Writing Texts

Not many academicians attempt to write text books in Kashmir but the trend is changing as Dr Shabnum Ara breaks the lull with her second book on sociology, Syed Asma reports.

Dr Shabnum Ara

Dr Shabnum Ara’s book release event was one of the many events held in Srinagar this month but what made it different was that it is the first textbook of sociology written by a local. So far, there either have been compilations of already published works or guides and references in sociology.

It is Shabnum’s second book and its title reads, ‘Social thought and Indian Social system’.

It took her three years to complete the book and more than six months to get it to the market. “I started working in 2009 after getting a permanent job and finished it in February 2013,” she shares.

Originally from Ruhu in south Kashmir’s Islamabad district Shabnum after qualifying higher secondary examination in her district moved to Aligarh Muslim University to pursue masters in Sociology in 1998. Youngest among seven siblings, Shabnum says that her parents have been very supportive, “it would not have been an easy decision for my parents to send me to Aligarh as we belonged to a remote village and sending a girl thousands of kilometres away for studies needed conviction.”

Shabun’s father is a walnut trader. She says all her siblings are “well-qualified and well-groomed”.

After coming back from Aligarh Muslim University, her parents married her off and she along with her husband moved to Jharkhand, where she pursued her PhD from Ranchi University. And this exposure of being a student and teaching faculty in different Universities of India has motivated her to write a textbook. Besides, she has worked as an Assistant Professor in the University of Jamshedpur as well.

“After spending time in other states I realized that only Kashmiri students rely on guides and references. In rest of India they prefer to consult text books, written by both local and foreign authors,” says Shabnum. “I want to introduce that habit in Kashmir.”

She is presently working as an Assistant Professor in Department of Sociology in Amar Singh College, Srinagar.

Appreciating her efforts of writing a text book, the HoD of her department Professor Mushtaq Ahmed Lone says, “she had made a good effort and we need local Professors and researchers to concentrate on text book writing. I hope this book inspires many more in the state.”

Prof Lone says, in Kashmir students prefer to take short cuts to secure good marks. Efforts like these will introduce more text books and will encourage the students to consult them and use their own brains instead of mugging concepts from guides and references.

According to Shabnum, the book, ‘Social Thought and Indian Social System’ will not only cater to undergraduate and post graduate students of Sociology but will also help students in getting trained in combine competitive examinations like KAS and IAS.

After completing her second book, Shabnum is interested to start working on some new ideas but this time she would like to come up with a full-fledged research based book again as her first book was. It was about conflict and women, ‘Impact of Militancy on Women in Kashmir-A sociological study’. Her first book was compilation of her Ph.D. thesis, she says. It was published in 2008.

The new topics that she will be working on are orphanage and education, reasons of increasing suicides and drug addiction.

Being a sociologist she feels that nuclear family system has weakened the basic social thread of our society leading to loneliness. She believes that in some of these extreme cases teenagers turn to drug abuse and suicide.

Besides, she has submitted a project regarding orphanages and educations where she will be hiring research scholars to help her studying the area. In her pilot study she says she was disappointed by the environment prevailing in most of the orphanages in Kashmir. She is looking forward for the approval from UGC so that she takes up the project and probably would be her next book.

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