Kashmir’s contribution to Medicine

I recently read an interesting article on medicine, the title of the article was Kashmir’s contribution to the field of Medicine. I got very excited and started reading it but got very disappointed at the end as it gave me an impression that we are so low on this graph that we have to lie about it and do a fake feel-good exercise for our people.

Let’s dissect this article a bit, it starts with Kashmir’s contribution, which it considers an important part of overall Indian contribution and then elucidates the contributions of Sushruta and Charaka. It ends with saying the journey of Acharya Sushruta and Acharya Charaka will continue to inspire the world thousands of years following them. It mentions Sushruta is recognised as the Father of Surgery worldwide. Sushruta-225x300

There is a statue of Sushruta in the Royal Australia College of Surgeons, Melbourne that has the plaque mentioning him as Father of Surgery, which has been donated to the college by one its Alumni, Dr K M Cherian who is very fond of and inspired by Sushruta.

Actually, Sushruta is one of number of individuals who is described as Father of Surgery e.g., Medieval European surgical texts quoted Az-Zahrawi, known to the West by his Latin name Albucasis more often than Galen, the ancient world’s acknowledged master. Az-Zahrawi is the first to detail the classic operation for cancer of the breast, lithotrities for bladder stones, and techniques for removing thyroid cysts. He describes and illustrates obstetrical forceps, but only recommends their use with deceased fetuses, and provides the first known description of the obstetric posture now known as ‘Walcher’s position’. His work is also the first in diagramming surgical instruments, detailing over two hundred of them, many of which Az-Zahrawi devised himself. Many of these instruments, with modifications, are still in use today. Az-Zahrawi is also described as the Father of Surgery. However, this is not my point, both Sushruta and Charaka have made lot of contributions to the field of medicine and surgery and will continue to inspire us all but how can we attribute their contributions to Kashmir.
Sushruta and Charaka have been described as Kashmiris. Sushruta is known to be the son of Vishvamitra, who is one of the most venerated sages of ancient India. Vishwamitra was actually a king who belonged to Amavasu Dynasty but gave away kingdom to his sons and went on to become Brahmarshi. He was the guru of Rama and Sita’s father king Janak also belonged of the same dynasty. His story is narrated in Ramayana and Mahabharata also describes his relationship with Menaka. Sushruta himself practised medicine in the Benares region on the banks of Ganges river, modern-day Varanasi. So how is Sushruta a Kashmiri or even Charaka for that matter who is often referred to as the Father of Indian Medicine. If we look at the Wikipedia page of the Charaka. It says Charaka was the resident of Kapisthal in Panchanada now known as Kapurthala in Punjab. Panchanada was name of Punjab in Mahabharata. Both Sushruta and Charaka were the principal contributors to Ayurveda. Sushruta Samhita and Charaka Samhita are two of the Great Trilogy of Ayurvedic Medicine third one being the Astanga Hridaya. Ayurvedic Medicine is among the oldest medical systems in the world, dating back to the Vedic Period of India around 5000 BCE. If we go by the logic of the author then Ayurveda has also been originated in Kashmir but unfortunately Kashmiris not know it.

I think it is good to inspire people and make them proud of their heritage but it has to be done with honesty otherwise if falls apart. For more on medical advances and contributors, please visit here.

No Exams After Winter Break

UntThere have been some reports that J&K government is thinking of shifting the examination session of primary to secondary classes from November to March and final decision on this may be taken in coming weeks. We don’t know where the idea came from but government should not hasten in making the decision as it is not well thought out. Almost every college in the United States has exams before winter break. There may be many colleges in India where admissions start in June-July time frame but that does not mean we should mess our academic calendar based on that. In fact, that that may be once in a life time opportunity for pupils to prepare themselves better to get into their dream college. There are many things to consider in this regard and we cannot shift the exams on a mere single data point.

Too much work and strain on the brain is not good for the pupils, leisure activities are important part of our lives as well and break also helps them to be more psychologically ready for another academic year that is the reason we have vacations. Exams just after the winter break do not make any sense as long break creates an intellectual and mental lapse, which affects student scores and makes them feel guilty for not studying enough.

Little ones tend to get excited for the winter break, it is the time when extended families get together. Kids go to their grandparent’s house, cousins get together, many go outside the state to break the routine and avoid the harsh weather, which even lingers the break. If we schedule the exams after the winter break we will not be allowing them to enjoy holidays. It means pupils will have to worry about exam during the break, for most pupils that would mean studying full time hours. As schools will be closed for winter break and pupils need more academic help during exam time, it will further increase the menace of private coaching. Making pupils anxious during holidays and keep them thinking about looming exams will not be a good strategy.

According to the office of the Secretary-General of the European schools, the school year must consist of 180 working days. Although we have winter and summer breaks but the calendar is not fixed and dates are always released by the government at the eleventh hour. This makes planning difficult for both students and their parents. We should have a fixed academic calendar that includes the winter break from 1st week of December to 1st week of March and summer break for the month of July. Unless something drastic happens, this should never change. We make government to make things better and easier for us and not the vice versa.

Love My Beard

solSupreme Court of India has now dismissed a petition by a Muslim guy and upheld the rules of Air Force that prohibit the sporting of beard of its personnel. Although it has saddened the Muslims in India but what is really unfortunate is that how Supreme Court looked at the matter superficially and passed judgement on this.

Soldiers and officers have been sporting mustaches, goatees, beards or sideburns all over the world in past and today also it is a common sight in many countries. As long as it is well maintained and does not proffer a eccentric image there is no reason why personnel should not be allowed to sport a beard.

Canada allows Muslims, Sikhs or orthodox Jews to maintain beard due to religious requirements. In United States US military expanded its policies on religious accommodation in 2014 and allowed all officer and enlisted personnel to request permission to wear beards and articles of clothing for religious reasons.
Many countries in the world permit armed forces to have beards and do not pose any restrictions e.g., Italy, Iran, Sri Lanka, Austria, Spain, etc. Whereas other countries allow beard / facial hair but soldiers need to make a request for it.

Many countries like Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, etc. who deployed their personnel in Afghanistan allowed their personnel to wear any type of beard. As most Afghans wear full beard having beard in Afghanistan helps in strong bonding and advancing contacts with the Afghan population. British Army has been seen sporting a full range of stubble, mustaches and beards in Afghanistan in an effort to blend with the Afghan men. Similarly army from other countries were also allowed to wear beard to break down the cultural barriers.

Now honorable Supreme Court judges need to ponder, if soldiers from other cultures can sport beard to get close to the people of another culture, why can’t soldiers in India wear beard not only to protect their own culture but more importantly to fulfill their religious obligation.

Allah is beautiful and loves beautiful things

Sagrada Familia, church of Holy Family is Spain’s most popular tourist attraction. More than 3 million people visit the basilica each year.

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia in Spain has reached the final phase of construction. Once complete it will become the tallest cathedral in Europe with Tower of Jesus Christ, at 172 meters.


If we make a comparison with the religious places we build in Kashmir, we build lot of Masjids but without any thought on architecture, surroundings, etc. Jamia Masjid was build about seven centuries ago by Sultan Sikandar. This very beautiful Masjid has Indo-Saracenic architecture, a magnificent courtyard and 370 wooden pillars but after that we haven’t built any grand or beautiful Masjid in Kashmir, which we can say is an architecture marvels and people from all over the world who come to Kashmir would like to visit.


United We Stand Divided We Fall

Hateful propaganda that attempts to align other countries against the Muslim world, imposition of western values that bring inner turmoil and reinforcement of Radical Islam that provokes internal wars in the Arab nations. The conflicts in Muslim world has got elevated to a higher level and we would have not been here if we would have reflected upon what Islam teaches us.

Maharashtra bans Beef


The government of Maharashtra has banned beef on the pretext of cows being holy to Hindus. This has not affected only minorities and dalits (so called untouchables) but also poor people for whom beef is the only affordable non-vegetarian food. However, what looks interesting is that beef is not really forbidden in Hindu religion.

Here is what Hindu scriptures say …

Manusmriti (Chapter 5 / Verse 30) says, “It is not sinful to eat meat of eatable animals, for Brahma has created both the eaters and the eatables.”

Manusmriti (5 / 35) states: When a man who is properly engaged in a ritual does not eat meat, after his death he will become a sacrificial animal during twenty-one rebirths.

Maharishi Yagyavalkya says in Shatpath Brahmin (3/1/2/21) that, “I eat beef because it is very soft and delicious.”

Apastamb Grihsutram (1/3/10) says, “The cow should be slaughtered on the arrival of a guest, on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ of ancestors and on the occasion of a marriage.”

Rigveda (10/85/13) declares, “On the occasion of a girl’s marriage oxen and cows are slaughtered.”

Rigveda (6/17/1) states that “Indra used to eat the meat of cow, calf, horse and buffalo.”

Vashistha Dharmasutra (11/34) writes, “If a Brahmin refuses to eat the meat offered to him on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ or worship, he goes to hell.”

Comments of some great scholars of Hinduism …

Hinduism’s greatest propagator Swami Vivekanand said thus: “You will be surprised to know that according to ancient Hindu rites and rituals, a man cannot be a good Hindu who does not eat beef”. (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekanand, vol.3, p. 536).

Mukandilal writes in his book ‘Cow Slaughter – Horns of a Dilemma’, page 18: “In ancient India, cow-slaughter was considered auspicious on the occasions of some ceremonies. Bride and groom used to sit on the hide of a red ox in front of the ‘Vedi’ (alter).”

A renowned scholar of scriptures Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane says, “Bajsancyi Samhita sanctifies beef-eating because of its purity”. (Dharmashastra Vichar Marathi, page 180)

Adi Shankaracharya’ commentary on Brihdaranyakopanishad 6/4/18 says : ‘Odan’ (rice) mixed with meat is called ‘Mansodan’. On being asked whose meat it should be, he answers ‘Uksha’. ‘Uksha’ is used for an ox, which is capable to produce seme.

Jealous Are Troublesome

It is important to surround yourself with positive people, not the kind who are negative and jealous of everything you do.

Historical Wall in Shambles

Kalai, a historical wall, which had been declared a protected monument by state government continues to be in shambles and is facing human sabotage.


Government has been turning a blind eye to the encroachments, which wall has been facing. In fact, there has been a sabotage by the Wakf Board itself, a responsible body, which on the contrary should have worked for its protection.


Due to lack of preservation wall is collapsing now at many places. It has become so fragile that even a mere drizzle can torn it into pieces.


The Kalai is not a very old wall, it was built by Mughals in 16th century. The government of Jammu and Kashmir should learn a lesson by looking at how 2000 year old Roman wall is protected in London.


In China law forbids drive or span over the Great Wall using any vehicle, trees are planted near the wall to prevent erosion and on the other side every residential colony cuts a tunnel in the Kalai to reach the other side. It is noteworthy that the length of Great Wall is around 6000 KM whereas the length of Kalai is mere 4.75 KM.


Developing Brand Srinagar

downloadOver the years there has lot of unplanned growth in Srinagar city and it is growing at a rapid pace, it has been estimated that in a decade or so there will be no free land available in the city. The city is getting congested and needs a multipronged strategy to solve its issues.

Ultra modern satellite townships

Firstly, we must realize that more and more people are going to live in urban areas, which may go up to 60 percent in 2030. We need to build ultra modern satellite townships around the city that have all the infrastructure including hospitals, schools, digital connectivity, etc. and are connected back to the main city with world class motorways. We cannot have stressed-out people wasting their time in traffic jams. Comparatively, commuting in Srinagar city is very time consuming in spite of short distances.

Land use zoning

There is lot of residential space used for commercial purposes. In fact, there are less resources required to develop commercial spaces and provide opportunities for the people in the internal city. For example, let’s take an example of shops on either side of the Nalamar road, which can be easily developed into multistorey commercial complexes and multistorey parking facilities. It will not only provide lot of commercial space in the city, free up some residential space but also give a new look to the city.

High rise building

We can build high rise buildings for commercial purposes and provide ultra modern office spaces in the city. Government offices, banks, etc. can also be concentrated in these buildings. We can also experiment with selling and leasing commercial space to entrepreneurs for setting up hotels, which will help us to accommodate more tourists without putting heavy pressure on residential colonies.

Internal city renewal

We need to develop internal city, clear slums and redesign the residential colonies. Planned dense horizontal housing with infrastructure that will reduce environmental and health hazards and places of leisure will help in developing a rich cultural life in the city.

Today cities make a virtue of their atmosphere and heritage. We have to protect our heritage sites like Kalai (historical wall), Hari Parbat fort, etc. Nowadays we cannot even imagine of built a grand Masjid like Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta but at least we should build good service roads to all its gates.

We should develop our waterways that connect our religious places and develop the experiences for both visitors and residents alike. We have a foreshore road around Dal lake but unfortunately we cannot have any glimpse of lake from Dalgate to Hazratbal on one side. There are encroachments as well as some legal constructions in the area. However, we can acquire that land and build some iconic building there, we can move some vital institutions there or allow opportunity for new ones, it could be an hospital that provides tertiary care and promotes medical tourism, a luxury hotel for high-end tourists, sports facility, etc. That will not only help to unlock the land in other residential areas but also beautify the city. We are widening the roads but the widened roads have dividers of just 2-3 feet. We don’t have any road in the state with wide dividers of 10-12 feet with greenery and decorative plants or cycle track.


Cities create their own identities and environment sustainability has to be achieved by providing clean, green and safe environment and deal with pollution in all its forms, manage waste and water resources. There is a need to improve the process of collecting and disposing waste. Necessary actions need to be taken that encourage people to re-use and to recycle. We need to protect our water bodies. Till now we have not succeeded in conserving Brari Nambal lagoon, our lakes are shrinking and we all know the state of Jehlum river.


We have started building roads but still little is done and the works goes on at snails pace. What is painful is that we first build narrow roads and then start widening them. The road from Kathi Darwaza to Mukhdoom Sahib Shrine could have been easily widened by procuring some land from Wakf when Sultan-Ul-Arfeen school was being built. Similarly we have build a new multi-specialty hospital in front of SMHS but did not bother to widen the road even to 90 feet. There has been lot of road widening done at many places but bottlenecks have not been removed. We have a by-pass road from Awantipora to Parimpora and then we have a Dr. Ali Jan Road from Sakidafar to Soura but the link between these two roads from Parimpora to Sakidafar takes more time to travel than the entire stretch of these two roads. So many years have passed since Fateh kadal bridge was built but the bottle neck till Karanagar still exists. We have been widening the Dalgate-Soura road on one side and there is Nalamar road on other side but the link roads from Gojwara to Rajouri Kadal and Nowhatta to Bouri Kadal continue to be bottlenecks. Most of the traffic jams/congestions are due to lack of properly designed road junctions: Qamarwari, Bohri Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, Khanyar Chowk, Sakidafar, Dalgate are just few examples.

The Road Ahead

HazratbalMuslim Awqaf Trust (Muslim Waqaf Board) was initially formed back in 1940, with the name Idara Auqaf Islamia, it has been managing various Masjids, Shrines, Institutes and working for the development of the community from last 75 years but in spite of huge assets and income it has not able to contribute much to the Muslim society in Kashmir, which is attributed to lack of vision and transparency.

Below are only couple of objective of the Muslim Awqaf Trust:

  • To set up homes for destitute women and children and otherwise to grant financial assistance to needy women and children including setting up or aiding and assisting vocational centers for the betterment of the lot of the Muslim women and orphans or needy children.
  • To grant stipends, scholarships, loans or other financial assistance to deserving persons of the State for education, vocational training and other pursuits.

Now let’s ask few questions to ourselves.

  • Is there any orphanage that Muslim Awqaf Trust has created with state of art facilities for numerous orphans in Kashmir?
  • Do we know of any well publicized scholarship test, where tests are conducted transparently and results are declared publically?
  • Do the needy people in Kashmir have easy access to money, which they can borrow from the Muslim Awqaf Trust?

How many of the questions listed above did you answer affirmatively? I believe none of the above. If we look at the income and expenditure of the Muslim Awqaf trust, which is in crores, it seems that trust could have not achieved only all of the above but much more.

Muslim Awqaf Trust is running many educational institutions under its supervision but it has not able to create a brand yet. If there would have been zest and spirit to achieve and to excel. We should have seen a family of schools where students would have been equipped to access the best opportunities of growth and advancement. The concept of enlightened Muslims could have been the backdrop of all their endeavors. Some percentage of the seats could have been reserved to the poor but meritorious students without compromising the standard of the education.

Below is the list of schools run under the supervision of Muslim Awqaf trust.

  • Sultan-ul-Arifeen Wakf Higher Secondary School, Srinagar
  • Mantaqui Memorial Wakf Higher Secondary School Awantipora
  • Muslim Boys & Girls Wakf High School, Qalamdanpora Srinagar
  • Muslim Gousia Girls Wakf Secondary School, Khanyar Srinagar
  • Baba Shukur-ud-Din Wakf Memorial Wakf High School, Watlab Sopore
  • Gousia Wakf Secondary School, Kakapora Pulwama
  • Alamdar Wakf Secondary School, Charar-i-Sharief
  • Hanfiya Nabiya Wakf Middle School, Kabamarg, Anantnag
  • Hanfiya Wakf Middle School, Asham
  • Baba Payam-ud-Din Reshi Wakf Middle School, Hajibal, Tangmarg
  • Sheikh Hamza Memorial Wakf Middle School, Aham-i-Sharief, Bandipora
  • Shah Namatulla Qadri Wakf Pry. School, Safakadal, Srinagar

None of the above schools seems to be in the list of top schools in Kashmir. The schools set up by missionaries and outside societies are still leading in Kashmir.

The Muslim Awqaf Trust has been spending lacks of rupees in replacing the beautiful lush green lawns in the shrines and other religious places with devir stone flooring. One fails to understand what is the need of the same, should we not beautify the green lawns instead and spend the money where it is needed the most.

Many shopping complexes have been constructed till now by the Muslim Awqaf Trust but the design and construction of almost all of them has been mediocre. Why could we have not started with fewer shopping malls but of world class quality that every Muslim would have been proud of.

It seem Muslim Awqaf Trust needs to do some introspection and build a vision statement for itself. It needs to open up for the society and use its resources prudently for the betterment of the Muslim community in Kashmir.