KP in US
Year 2015 saw some Non-Resident Kashmiris (NRKs) ascend the glorious heights in the field of science. Kashmir-born Privahini Badroo secured the grant of $ 35 million in the United States for her start-up, BlueOak, which aims to extract reusable metals from electronic waste. A 2006 Fulbright scholar with a PhD in Developmental Neuroscience from the University of Auckland and an MBA from Harvard University, Privahini aims to target 40 million tons of discarded e-waste annually, extracting the precious materials from them to reduce the need to mine. The funding for her company came as the US President Barack Obama honored Privahini for her path breaking start-up. Born in Kashmir, Privahini grew up in Oman before moving to New Zealand. She is now based in the US.
In Love with Kashmir
With Salman Khan-starrer Bajrangi Bhaijan ticking at the box-office, Bollywood in 2015 seemed posturing itself aggressively to explore the scenic locales of Kashmir anew. In years preceding the outbreak of political unrest, most Bollywood crews would waltz into the exotic destinations across vale and shake legs before the camera. The hordes of arrivals from the tinsel town ultimately dried down to a trickle. But earlier this year, CM Mufti Syed stepped up efforts to persuade some top-shelf names across industry to ‘rediscover’ Kashmir. He promised a single-window clearance system to film crews with focus on back-end linkages like procurement of high-tech equipment and logistics to make it easier for big-banner production houses to shoot here.
Global Kashur Music
Three star performers from Kashmiri flew to international destinations this year to mesmerize the audience with their live rendition. Sponsored by an amalgam of NRKs, singing sensation Mehmeet Syed and the duo Irfan-Bilal enthralled both the Kashmiri diaspora and foreign attendance at private parties and events. The trio performed in the United States before travelling to Australia and New Zealand. In the last leg of their world tour, they will be setting off for Middle East.
For many years now, Kashmir’s oldest and highest seat of learning – University of Kashmir – remained shut for over a week. Students erupted in protests, boycotted classes against detention of a fellow student over alleged militant links. Later court pronounced him innocent. The tumultuous week saw varsity being turning into a battle ground with cops firing aerial shots to disperse the protesting students when VC secretariat came under stone pelting. Under shadow, Muslim Waqf Board run Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University too remained shut for over a month. Students seethed with anger as news about the scholarship scam forced them to come out on roads. Demanding the removal of the then registrar – believed to be the culprit – the students boycotted classes for over a fortnight.
He knows what he did ‘Last Summer’. The independent lawmaker Er Rashid grabbed most eyeballs this year. In response to the court’s direction to forbid cow slaughter, Rashid threw up a beef party, enraging the ban advocates. In the aftermath, he met a series of backlashes involving ink attacks and instances of manhandling – one of which happened inside state legislature. The attack catapulted him in the white-heat attention of the world media. By the year end, Rashid thrust the final nail in the coffin when he paraded dog, cow and a horse to ostensibly demonstrate how animals enjoy more rights than Kashmiris in India.
Kashmiri writer Prof (Dr) Nitasha Kaul, who was a panelist in the ‘Head to Head’ discussion at the Oxford Union on Al Jazeera, listed the Modi government’s “sins of commission and omission”.
She expressed her support for Kashmir and her co-panelist Gautam Sen, a pro-Hindutva professor and president World Association of Hindu Academicians called her “Ambassador of Pakistan”.
Since then Nitasha, a Kashmiri Pandit, has made headlines in mainstream media and has penetrated into the chat rooms of Kashmiris. She is being applauded for her intrepid and daunting stance on Kashmir.
In a first, Srinagar based human rights defender group released a detailed report titled ‘Structures of Violence’. The report documents the extra-judicial killings of 1080 persons and enforced disappearances of 172 persons and numerous cases of torture and sexual violence. The purpose of the report, the organizers say, was to make sure that people of Kashmir do not forget the crimes committed by India and her proxies. On the other end, Mirwaiz Umar led Hurriyat Conference reviewed human rights situation of 2015 in a detailed report. According to the report, a total numbers of 206 deaths in violent incidents were reported in 2015. Out of 206 persons, 53 were Civilians, 41 Armed Forces and Police Personnel and 111 Militants. Earlier, Mannan Bukhari, the human rights division head of Hurriyat Conference (m) released a book on pellet affected Kashmiris, The Scars of Pellet.
Kashmir Diaspora living in Europe organized “Kashmir Freedom March” across Europe on November 12-13, when Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi was on a visit to the United Kingdom. The organizers said the motive behind the mid-night “Kashmir Freedom March” was to highlight the “atrocities committed by Indian state” in Jammu and Kashmir. India was holding J&K at the behest of “brute force”. NRKs from across the Europe participated in the march and highlighted the Human Rights Violations in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and demanded the implementation of UN resolutions in the disputed territory.
‘K’ in UK Parliament
Nearly half a million Kashmiris live in the United Kingdom. They migrated from PaK areas; mostly Mirpur after the Mangla Dam devoured hundreds of villages. Their second and third generations are more British than their grand-parents and are contributing to the socio-economic life of UK, including politics. In this year’s election, which saw David Cameron’s win for the second time, over a dozen Kashmiris entered the oldest monarch headed state.