Kashmir Truth Be Told Blog
Yus neereth gassan, pheereth cha yevaano: morda che gassan zinde (Kashmiri saying)

8/22/08

Rural Kashmiris cannot write! Really?

I would like to take a break for a day from conitnuing my post about analysing the Independence option for Kashmir and talk about myself. My only intention for doing this is to inspire more students who, just like myself, come from government run public schools to not feel at a disadvantage when it comes to writing in English. I hope this helps more Kashmiri writers on the internet to tell their story.

With an MA in English from Kashmir university I am sure my professors would agree that I was paying attention in some of my classes. Although I must confess that my writings here are in no way intended to be scholarly material or worthy of being submitted as an assingnment or homework. Were I to submit any of these posts as class assignments, the professors would waste no time in chucking them into the closest waste basket.

I do, however, intend my writing to inspire students with a background similar to mine, which is that I went to a government run public school. For the most part, it could be considered Urdu medium (but in fact a Kashmiri medium since most of the instructions were in Kashmiri).

My introduction to English came later. I never went to any of the premier schools in Kashmir such as Burn Hall or Biscoe, Greenland or others in Srinagar. There is also a misconception that closer to home, st. Joseph school or the one in Pattan, the Good Shepherd school students have better english skills than the students of government schools. I find this hard to believe because it is upto the students themselves how much of their time they want to invest in learning a new language. English for us is a foreign language and to master it simply requires time and effort on the student's part.

The reason why I am writing all this is that I would like students from rural Kashmir, and others who attend government schools and have taken it for granted that their language skills are inferior to that of other students who attend private run schools of Srinagar or other parts of the valley, to come out of this self-imposed boundary. It is absolutely untrue that rural students are at a disadvantage compared to the Srinagar students when it comes to learning the English language.

If I can do it, so can anyone else, be they from Chattergul or Pakharpoor; Wangat or Trehgam. There is absolutely no reason why us rural Kashmiris cannot face-off in our language skills with students who come out of private run schools like Burn Hall or Biscoe. Some even go as far to say that most of the students who attend these schools come from rich families and have usually been to other parts of India and overseas, and that is why their English skills are much better.

This might be true to some extent, if we only consider spoken English. Yes it might be true that most of us rural Kashmiris would be at a disadvantage in fluently completing our thoughts in English. This should not be held against us since English is not our first language. What I am trying to convey here is that when it comes to written English, the students of private run schools such as Burn Hall and Biscoe, or the Army School, cannot fare better than us government school graduates, and infact we have a level playing field. I have never been outside of the valley, or been on a plane. To be honest, my only visit outside the valley of Kashmir has been a bus-ride to Kargil. Does that mean that my English should be poor? I beleive it doesnt. My knowledge of world events comes from researching these topics from the internet and from scouring books in the libraries. Does having an informed opinion about a subject come only if you have visited that place? I doubt it does. And I believe that I am able to convey my thoughts in English just as a graduate from Burn Hall or Biscoe does.

With this, my only suggestion to my brothers and sisters is to practice, practice, and then practice some more. There is no such thing as a perfect essay or perfect article that suddenly appears out of thin air. For instance this write up will need atleast three or four revisions to iron out the grammatical errors and make it easier to read. If you do not want to take my word for it, then simply save this on your computer and compare it with another version of it two days from now and you will see where I would have made the corrections.

Back to my original topic of independence, and I hope to have it done by later tonight or tomorrow.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Koshur

    Your English is very good. I never guessed that you came from a Kashmiri medium school. Please keep the good work in promoting education. It is a passion for me as well, both my parents are teachers in government schools (Telugu medium). English is one of the subjects that my dad teaches. My mom teaches maths.

    The government run schools in Andhra Pradesh are very sub standard. It is mostly poor people who come to study there. But a lot of the students there are very bright. When I was still at my parents' place, I used to help them a little with the teaching.

    Teaching is a very gratifying job :)

    I think the internet has a lot of value for education in general. Do you have internet access in the villages you mentioned ? If you don't have it, I hope it will be established soon. That will help the Kashmiris get a lot of exposure.

    Particularly, if you know English you can learn a lot. Written English is very much a matter of practice. If you keep writing more, your language improves. Blogs are very good for this, in my opinion.

    I have just written a post in my blog about the issue of autonomy to Kashmir and other Indian states. Please leave me a comment there. Cheers.

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  2. Kashmirs are not just misguided, but they are also blind.

    They throw stones at security forces, but don't realize that they could be ruling the security forces and the entire India in 20 years time.

    If you think I am lying look at the Sikhs today. 25 years back Sikhs were embroiled in Punjab insurgency and today they they run the government (Manmohan Singh), the army (Joginder Sigh - Army Chief), and the economy (Montek Singh - Head Economic Advisor).

    Forget about self rule. If peace returns to Kashmir, you would not only be ruling yourself, but also the rest of India along with that in 20 years time. Again if you think I am dreaming, the example of Sikhs is right in front of you.

    This is what we call democracy provided that Kashmirs can open their eyes and see it.

    I look forward to your analysis on this and let me know if I am mistaken in your analysis.

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  3. Thanks for offering us (Kashmiris) to rule over India, but we are not interested.

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  4. I don’t think that was an offer to rule over any one. I think It was just to make you realise you are no different from rest of us. You should travel more in other parts of the country it is only then that you will realise that your part of the country is not been singled out as a "no development zone". Once you do travel you will realize we have a common enemy ie. poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and the list can go on and on and on.
    Just think why dose a tourist coming to Kashmir from other parts of the country inspite of all the threat to his/her life go there he wants to find out WHY and most come back puzzled as the problems in Kashmir are not any different from anywhere else in the country. All this is making us waste a lot of resources . Just think of the number of schools colleges hospitals that can be run in that money.
    As far as ruling India is concerned in these last so many years I think we have realised no one region or religion dominates. There are very promising leaders from your state to some I am sure I will feel very proud of if they become PM of this country one day.

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