Foreign First!

Ching-Cha-Thowin-MarmaRecently, at a counselling session on International Academic Programs, a scribe who has done his masters degree from United States remarked that Kashmir University is closed – closed in every sense. He explained that education is confined to classrooms only but students need to move out and meet people.

Whether Kashmir University sends its students for foreign educational tours or not but foreign students are joining KU and getting degrees awarded here.

In 2013, Nadia Mehr became first Pakistani student to get doctorate from the varsity and this year Bangladesh’s Ching Cha Thowin Marma was awarded Masters Degree becoming the first foreign student to get MA degree from Kashmir University.

Earlier, two students from Srilanka completed their PhD from the varsity and another one from Bangladesh is doing PhD from UMIKS whose supervisor is from KU’s English Department.

Kashmir University started UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Institute of Kashmir Studies, which was meant for research on Kashmir and issues concerning it.

But in 2013, the varsity started two years MA course in ‘Kashmir and South Asia Studies’ wherein students from South Asian nations forming South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) are being given admission and are supported by South Asia Foundation.

Ching Cha Thowin Marma, a resident of Chittagong Hill Tracts, joined Kashmir University in 2013 as South Asia Foundation (SAF) scholar for two years MA program.

Detailing his two years experience at Kashmir University, Ching Thursday at a function held in UMIKS said, “I never thought of completing this degree; the course was new and I faced many problems.”

Ching lamented the cumbersome process in getting work done at Kashmir University.

“But today, I’ve one MA degree and a dozen professional courses’ certificates awarded from Kashmir University,” he said adding, “you (juniors) won’t find any problem while getting your certificates as I have set things alright.”

Ching is part of MA first batch and with him two more students from Nepal and Afghanistan had joined the course but they left without completing the degree. In second batch, nine SAARC students are studying the program and come from Bhutan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Strategizing Snatch

Sangam-AttackAFSPA doesn’t apply to them but CRPF is working on changing the strategy of deployment and patrolling of its men in order to curb the incidents of weapon-snatching by militants. This was revealed by the Director General of CRPF, Prakash Mishra, who is in valley these days.

The comment came days after two CRPF personnel were gunned down by a militant in South Kashmir and their weapons were snatched as well.

Mishra said they are happy that Kashmiri youth are taking part in it (army recruitment rallies) adding CM Mufti Sayeed is also keen that more youth should join the forces.

“Strategy will be changed to stop weapon snatching incidents. Do not want militants to take away our weapons or that we suffer any damages in these incidents. We are working on that,” Mishra said.

A suspected militant last Monday killed two CRPF men including an officer at Halmulla Sangam in South Kashmir’s Islamabad district.

The militant fled the spot and took away the rifles with them. Later that day, militant outfit Hizbul Mujahedeen claimed responsibility of the attack.

Its spokesperson Baleeg-Ud-Din was quoted as saying that Hizb militants attacked a road opening party killing two CRPF personnel on spot. “Such attacks will continue till Kashmir attains freedom,” he said.

Mapping Row

In 1982 western media showed Siachen glacier as part of Pakistan but it didn’t go well with then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and she made it sure that her forces attack the glacier. And since then it is the world’s highest battlefield.

From last year, in 2014, it has become a norm that offshore media in its cartographic representation of India separates the state of J&K from it. This time ‘controversial’ map of Jammu and Kashmir again proved to be reason of unease for India when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg triggered a storm of reaction on his official FB account by sharing a graphical post depicting India’s map without Kashmir.

Highlighting the achievements of its platform, Zuckerberg posted an info-graphic with maps of 11 nations including India. However, after noticing the map without Kashmir, a floodgate of comments ensued.

Hours after this FB post, it was Chinese state run TV that showed Indian maps without two ‘disputed’ states of Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh. It happened when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in China holding deliberations with his Chinese counterpart.

However in April 2015, Al Jazeera, a Doha-based news channel was banned in India for five days after officials insisted it had repeatedly shown ‘wrong’ maps of Kashmir, showing the region as parts of Pakistan and China.

During G20 summit (2015) in Australia, PM Modi visited Queensland University where an Indian map missed some parts of J&K state. Meanwhile it was reported after event that university authorities gave their unconditional apology.

In March 2015, Organizer magazine, RSS mouthpiece, also showed some parts of Jammu and Kashmir as part of Pakistan. The issue got hyped to the extent that it was discussed in Parliament of India and it made the RSS or BJP men to distant themselves from the magazine, saying “map depicted in the magazine does not endorse the views of either the BJP, or the RSS.”

However, in the same year, a Bangladeshi Tourism brochure at International Kolkatta Book Fair also showed a large area of Kashmir as part of Pakistan.


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