کامیاب بھی ہو جاتے ہیں کہ دونوں فریقوں میں لگ بھگ اتحاد کا سلسلہ آخری مرحلے میں ہوتا ہے۔
صدر بننے کے بعد جناب ناظر المہدی صاحب آہستہ آہستہ سحر ٹی وی پر نشر ہونے والے جلسہ و جلوس میں خاصکر(مطلب خاصکر) نظر آنے لگ جاتے ہیں۔ تبھی کرگل میں ایک انقلاب آ جاتا ہے اور لوگ علم جناب حضرت عباس ّ کی محبت میں پلکیں بچھایے انتظار میں لگ جاتے ہیں۔ اس دوران پتہ چلتا ہے کہ اس علم کے لانے میں سب سے بڑا کردار جناب سجاد کاکسری صاحب کا رہا ہے۔ لوگوں کا جزبہ ایمانی دیکھ کے فلک بھی رشک کرنے لگتا ہے اور علم کی زیارت سے سب ہی اپنے دلوں میں ٹھنڈک محسوس کرتے ہیں۔
آہستہ آہستہ بات پرانی ہو جاتی ہے۔
تھوڑے عرصے بعد جناب شیخ ناظر المہدی صاحب سکردو چلو کا نعرہ بلند کرتے ہیں اور اسکی رہنمایی جناب سجاد کاکسری صاحب کے حوالے کی جاتی ہے۔ بہت کوششیں کی جاتی ہیں پر یہ نعرہ انکے خواہشوں کے بر خلاف ٹھنڈی پڑ جاتی ہے کیونکہ اس نعرے میں کرگل کے با شعور عوام کو کوی فایدہ نظر نہیں آ رہا ہوتا ہے۔
اسی اثنا میں کرگل میں ڈیویژنل سٹیٹس کا مسعلہ آ جاتا ہے اور پھر سے کرگلی عوام کی رگوں میں خون دوڑ جاتا ہے۔ ہر کوی چاہے وہ عام ہو یا خاص مذہبی و سیاسی جماعتوں کو ایک ہونے کہ صلاح دیتے ہیں اور الللہ کے کرم سے ایک کمیٹی بنتی ہے جس کا نام جے ار سی (JRC) رکھا جاتا ہے اور سب ایک سٹیج پر جمع ہو جاتے ہیں۔ پوری امت کرگل ملکر ایسی آواز بلند کرتے ہیں کہ ہندوستانی ایوان ہلا کر رکھ دیتے ہیں اور کامیابی سے ہمکنار ہوتے ہیں۔ الحمد الللہ
کچھ عرصے بعد ایم پی کا الیکشن ہونا ہوتا ہے اور سارے لوگ اسی خواب غفلت میں پڑے رہتے ہیں کہ اس بار تو ہم متحد ہیں اور ایک کینڈیڈیٹ کو کھڑا کر کے ہم بازی مار لیں گے۔ کرگل کے سارے عوام جے ار سی (Joint Resistance Committee ) سے اُمیدیں لگاے ہوے ہوتے ہیں کہ اج یا کل یہ ملکر ایک میٹنگ کریں گے کہ اچانک سیاست کو طلاق دینے والے اپنی مرضی سے سیاسی جماعتوں کو طلب کر کے ایک تجویز پیش کرتے ہیں کہ اپ سب ملکر کسی کینڈیڈیٹ کا نام دیں تاکہ اتحاد قایم ہو سکے؟ ؟؟
یہ ایک سوچی سمجھی چال ہوتی ہے کیونکہ ان کو بھی معلوم ہوتا ہے کہ ایسا نا ممکن ہے کہ سبھی سیاسی جماعتیں ملکر کسی ایک کے نام پر سر تسلیم خم کر دیں۔
پھر مذہبی جماعتوں کو بلایا جاتا ہے۔ جس میں دو ہی نام رکھے جاتے ہیں کیونکہ دوسری جماعتیں ملکر اسلامیہ اسکول اور امام خمینی میموریل ٹرسٹ کے حوالے کر دیتے ہیں کہ اپ ہی ایک ایک نام تجویز کریں تاکہ کینڈیڈیٹ کو چنے میں آسانی ہو اور اتحاد قایم ہو سکے۔
جو دو نام رکھے جاتے ہیں وہ ہیں جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب اور جناب سجاد کاکسری صاحب (جو اجکل سجاد کاکسری سے سجاد کرگلی کہلوانا زیادہ پسند کرتے ہیں)
کسی کو انکے نام پر اعتراض نہیں ہوتا اور ان دونوں کے نام پر دوسروں سے راے لی جاتی ہے (یا کہیں ووٹنگ کی جاتی ہے) اور جناب اضغر علی کربلای کو زیادہ ووٹ مل جاتے ہیں۔
”یا اللہ یہ کیا ہو گیا پانسہ تو الٹا پڑ گیا”
جب ووٹ زیادہ مل جاتے ہیں تو اعتراضات شروع ہو جاتے ہیں اور میٹنگ برخاست کر کے اگلے دن پھر سے سیاسی و مذہبی جماعتوں کو بلایا جاتا ہے جس میں ایک تنظیم کو دروازے سے ہی واپس لوٹایا جاتا ہے۔(والللہ اعلم)
اسلامیہ اسکول اور کچھ جماعتیں اس بات پر اڑ جاتے ہیں کہ جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب نہ ہو باقی چاہے جو بھی ہو۔ کوی بھی ہو چل جاے گا (بیوقوف ہو، جاہل ہو، ان پڑھ ہو، گنوار ہو، کام آتا ہو یہ نہ آتا ہو، چلو کوی بسیجی ہو، امام خمینی میموریل ٹرسٹ کا ہو، چاہے ایک فیصد بھی تجربہ نہ ہو، کچھ بھی ہو، کچھ سروکار نہیں کیونکہ ہمیں ایم پی جتا کر لہہ والوں کو دکھانا ہے) (الللہ کی پناہ)
اس بات کو سمجھانے کی کوشش میں کہ ہمیں صرف ایک ایم پی نہیں بلکہ ایک ایسے شخص کو بھیجنا چاہیے جو کرگل کی نمایندگی کر سکے، ایوان میں کرگل کے غیور عوام کی عکاسی کر سکے، تھک ہار کر امام خمینی میموریل ٹرسٹ راضی ہو جاتی ہے اور جناب شیخ بشیر صاحب کے ساتھ یہ پیغام ارسال کرتی ہے کہ جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب کا نام واپس لے لیا گیا ہے اور جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب کا نام واپس لے کے اس بات کی مہلت صرف صبح نو بجے تک مانگتی ہے کہ کسی دوسرے شخص کو کہ جو اس کرسی کے لیے قابل ہو کو چنا جا سکے۔ کیونکہ امام خمینی میموریل ٹرسٹ کا موقف بلکل صاف رہتا ہے کہ نمایندہ ایسا ہو جو کرگلی عوام کا سر جھکنے نہ دے۔ پر اتحاد کے اڑ میں اپنی سیاسی روٹیاں سیکنے کی کوشش میں جو لگے تھے انہیں یہ بات نا گوار گزرتی ہے کہ امام خمینی میموریل ٹرسٹ نے جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب کا نام واپس لے لیا اور اتحاد ہونے کے امکانات وسیع ہو گیے۔
ہڑ بڑی میں ان سب لوگوں و جماعتوں کے جزبات، جو یہ چاہتے تھے کہ اتحاد ہو، کو بالاے طاق رکھ کر دوسرے ہی دن جناب سجاد کاکسری صاحب کو نامزد کیا جاتا ہے۔
پھر اج تک نہ اتحاد کی بات کرتے ہیں اور جو چاہتے تھے کہ اتحاد ہو انکا سامنا بھی نہیں کرتے۔ اپنے صدر و کینڈیڈیٹ کو لے کے میٹنگ میں وہ اتے ہیں جنکا دل صاف ہوتا ہے اور وہ جناب شیخ رجای صاحب اور جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب ہوتے ہیں۔ شاید وہ جانتے تھے کہ اگر کسی نتیجے پر نہیں پہنچتے تو زیادہ سے زیادہ قرعہ لگایا جایے گا اور وہ الللہ پر توکل کر کے آ جاتے ہیں۔
افسوس صد افسوس کہ پھر بھی اج کچھ لوگ کہتے ہیں کہ شیخ بشیر صاحب اور جناب اضغر علی کربلای صاحب اتحاد کے حق میں نہیں۔
جناب شیخ ناظر المہدی صاحب اس صدر کو ہٹا کے آیے تھے جو اتحاد کے خواہاں تھے اور اج کچھ لوگ جناب شیخ ناظر المہدی صاحب سے امید کر رہے ہیں کہ وہ اتحاد کریں گے
الللہ کی پناہ

 

The article is written by a Kargili who want to be anonymous. The article is published with a pure intention to keep an account of the developments in the region. Ladakh Express entertains write-up from writers. You can send us your piece on ladakhexpress[@]gmail.com

Two Guise of Lucknow – A Travelogue

By Anwar Ali Tsarpa

It usually happens that most of the planned trips remain mere surreal, and most of trips that took place are unplanned. So, I suggest, plan not just board. In such a sudden tour I reached Lucknow. Dawn was looming. I grabbed an auto to Hussain Gunj; a Muslim dominated area in Old Lucknow. Travelling in an auto at dawn was like sunny day after snowfall where even weak airstream carries small particles of snow, making the day cold. I strolled around to find a cup of tea to keep me warm to fight the morning chill weather. For a milk loaded, deep good quantity tea in Thakur Ganj the chai walla charged only 5 rupees that would have cost at least 10 in Delhi.

I put myself in an autorickshaw to my friend’s place. In a small autorickshaw four people bound to sit in place of three. Four were facing towards us with their back towards the driver; one each on the right and left of the driver. It was ten people in a rickshaw of three. One man, probably new like me in the city dared to speak in satire language, “Bhai’ya chaat khali hai” (Brother the rooftop is empty). Other passengers smiled; driver choose not to respond but starred. Memories of similar cases in Delhi clicked my mind. I was told by a friend, a resident of Batla House in Delhi, that the similar rickshaws in Delhi called the “Grameen Sewa”, and number of mini-buses that runs from Maharani Bagh to Abul Fazal, belongs to Pradhan of the area. Even the Phat Phat Sewa that runs from Jama Masjid to Batla House belongs to a rich man in Old Delhi. The owner has a daily turnover of five-six lakh from all source of income. Even the police “don’t dare to say anything” to them; “when the battery rickshaw banned in Delhi, rickshaw’s belonging to Pradhan were roaming freely”.

People in Lucknow wear dark clothes, sweater, mostly in different shades of grey, blue or brown. Due to harsh winter morning, they cover their head with a muffler from cheek to the upper side, opening face and back side of the head. After emergence of Delhi’s Chief Minister Arwind Kejriwal in politics he is portrayed as the icon man of this fashion, “The Muffler Man”. Women wear a scarf in pink, orange and rarely white.

I was reconnoitering the city of Nawabs. Most of the signboards in Lucknow are in Hindi. Now, most enterprises use both Hindi and English. Sigh Board of government offices is in dual language Hindi and Urdu. Names of some business units are as: Tathagat Yoga, Shri Sai Business, Agarwal Jewellers, Dastar Khan, Radhy Shyam Sweets, Gadha Bandar, Chappan Bhog etc. Lucknow which is considered to be the domicile place of Urdu seems to have disowned the language. The city known for its Nawabi culture and sweet flavour in language are now like a fairytale. Rare sigh boards would find in Urdu and few with Arabic “Al” (the) to articulate that the enterprise belongs to Muslim. Even on many places the combination of “Al” is wrong in grammatical terms.

The walls and pillars in the city are painted with graffiti paintings of Hindu Gods and Goddesses or leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mahatma Gandhi; that I had not observed in my past tours to the city in 2016. On various chowk statue of leaders like Kashiram, Mayawati, Jyotiba Phule, Ambedkar, Nehru, Gandhi, Maharana Pratap etc. are erected. The whole city has hoardings of BJP leaders like Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Yogi Adityanath, Akhilesh Yadav (BSP) etc. Even young youth leaders also have hanged huge hoardings all over the city that gives a peculiar look. One hoarding regarding the Babri Mosque that catches my attention was:

“Chalo Chalo Ayodhya:

Supreme court ka hai samman, Mandir hai is dash ka maan!

Hindu Muslim sab nay mana, Ram Mandir wah’in banana! – Sawpinal Singh”.

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It remembered me the news reports that such hoardings had used in violence ridden Muzaffarnagar to ignite communal discord.

Due to receiving me as an uninvited guest at my friend’s place it took some time to prepare the breakfast. Thus, his father pushed a Hindi paper “Dainik Jagran” towards me. I have not that hold on comprehension in Hindi to read a newspaper. But I could read the headlines. From the front-page story, I came to know that as many as 10 lakh students of the 66 lakh-odd who registered for the Uttar Pradesh Board exams have skipped their papers in the first four days of the cycle, the highest in five years.

After having a roti with desi ghee, I went to ISKCON temple at Shaheed Path, Lucknow. They were celebrating the day (13 February) as the sixth anniversary of Bagwan’s entry on the place. According to the speaker inside, the temple established on the same day in 2013. His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acharya of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), has the responsibility to broadcast Vedic knowledge in English medium. Abhay expound the Vedic conclusion that real freedom means liberation from the miseries of material life: birth, death, old age and disease, a state that can be permanently attained by awakening one’s pure love for God. One of the aims of the temple is to provide free food daily so that no one in the 10 km radius of the temple sleeps hungry.

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Janeshwar Mishra Park falls on the way, operating in Gomti Nagar. The lust green park, lush freshness, water bodies, and silence remind me of summers in home-town Kargil. Claimed to be Asia’s largest park, it is made in memory of late politician Janeshwar Mishra Sharif Bhai from Samajwadi Party.

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Developed with a cost of 168 crores, the park measures around 376 acres. Two large water bodies on the site have been developed with a view to harness migratory birds and provide a haven for birds in winter and summer months through the creation of lagoons and marshy lands. Due to the shift in government from Samajwadi to BJP the site has not fully developed as per the plan. The new government has also neglected the park; as a result, remained deserted from various necessary facilities. Due to unavailability of electric vehicles in such a huge park we were tired.

We landed our bums on the two-wheeler and moved the direction towards Lucknow’s popular “Tunday Kababi” at Kapoor Tala, Ali Ganj for dinner. Tunday Kabab, also known as Buffalo meat galouti kebab is a dish made out of minced meat. It incorporates 160 spices with other ingredients that include finely minced buffalo meat, plain yogurt, garam masala, grated ginger, crushed garlic, ground cardamom, powdered cloves, melted ghee, dried mint, small onions cut into rings, vinegar, sugar, lime. The restaurant embarked in 1905 is famous for serving buffalo meat galouti kebab. The restaurant was discontinued for a period when Yogi Adityanath government had banned buffalo kebabs after a crackdown on “illegal” slaughterhouses.

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In the last week of March 2017, I was in Lucknow to present a research paper at a conference at Shakuntala University. I met my friend’s mom while returning from the conference. She said that “Beta, ab to Yogi ji ka raj hai. Ab to Ladkiyan daer raat tak goom sakte hai. Sab kuch accha hoga ab” (Son, its Yogi’s raj now. Now, ladies would be safe to roam late in the night. Everything will be fine). Today when I met her again, without poking her our last conversation I asked, how the Yogi is doing? She replied: “Kuch mat kaho, boht kharab hai; kuch b nhi badla” (Don’t talk, very disappointing. There is no development at all. Everything is in a mess). Then I reminded her of our last discourse. She immediately took a U-turn: “Beta, itna b kharab nhi hai!” (Son, it’s not that bad!”.

I had a feeling in the evening that I have seen a new image of Lucknow. Both ISCKON temple and Janeshwar Mishra Park are not part of old Lucknow’s Nawabi tahzeeb. During my past trip I had been to British Residency, Hazrat Ganj, Bada Imam Bada, Chota Imam Bada, Rumi Darwaza, Chattar Manzil, Begam Hazrat Mahal Park etc. Many of them are reflections of the Nawabi culture in Lucknow. The statues of freedom fighters on public places are icon of resistance. But at the same time statues and British colonial memorials in the Residency and in a small museum in Zoo are depicted in a heroic style. Is not this absurd and contradictory that both oppressors and the oppressed are in same line? This do not reflect the true face of history.

On the next day, we went to Amina Abad, an old market in Lucknow famous for its chiken embroidered garments. The Bazaar has operated since the time of Nawab of Awadh in the first half of 18th century. Now also, as the day breaks, the Aminabad market glittered with the sequins and colors of silk and muslin. Most customers are women. Beautiful black big eyes are the only part appears outside the Burqa of mostly women in Ameena Abad.

While returning, we gave a visit to Amir-ud-Daula Public Library situated between the lust green trees. The library has a collection of two lakh books on ancient Buddhist, Islamic and Hindu literature reflecting the true Lucknow’s tehzeeb under one roof. The Urdu section is in worse condition without proper order of the books. Termites also finish the dust loaded books. This is not the only place, similarly, Urdu literature in the 350-years-old Anglo-Arabic Secondary school library at Lahori Gate in Delhi is in worst condition.

To do away with tiredness Lucknow’s famous “Sharma Ji ka Chai” at Hazrat Ganj is the best choice. The first stall had installed in 1960; now have various branches in all over Lucknow. People stand even in a long queue to get a cup of tea with a potato loaded Samosa.

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The day was 14 February, the much-hyped Valentine Day. But in Yogi’s Lucknow, my friend, who had seen past Valentines in the city, was surprised over the disappearance of red teddy bears and valentine gifts from the market. We could see the Anti-Romeo Dals (or squads) to “ensure the safety of college-going girls” and “check eve-teasing”. But youth experience of them are like Haddi in Kabab (Bone in Kabab). One joke that roaming around in murmuring voice in the city was that the establishment would say “Na karengay na karna dengay” (Neither I do, nor allow others to do).

At night I choose to stay in the room of one of my friends from Kargil. In a Hindu dominated area, where his college locates, he was refused to rent a room due to his Muslim identity and domicile state, that is Jammu and Kashmir. Finally, he got a small room through a reference. With the fear of sacking from the room, people cook chicken clandestinely, eat in close-door and throw bones in a far place.

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Next day lunch was what I had waited anxiously, “Idrees Biryani”. A mutton Biryani popular in Lucknow. You won’t regret to pay 120 rupees for a quarter-kilo Biryani. My Hindu friend was waiting while I had lunch. Then to take him lunch we went to another popular place called “Bombay Pav Bhaji”.

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I waited for him to finish his food. When I returned from ISCKON temple his sister was astonishingly asking, do Anwar go to temple also? I offered my prayers even at his home. This is the coexistence and understanding of Hindus and Muslims in one part of Lucknow and there are others who permeate hatred on basis of religion. I came back with the question does Lucknow have two different guises: the radical jingoists and the moderate pluralists? Or is the city divided in Old and New Lucknow like the division of India and Bharat?

IKMT-ISK Unity: Two friendly Quarrels With Amaa Bu

Amaa Bu

Note: Amaa Bu is an anonymous Kargili, active on social media.

In his recent response Amaa Bu had pointed out two key points as a hurdle in the peace process between IKMT and ISK. Firstly, he said that despite of being Various similarities in religion, rituals, language, identity, ethnicity and innumerable other things, there are some key differences in terms of ideology between the two organisations. More exactly he said that differences are in interpretation of things, that are similar in outlook. Secondly, he questioned the cause for unity. Why Unity for materialistic benefits rather than for a greater cause like ideology or religion. I partially agree with the former and totally agree with the later.

Let me explain.

Firstly, in first friendly quarrel with Amaa Bu I would say that we have more similarities than differences. We have more point for agreement than points for contention.

Secondly, you said that those differences could understand only by few people, let’s say the intellectual class. My point is, why we need to fight over a point that we don’t understand? To solve such issues there should be discourse between clerics of both the organisation who have understanding of those differences. Moreover, these issues are differences of opinion which must be confined to opinion. It should not lead us to antagonist relations.

Thirdly, Interpretation is different by different scholars even for Quran and traditions of the infallibles. It is the beauty of Quran, traditions and the religion that give different lesson to different people according to his capacity to catch. But I don’t deny that there are elements who deliberately misinterpret Quran and tradition for their interest. But this is (potentially) not true in our case.

Fourthly, pursuing for differences leads to identity politics or ethnic conflict like that in Rwanda where the Tutsi and Hutu who had the only difference of their nose killed seven lakh people, that was 70 percent of the Tutsi population, only in a period of 100 days. However, if perceive for similarities, Hindus in India find their ancestral link to Imam Hussain (a.s.) in Karbala. Kashmiri find their links with Imam Khomeini (r.a.). Sometimes feels satisfaction in saying that Imam Khamenei had visited Kashmir when he was President of the country. When these people can unite on small ancestral links which could also be a myth why we can’t unite on basis of all these similarities which are true to the best of our knowledge?

Also Read: Syed Jamal’s three-point agenda for ISK, Peace Process on priority

Second friendly quarrel is not actually a quarrel but an addition to his point. Amaa Bu said that the unity, which is also a Quranic obligation, should be for a greater objective rather than mere materialistic cause. I agree with this. His realisation of such a critical issue reflects that Kargil has plethora of intellectual minds.

I believe that to reach at that level of understanding our society still need more time. At this moment only, few people like you has this issue a real concern. Majority of the people have concern for Roti Kapda and Makan. Most of the time or in almost all cases the ideological debate of the leader would influence or inspire only the maximum of 10-15 percent of the population. You can cross check in history. The slogans that influence the mass is Roti, Kapda and Makan. This is the reality and we have to accept the bitter reality.

So, what I suggest is, for a short period let them unite even for these material benefits. This unity itself would be a step to unite for the greater cause which you are concerned.

Keeping in mind the lengthy article the points have narrowed down. All points need to elaborate. I encourage young writers and novice thinkers to put forward their ideas also; either on this blog or on their own blog.

Your Friend/well-wisher

Anwar Ali Tsarpa

ISK-IKMT Unity Discourse at the Second Level

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The three-members committee for peace dialogue meet with Aga Mehdavipur in 2015. 

In order to produce a framework literature to unite the religious organisations in Kargil, I took a small initiative in 2015. I interviewed some prominent figures, analysed and published them on my blog, expecting some response from the people so that the discourse could continue. Because literature is the base of every feasible plan. It also works as a document to know the history for future references. May be 2015 was too early to discuss these things. But when I shared the same thing few days back, I got a progressive response to carry the discourse on another level. A well-wisher with good intellectual potential wrote back some productive and deep analysis in response. I republish it here while requesting him and others (who want to write his feedback in this regard) to write back in a formal way. So that this could work as an authentic literature in future time.

Here you go for the response by @Amaa Bu

Salam alaikum…
The youth are future of the nation. And our society needs young guns like you.

There is a mistake in your analysis. Apart from disagreements regarding functioning and structure of the organisations, there exist conflicts in ideology and beliefs and not everyone is well aware of this. Yes the organisations have the same religion, same school of thought but still there are conflicts in interpretations of certain doctrines and practices. Only a few people understand this. If these issues are resolved, then the conflict will get solved in no time. These conflicts and disagreements didn’t started in Kargil, but yes in Kargil, a new colour was painted.
The core conflict exists even in the middle East, not only in Kargil. So if we are to solve this issue, obviously we need compromise, but the first thing we need is someone who has enough knowledge about Islamic philosophy, modern society/politics and jurisprudence.

And
Where the integration of the groups are vital, we also need to understand why?
Integration and unity of these two powerful organisations should not be aimed at just material benefits of our society. More emphasis should be laid on the need for religious reforms and other subjects which come under the umbrella of Islam and most importantly to take the society closer to God. The recent protests saw the cooperation of the two groups and most importantly, two ideologies, but for what? Was it aimed at pleasing the masses?
Let’s say tomorrow we protest, in the same way, for Zojila Tunnel. This is another burning issue. One can see how our people get outraged or disappointed at the organisations for not showing unity when we need these things, like Zojila Tunnel.
But tell me , as compared to this matter, how many people talk about a united Friday prayer in the Jamia Masjid?
You see, if not the majority, but an uncomfortable number of our people want the unity of the masses and the ideologies, for material growth of the society, and in a way which is not even sustainable and environmentally feasible. People are looking at the short term benefits and benefits we can get in the Duniya, compromising the environment as well as the Akhira.

Where unity is the demand and need of the hour, having so much potential as well, we need to channel it in the right way. In a way such that it pleases Allah s.w.t and also is environmentally feasible.

Note: Will publish some more analysis on above debate.

LAHDC Kargil Election: An Overview

By Anwar Ali Tsarpa

31 August was quite sunny. On the desert like Kurbathang I could feel the heat a bit more. We had the huge black mountain of Naktul on our left and the Ringmospang on the front. On a little distance river Suru, flowing aggressively. It was indeed, the day of lifting curtains. But not of people’s deeds, but the results of the much-awaited fourth Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Kargil’s election.

Candidates were roaming around. Their throbbing heart does not allow them to be seated for a longer time. People were greeting and wishing them for best. For all those greetings, unwantedly they had to keep their face smiling. 99 were in fray for 26 seats. Comprised of 23 candidates Congress topping the contenders with 23, followed by local party PDP and Independents 21 each, National Conference had 20 and BJP 15. Major share fell into the kitty of National Conference with 10 seats. In- fighting dragged Congress to 8, PDP and BJP got 2 and one respectively. 5 Independents remained firm with 5 seats.

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However, Congress gains the larger share of total votes with 17782 votes, NC remained second with 16688 votes, PDP gains 8495, BJP 2172 independent candidates collectively gains 12037 votes from among 66059 votes casted. Individually, Kacho Mohammad Feroz of INC from Pashkum constituency got highest number of vote 1681. For 83844 registered voters 258 polling stations had established. But the results infused disappointment among many people due to fractured mandate.

This election was different from many past elections due to various reasons. Firstly, sixty-two, relatively young candidates took part for the first time in the LAHDCK elections. Secondly, political analysers have observed that people are shifting towards agenda-based politics from traditional party or organisational based politics. As a result, according to political analysts, bogus votes remained negligible. Shift from traditional to agenda-based politics could be supported from the fact that three polling booths in Trespone constituency boycotted the elections citing their unheard prolonged issues of underdeveloped road, lack of fresh drinking water and lack of proper health facilities. Similarly, Tumail Colony in Pashkum constituency also had boycotted polls in the first half. When I contact them they said their agendas remained unheard.

Congress District President Nasir Munshi said that, choice of voters, unlike in the past elections, are unpredictable. Earlier the people were loyal and obedient to their party, but now their preferences are unpredictable. Similarly, PDP district president Kacho Gulzar also admitted that there is a major shift in the behaviour of the voters.

On the polling day, I got the opportunity to tour in all the three regions to some extent. Staring from Minjee I visited Gound Minjee, Minjee (both male and female), Goma Minjee, Gramthang, Trespone, Gondmangal Pore, Tambis, Kanoor, Tumail Colony, Pashkum, Akchamal, Poyen, Hardas, Chuliskamboo, Goma Kargil, Balti Bazar, Indoor Stadium, Girls Hr. Sec in Kargil town, and Baroo (male and female). On the counting day also, I was to observe the counting process since morning till the end. I observed that people from Drass sector are more passionate in whole election process. The first three constituency counted were from Drass sector. When I reached early in the morning hundreds of vehicles and people from Drass were anxiously waiting for the results outside polytechnic college building, where the counting process held. In the counting room also, they had sign of discomfort and eagerness in their behaviour.

Contrary to Drass sector, people from Zanskar were seemingly less interested in the results. They were so calm in the counting room that we could feel their respiratory process. People from other constituencies were moderately passionate for the results. However, people from Karchay, especially from Trespone, Lankerchey and G.M. Pore were relatively more passionate in the counting room as well as on the polling booth than the people from other constituencies but less than Drass sector.

In the morning, on next day of the results, they were seen in shape of fanatic mob, with huge queue of vehicles, escorting their winner candidates to respective constituencies. However, people from other constituencies were also involved in similar activities but were less passionate.

 

Government Formation

Due to frequent change in government in the past five years public wanted to get a single party in power. Prior to the election, in a random public interview, many respondents had maintained that they want a single party in power to form a “strong administration”. The political parties also and obviously wanted to get a single party in power. Haji Hanifa Jan had said that based on his past experience only a strong administration will be fruitful for development of Kargil. That is possible only if a single party comes into power with majority of seats in the council. Similarly, Munshi Nasir also had hoped to get 15 plus seats in the council to form a strong administration. But after the results people again seems to be disappointed due to fractured mandate.

In the current situation of fractured mandate, a strong government is possible only if the two largest parties form alliance. Before the elections both Haji Hanifa Jan and Rasool Nagvi of National Conference had wished to form government with the Congress. To form government with the independent candidates is “fruitless and loss for the district”, what Rasool Nagvi termed as “black-mailing”. He had urged the public to “not vote independent candidates” who initiates blackmailing. But unfortunately, we could not smell any efforts from their side to form government with the major parties, in order to form a strong government.

The article was first appeared in the weekly Voice of Ladakh on 7 September 2018.

اپولدنما اور شوکپہ – تحریر انور علی ژھر پا

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یوں تو کرگل کے ہر گاﺅں کی اپنی ایک منفرد کہانی ہے۔ کچھ حقائق پر مبنی اور کچھ جزبات کی دین ہے۔ لیکن سچائی سے بڑی حد تک ہم آہنگ ضرور ہے ۔ امتداد زمانہ کے ساتھ اگر چہ تاریخی حقائق متاثر ہوئی ہے تاہم اصلیت کسی نہ کسی شکل اب بھی باقی اور موجود ہے۔اور شعوری اورلاشعوری طور لوگوں کو اپنی طرف جلب کررہی ہے ۔ ایسی ہی ایک کہانی شُک چیک نامی گاﺅں کی ہے جو کرگل خاص سے تقریبا15 کلومیٹر کی دوری پر لیہ کرگل شاہراہ پر واکھانالہ کے دائیں کنارے واقع ہے۔ شک چیک کے لوگوں کو اس گاﺅ ں میں موجودصنوبرکے درخت ( شکپہ)سے ایک دلی لگاﺅ ہے کیونکہ یہ اُن کے پردادا کی یادگار ہے۔ جس نے ان کے گاﺅں کو پہلی بار آباد کیا تھا۔

راقم کاجب اسسٹنٹ ٹورسٹ آفسرمحمد عیسی سے  ایک رسمی ملاقات کے دوران انکے گاﺅں کے متعلق گفتگو کی تو ذیل کی کہانی سامنے آئی۔ بہت پہلے کی بات ہے کہ پشکم میں ایک شخص اپو لدنما کے نام سے رہا کرتا تھا۔ ایک دن وہ اپنے مویشیوں کو دیکھنے سکمبو کے پہاڑی میں چڑھا جہاں اُنہیں ایک صنوبر کادرخت( شکپہ) کا چھوٹا سا پودا ملا۔ اُنہوں نے پودے کو اپنے پرس میں سنبھال کرلے آیا اور نیچے اُترتے اُترتے آج کی شک چیک نامی جگہ کے پاس پہنچی۔ اونچاِئی سے اُنہوں نے اس پودے کو لگانے کا ایک موزون جگہ تلاش کیا تو وہی جگہ پایا جہاں آج پیڑ موجود ہے۔ اُس وقت یہ جگہ جھاڑیوں سے گھیرا ہوا تھا۔ اُنہوں نے پودے کو زمین کے حوالے کرتے ہوئے یہ ارادہ کیا کہ اگر یہ پودا ایک پیڑ کی شکل لے لیتا ہے تو وہ اس جگہ کو آباد کرے گا۔ جب چند سال بعد اپو لدنما اُس جگہ پر واپس پہنچاتو پایا کہ وہ پیڑآس پاس کی جھاڑیوں سے بھی بڑی ہو چکی ہے ۔ لہذا اُنہوں نے اس جگہ کو آباد کیا۔

آج جہاں یہ پیڑ اپولدنما کی نویں نسال کی دیدار پر نازاں ہیں وہیں اپولدنما کی نویں پشت اس درخت کو بابرکت تصورکرتے ہوئے اس سے مستفید ہونے کے ساتھ اسکی آبیاری اور نگرانی میں منہمک ہے۔ اپو لدنما کے صاحب زادے اپو سونمژھیرنگ تھا جن کے بیٹے سونم علی اور اس طرح غلام علی تھا۔ غلام علی کے پانچ بیٹے تھے جن میں سے ایک نصیب علی چھاتی تھنگ میں منتقل ہوئی، دوسرا بیٹا فوکار کے فُو نامی علاقے میں آباد ہوا اور تیسرا کرامبا نامی علاقے میں منتقل ہوا۔ باقی دو، کہا جاتا ہے کہ شک چیک میں ہی آباد ہوے۔ آج ایک خاندان کو حاجی یوسف علی کے نام سے جانا جاتا ہے جو دریا کے اس پار لوچوم میں آباد ہے۔ دوسرا محمد ابراہیم شک چیک میں ہی آباد رہے۔ جن کے اولاد آج بھی شک چیک میں ہی مقیم ہے۔ آج شک چیک میں تقریبا 19 گھرانے آباد ہےں جو سب اپو لدنما کی ہی نسل سے ہے۔

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صنوبر یعنی شکپہ درخت کے پاس کچھ مختلف اقسام کے پتھر نصب کیا ہواہے جنہیں کہا جاتا ہے کہ اپو لدنما نے ہی جمع کر کے نصب کیا تھا اور اُس خاص جگہ کو لدنمی تھویور کے نام سے جانا جاتا ہے۔ کہا جاتا ہے کہ پہلے جب لوگوں کے پاس گھڑی نہیں ہوا کرتا تھا تو لدنمی تھویور کو وقت کی شناخت کے لئے بھی استعمال کیا جاتا تھا۔ ان پتھروں پر سورج طلوع ہونے پر لوگ اپنے مال مویشیوں کو پانی پلانے لیتے تھے اورغروب ہونے پر مویشوں کو جمع کرتے تھے، نیز اس کے سائے کو دیکھ کر دوپہر کے وقت کااندازہ لگاتے تھے۔مقامی لوگوں نے سرکار سے اُس شکپہ کو تحفظ دینے کی مانگ بھی کی تھی اور تاریخی درخت سرکار کی جانب سے عملی اقدام کی اب بھی منتظر ہے۔

 

Note: The article was first appeared in the Voice of Ladakh, Volume:6 | Issue:14, on 21, June 2018.

Desires in Kargil that need control

Dreaming about a new house

By Anwar Ali Tsarpa

A permanent resident may not have observed what I, as a temporary visitor, observe the change. With an intention to observe some transformations I took out for a walk in the morning after prayers. I observed many new constructions one after another, seemingly competing each other. Even a family of five to six members, possess a huge three storey house with 12 to 15 rooms. This is not what I saw only in my village but almost in all other villages.

I am not a pessimist denouncing the construction of houses in Kargil. Because shelter is one of the basic need of all animals including human animal. A “basic shelter” as a basic need should be the priority over many other things. But I would say that construction of “luxurious house” is ridiculous if prioritised over other essential things.

I find it “ridiculous” because many have given the preference to construction of “luxurious houses” over children’s education, future source of income, future planning, fertile agricultural land, and need of the society around him/her. Let me explain all these points one by one.

Firstly, many people have chosen to build a luxurious house and a car over a quality education of his children. In a random observation of many villages in the suburbs of Kargil town I found many people deprived their children from a reputed school or from higher education outside Kargil. In this case your children, when become a wo/man, will be less or unproductive. Your future will fall in risk.

Secondly, if your children are having a quality education it is still not guaranteed that they will get a good job. Because, now every household have a number of people holding Bachelor, Master, and PhDs degrees. So, in a zero industrialised area like Kargil or in whole Jammu and Kashmir the government would not be able to ensure good job for each and every one. My argument would be reliable if you look at the number of unemployed youth in Kashmir valley, which is relatively much higher than other states of India. In this case you need to save this money to make an investment for your future generation to come. Or you have to invest the money in such a way that they produce a good economic return for you. Because, building an expensive house is not going to give you a return revenue.

Thirdly, construction of such a huge house has been spoiling fertile agricultural lands. At the same time, I came to know that many people have sold their lands to finance the construction of “unnecessarily luxurious” house. In this case we are depriving our future generation from their rights for our prolonged selfish desires. And the higher middle class (because Kargil currently don’t have an economic higher class) who is purchasing those lands are getting richer day by day, creating a wide gap between rich and the poor.

Fourthly, if you have enough money to fund both your children education and to invest to make their future secure you have another responsibility. It is your ethical, moral, rational and religious duty to look after those who need your money more than you. The poor who can’t make their bread, shelter and education are those whose bread has been reached to your dinning table. According to Imam Ali (a.s.), if someone has received more rizaq than what he actually needed than consider that someone’s right has been deprived. Allah and the Apostles (peace be upon them), don’t want you to close your eyes on the poor. You are the chosen one by God to deliver other’s right; and this is really a privilege and pleasure for you. If you remain deaf to them the God will be displeased.

Tentative Solution

Many of my respondents said that a “big house is needed to facilitate people on “rallphut” (public events). Yes, this is really a weighty need of the hour. But, construction of a community hall would fulfil the need while saving huge investment and agricultural lands. Houses should be small and the events should conduct in community halls which could be constructed to suit the events. I hope this topic will open for debate among intellectuals, clerics and community leaders in all villages to mitigate this unnecessary ridiculous competition.

The author (Anwar Ali Tsarpa) is a PhD scholar at Nelson Mandela centre for Conflict Resolution and Peace Building. The article was first published in weekly Voice of Ladakh Volume – 6 | Issue – 12 on 26 May 2018.