Monday, September 26, 2011


Stolen as infant, back as teen: Kashmiri twin’s tale

Srinagar Sep 26 (Only Kashmir): His story would put Bollywood’s lost and found tales to shame. Sarmad, a teenager, says he was sold for Rs.10,000 by a nurse in Srinagar’s biggest maternity hospital to a childless couple Aug 2, 1994, soon after he was born.
Separated from his twin brother at that time, Sarmad has made a tortuous and heart-rending journey back to his biological parents and the rest of his family 17 years later.
“My mother gave birth to twins in the hospital and the nurse assisting the childbirth sold me to a childless couple who paid her Rs.10,000,” Sarmad said.
“My mother insisted she had given birth to twins as her doctor had taken an ultrasound prior to admission in the hospital. The ultra sound had confirmed that my mother was bearing twins. But the attending nurse told her she had given birth to the baby boy who was in the cradle alongside her bed in the hospital”, Sarmad said.
The teenager, who will appear for his Class 10 exams this year, has learnt this story just now after reuniting with his biological parents. His foster parents live in the old city area of summer capital Srinagar.
Back in 1994, in order to hide his place of birth and the actual date of birth, his foster parents recorded his date of birth in the school records as Oct 25, 1995, says Sarmad.
“Later my foster father fought with my foster mother and she had to leave her husband’s family. She took me along to her parents’ home where my foster grandfather brought me up with love and care.
“Everything was going smoothly till my foster grandfather died in 2004. My foster mother took me back to her husband’s home where I found I was no longer welcome. The foster father again quarrelled with my foster mother, telling her in no uncertain terms that I could not live with her if she wanted to make up with him.
” ‘Go find your parents, you are not our blood’ – these remarks from my foster parents struck me like a bolt from the blue,” he said. The foster mother is, however, not living with the father but with her sister now, said Sarmad.

“I spent three days without food at a local mosque. Then a relative of my foster parents told me the names of my biological father and mother and also where they lived. I do not want to disclose the name of this relative who was like an angel in my life.

“I went there and my real mother did not take a second to recognise me – her maternal instinct worked,” he said. There he met his twin brother, who was first shocked and then embraced him. And, of course, they look similar. Besides, there are two other brothers as well. Amina, 42, Sarmad’s biological mother, said she had no doubt her lost son had come back. “I do not need any DNA test to recognize my blood. He was born to me and I know he is my son,” she said, surcharged with emotion.
For legal reasons, Sarmad’s biological father Muhammad Lateef said he would have the boy’s DNA matched with himself and Amina.
“In future, the question of inheritance is going to rise. I don’t want Sarmad to fight another battle with his three brothers. He has already suffered enough,” Lateef told Media.
The boy is happy to have got his real family back even though he still loves his foster mother. “Allah must have already ordained my fate. I am prepared for any medical examination, including the DNA test,” he said. Doctors at the maternity hospital simply refused to answer any questions in this regard.
“These are just allegations without any proof. How do you expect me to react to something that happened 17 years back?” said a doctor who did not wish to be named. Sarmad does not want to fight any legal battle against the hospital.


Saturday, September 24, 2011


“An open letter to my suffering soul”
An open heart writhes for all those who suffer.
By: Altaf Bashir
My Dear Realself,

Love surrounds you, always. In times like these, it certainly doesn’t feel it. Amid suffering you feel blinded to any and all light — even as the sun shines brightly through your windowsill. In times like these your spirit is stagnant, your heart beats just to beat — not because it has cause, or hope, or good reason to keep on. And yet love surrounds you always. I can hear you quipping, “That’s easy for you to say…”, and indeed it is. In life is it easy to speak from experience when the experience has long since passed. So, too, is it easy to speak of “ideals” and “wants” and “shoulds”, especially without the intimate knowledge of the suffering you have been chosen to endure. But suffering is just that. It is chosen. We suffer by our choice, or we suffer by the choices of others, or we suffer by the choice of fate… destiny… God… or life itself. And although your suffering is completely overwhelming right now, the magic of time slowly unburdens all pains — affording us the opportunity to reflect, to learn, to grow, and to turn suffering into vital lessons. These irreplaceable lessons teach us how to attain the single most elusive pursuit in the history of humankind: purposeful living.
True happiness.
… It is an ongoing spiritual process in which we are liberated from attachments and compulsions and empowered to live and love more freely. …You see, every event in our lives serves significant purpose — each moment, each day, each experience; whether glorious and loving or devastating and painful. Every gracious moment of tearful joy is, at its core, remarkably similar to each forced-upon feeling of victimization and suffering by a heartless and chaotic world. The effects — how we feel — are distant. But the cause what causes … Sometimes this letting go of old ways is painful, occasionally even devastating. But this is not why the night is called ‘dark.’ …Every terrible feeling; every bout of debilitating depression, every instance of suffering is a genuine opportunity for something newer and better. As stepping upon fiery coals surges forth an uncontrollable, instinctive reaction to run and escape the pain; suffering, heartache,
depression, are humanity’s natural means to propel a mental-emotional surge of conscious change. … The darkness of the night implies nothing sinister, only that the liberation takes place in hidden ways, beneath our knowledge and understanding. …Suffering is the fire beneath our feet that sets a storm of instinctive reactions in our brains to escape, to run, to live, to change. The burden of our suffering is so severe because pushing our thinking minds to the brink of overwhelming, total collapse demands immediate action. This is the feeling of a breaking point, when “something has to give.” What nature intends to break, I believe, is not our will to live. It’s counter logical for human instinct to ever push a human being to self-destruct — such is the incomprehensible yet prevalent tragedy of suicide. Nature, I believe, intends to break the human Ego.… It happens mysteriously, in secret, and beyond our conscious control We suffer to reduce our individual, egoism perceptions of Self — the labels, the titles, what we “do for a living”, and who we “think” we are. Amid such unbelievably heavy sorrow, suffering reduces our egotistical self-perceptions and returns us to a purer state.
A humbled state. A vulnerable state.
We feel far from invincible; we feel that we’re crumbling. We feel far from any job title’s description; we feel only raw human emotion. We feel far from any thing or any one person being able to alleviate our pain, give us pure joy, or fill the void of our sadness. The labels are gone. Our ego is hurt. Money and possessions are meaningless. Our ego reels. All of the unnecessary perceptions of “who we are” and judgmental thinking patterns about others are reduced to rubble. Our ego is silent. Instead there is only our true Self. And who we each are at the core of our Being as humans is a simple, caring and compassionate being, longing for fulfillment and happiness in life.… For that reason it can be disturbing or even scary, but in the end it always works to our benefit. But the burden of suffering doesn’t only serve to destroy our own ego. When a compassionate soul sees suffering in another human being, the egoic walls of self-defense are dissolved. We see others who suffers and innately lend our hands as best we can, realizing that we are not very different. Instead, we see ourselves in each other. As love binds us, suffering binds us. And that is why we must suffer.
Yours truly,
Altaf Bashir

(Altaf Bashir can be reached at:


Thursday, September 15, 2011


Only Kashmir Exclusive
One day in autumn, and the month of September 2011, I received call from him, in the very morning of Friday when he asked me to meet at his residence, provided me his address and location where he lives, and I was excited also to meet him, and quick after the Friday prayer were over, I directed my steps towards his residence, saying to myself, this is an opportunity I have long sought, and the meeting will be an excuse for meeting such a personality
As I knocked the door, the man opened it whom I had been longing to see opened it. He was holding in one hand his spectacle, and other hand he shook with me, saying, welcome, son, to my residence, he hugged me warmly and kissed me two. As we directed towards his lawn where he offered me to sit, and take breathe into a calm and serene atmosphere, where the aroma of flowers soothe ones heart and soul, the peaceful atmosphere surrounding and green carpet glisten like the dew drops resting on the grass blades to provide a luminous look, as I sat on couch and begin to talk, he offered me juice and than tea.
Saying I am pleased to see you here today, as I had only grandson whom I have lost when he turned 16 of age, recent back all of sudden, I had pinned my hopes over him, that he will be my support and act as my old stick to guide me and become the reason to live my lasting days in the world. While he was commemorating the things he used to share with grandson, he was sighing wistfully, and resting off his spectacle from and was wiping his eyes with handkerchief, saying I have no hopes in the world to live more, though I spend my time on writing my books and reading now, and if I have no support of laptop and facebook, I would die overnight, it keeps me engaged with the world and I love to meet the young blood now, who are creative and innovative in the fields of knowledge and insight.
He narrated me the story of this world which is ugly and have no comfort for the virgin soul, easiness you will not find my son here.
As the world is cruel and it will maul you up in one go,
As they love substances not your vigor and gesture,
As he told me in the sad tone of his voice that, I have seen both good and bitterness of the world and I have long lasting experience, and that glister is lost now which I was finding some decades before…..
The world I was longing before were pure like the snow water, and now it’s been dampen with the greed and gory…
A rival who brought the misery, was the plot of my fate who took my grandson from and than the world of substance, where feeling and sympathy were diminishes…
World is cruel and demanding, possessing empty and lure, with the name of substance. It will follow you wherever you go….
And will watch like sentinel, brings restlessness to my heart and nature of being……
I am not like as I seem to be, I am lover of nature and creativity, world had ardent love for me, but destiny and the vindictive nature of human has spotted blackness to my psyche and I failed to understand in which world I am drawn in.
Furthermore, he told me that I asked once to my beloved in the forest, under the trees, by lakes I cannot find him, for substance, he, spirited him to the clamorous city and placed him on the throne of quaking, metal riches, loathe he the material pursuits as he was brought up by nature and which nurtured his surroundings and life he lived is all about the nature and nothing, so, substance….
He calls for him with the voice of knowledge and the song of wisdom. He does not hearken, for substance, has enticed him into the dungeon of selfishness, where avarice dwells. And when he told me, that he called up the realself, at the dawn when nature smiles, but he does not hear, for excess has laden his drugged eyes with sick slumber, and he beguiled realself, at the eventide, when silence rules and the flower sleep. But he responds not, brings, and shadows his thoughts.
He told me, my son, man is my sweetheart and I want to belong him; and he has learned to shriek and cry for his enemy, substance; he would like to teach him how to shed tears of affection and mercy from the eyes of his soul for the things, and the utter sighs of contentment through those tears, he keep saying that his heart is still pains when he commemorates his grandson died and left and pierce and void into his heart which inflicts him always and at the penury of his heart keeps flaming on and the embers of his heart are without smoke and he didn’t know how to extinguish them…
And further more at the end of our conversation he narrated me a good poem which relates to the modern materialistic man and the story that he told me, and advice me that son, life is bunches of ups and downs, and with each down we develop and sense of maturity. So son, beware of life and I wish you luck all the time…..
Once upon a time, son,
they used to laugh with their hearts
and laugh with their eyes:
but now they only laugh with their teeth,
while their ice-block-cold eyes
search behind my shadow.
There was a time indeed
they used to shake hands with their hearts:
but that’s gone, son.
Now they shake hands without hearts
while their left hands search
my empty pockets.
‘Feel at home!’ ‘Come again’:
they say, and when I come
again and feel
at home, once, twice,
there will be no thrice-
for then I find doors shut on me.
So I have learned many things, son.
I have learned to wear many faces
like dresses – homeface,
officeface, streetface, hostface,
cocktailface, with all their conforming smiles
like a fixed portrait smile.
And I have learned too
to laugh with only my teeth
and shake hands without my heart.
I have also learned to say,’Goodbye’,
when I mean ‘Good-riddance’:
to say ‘Glad to meet you’,
without being glad; and to say ‘It’s been
nice talking to you’, after being bored.
But believe me, son.
I want to be what I used to be
when I was like you. I want
to unlearn all these muting things.
Most of all, I want to relearn
how to laugh, for my laugh in the mirror
shows only my teeth like a snake’s bare fangs!
So show me, son,
how to laugh; show me how
I used to laugh and smile
once upon a time when I was like you.
By : Gabriel Okara
After a deep thought of around 2-3hours, and listening to him keenly with the golden word, which I commit that day I will ink them up soon, and before I left his place, he told me to stay with him, as he love to converse with me and his heart unburdened from the yoke he carried into his heart.
As i rose from my seat to depart, Tahir Muzter Sb, came to me soberly and said. Now my son, since you know your way to this house, you should come often and feel that you are coming to your father's house, consider me as your grandfather or father, and this house your own house.
I left the house. The Muzter Sabhib, accompained me to the edge of their house, and say GOD BLESS YOU my son....


Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Only Kashmir Exclusive
Aga Apni Mout se koi Bashar Nahi
Samaan Soo Baras Ka Khabar aik Pal Ki Nahi
Srinagar, Sep 13 (Only Kashmir): Dr. S. K. Pathan, Vice President, Indian Society of Geomatics and Group Director, Space Application Centre, ISRO Ahmedabad, passed away today at the Kashmir University Ghandi Bhawan Hall where speaking on stage at 2-day Regional Conference on Geometrics for Good Governance organized by the Department of Geology, Geophysics and Geoinformatics of the Kashmir University where he presided the inaugural session of the event in the forenoon today.
Dr S K Pathan (53) was a reputed scientist in the field of space technology and had pioneered the use Geo- spatial technologies for good governance all over the country. He is the architect of the model of NUIS National Urban information system model which has been adopted at the national level all over the country .Dr Pathan was a scientist H and spent thirty five years in ISRO at different administrative and scientific positions.
Meanwhile Governor N.N Vohra and the Vice Chancellor of Kashmir University Dr Talat Ahmad has condoled the sad demise of Dr. Dr S K Pathan.
Only Kashmir also expresses grief and sorrow over the untimely demise of Dr S K Pathan.


Saturday, September 10, 2011


Only Kashmir Exclusive

Z G Mohammad's “Review” (?) on my book!
Rejoinder by Ghulam Nabi Khayal
For any scribe or a columnist, it is imperative that he should have ample knowledge of any subject he intends dealing with.
Z G Mohammad has done a very cursorily written review on my latest English publication titled Progressive Literary Movement in Kashmir, reflecting his utter ignorance of this epoch making movement that laid down new foundations of Kashmiri literature about sixty years ago.
First of all, this so called review run by a local newspaper, where he is an employee, on 5 September 2011 begins with a very distasteful note that progressive writers in Kashmir were nicknamed as pongas an trying to bind together broken strings he connects this slangy term with Poga Mogul meaning inauspicious Mughals, though he is not sure about it. This assertion is not based on any kind of research but is an outcome of his own imagination. Similarly, pro-establishment workers were called gogas, a term coined locally without any historical or linguistic etymology. According to the reviewer, “communists occupied the intellectual space of the State for about two decades.” Can he cite one simple example of any progressive writer holding the party card? Even the patron of the Movement, G M Sadiq was not a card-holder communist. The reviewer is also not happy about progressive writers’ role when Sheikh Abdullah was arrested in 1953. This is one’s own outlook as to what was in his mind about Abdullah regime when the skin of political opponents of the time was peeled off from their naked bodies with hot irons and boiling potatoes were thrust into their mouths. When scores of people were forced to go into exile, flee Indian Kashmir and take refuge in other part of Kashmir.
Unfortunately, the reviewer has failed to understand vast difference between a communist and a progressive writer. The patrons of progressivism have been great religious personalities like Maulana Hasrat Mohani and Maulana Barkatullah Bhopali. Communism is a way of life and Marxism rallies around the philosophy of economic awareness among the common masses against their exploiters. No doubt, Marx did write the manifesto of Communist Party in 1848 but by religion, he was a Germany-born Jew.
Zahid talks about his interviews with K A Abbas and BPL Bedi without substantial evidence whether there have been any such interviews or not, for, there is no reference to authenticate this claim.
He also talks about Mohammad Ali Jinnah deputing Mian Iftikharuddin, Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Dr Mohammad Din Taseer to pursue Sheikh Abdullah to come to Karachi for parleys with Jinnah. As a researcher of Faiz, I have nowhere found this imaginary happening, about which the reviewer has been told by some body who is no more to accept or reject this version.
The reviewer has not understood many observations made in the book. Therefore he stumbles at places from one misnomer to another about his own assertions. According to him, BPL Bedi drafted Naya Kashmir. This is not correct. In fact, it was K M Ashraf, a staunch communist quite close to Sheikh Abdullah, who wrote this manifesto of National Conference and not Bedi.
He also gives out his own imaginary and falsified notion that Kashmiri Sufi poets were impressed by Progressive writers’ movement, forgetting that with the beginning of this movement in mid fifties of the 20th century, almost all the Sufi poets had already passed away. Only Ahad Zargar and Samad Mir were living and that too had never associated themselves, even indirectly, with the Movement.
In this hurriedly done exercise, the reviewer has also not adhered to the niceties of language and begins one of his sentences with unheard words like “But instead.”
By all means, the reviewer has not done any justice to this publication, the first of its kind, in his review done probably in haste to coincide its publication with the date of its formal release. This could be described an inadvertent mischievous effort to create confusion among the readers or those more than 200 eminent persons who attended this grand function presided by HE the State Governor.
However, I forget about the reviewer’s error of wrongly spelling my name.
The review of Z.G. MUHAMMAD was published in Daily Greater Kashmir on 05/09/2011 and can be read by visiting following link:


Sunday, September 4, 2011


Srinagar Sep 04 (Only Kashmir): An official spokesman today decried attempts of separatist leader Mr. SAS Geelani to disrupt peace by making provocative speeches which invariably lead to serious law and order disturbances in the Valley.
In a statement released to the media, the spokesman said whenever Mr. Geelani is allowed to address gathering at any place, it is followed by large-scale stone pelting and attacks on Police and Paramilitary Forces leading to serious law and order problem in these areas. July 20, Mr. Geelani addressed a gathering at Verinag, Anantnag, which was followed by heavy stone pelting, forcing the Government to escort him back to Srinagar,the spokesman said and added a similar incident took place on August 31 when he addressed an Eid congregation at Sopore.
On September 2, after his address to Friday congregation at Masjid Bitual Mukaram, Baramulla, he took out a procession up to General Bus Stand, which was followed by heavy stone pelting. Similarly yesterday in Anantnag, his address was followed by stone pelting, the spokesman added.
Criticizing Mr Geelani' shutdown call for September 6 & 7, the spokesman said such calls bring miseries to the people and threaten peace in the State. Government can allow antics of one person to result in law-and-order disturbances, which cause miseries and sufferings to general masses and adversely affect education of children and trade of business fraternity. In future, if any restrictions are put on the movement of Mr.Geelani, he and his actions alone would be responsible for this, the spokesman said.
The spokesman further said that the Government has already granted amnesty to all the stone pelters and is regularly reviewing the cases of detenues under PSA on the instructions of Chief Minister Mr. Omar Abdullah.


Saturday, September 3, 2011


Srinagar Sep 03 (Only Kashmir): Shammi Kapoor, the man who turned singing in a shikara into a style statement with his Tareef Karoon Kya Uski number in the 1964 blockbuster Kashmir Ki Kali, was destined to end his journey in the same Dal Lake.
The veteran actor who passed away on August 14, 2011, have his ashes immersed in the famous lake in Kashmir. And to complete the momentous journey, the late actor's leading ladies Asha Parekh and Sharmila Tagore accompany his son Aditya Raj Kapoor and daughter Kanchan. Good friend Amitabh Bachchan and Shabana Azmi was also the part of the entourage.
Considering that Shammi Kapoor, the filmstar has always been associated to the snow capped mountains of Kashmir and the beautifully decorated shikaras in the Dal lake, his family decided to immerse his ashes in the very place.
"It was my sister Kanchan's idea to immerse our father's ashes in the Dal Lake. He was supposed to visit Kashmir now to celebrate the completion of 100 years of the Lalit Hotel, previously known as the Oberoi. My father stayed in one particular suite in this hotel every time he visited the place," said Shammi Kapoor's son Aditya Raj.
"We are all going there on my father's behalf. He romanced on the Dal Lake, added to the beauty of the gentle shikara, turned Kashmir into a haven for people to fall in love. Tareef karoon kya uski jissne Shammi Kapoor ko banaya," added Aditya.
Amitabh Bachchan, a sel-confessed admirer of the late Shammi Kapoor insisted on being a part of the final journey. The entourage left for Srinagar on Friday morning.
While the Big B and Tina Ambani (also a part of the entourage), flew out on a private jet, the others including Shammi Kapoor's children Aditya Raj and Kanchan took a commercial airline.


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