Arun Koul

o begin with, please accept these wishes for a joyful New Year 2009 from all of us at Shehjar, where we are collaboratively building a vision for our Global Kashmiri community while being a source of Kashmiri culture information, news and views to rest of the world.

Communicating in 2009
It is said that the most powerful force in the universe is gossip...especially the E-mail variety. Email has practical benefits too and we feel blessed just to know that we can reach friends, family and Shehjar so. In a fleeting moment -lo, at practically no cost, when you want us to most, even when you do not want us to - oh! Yet, most of the time we procrastinate, or hold back, to save ourselves and others too from God forbid, actually communicating. After all, who needs inane conversations that go something like, "What degrees is the weather there, I may make the trip in a few years." "I am on the road and my car needs some gas in the first mile. How far is the nearest gas station from where you are now?"

However, as we start to get loving html coded greetings and wonderful multimedia cards, we know that it is indeed and truly a joyful experience to be in communication. And we realize that we ourselves have caught the bright and young spirit of the oncoming new-year. So as you respond to your near and dear ones, we at Shehjar would also like to hear from you. Please write to us at regarding how you felt about Shehjar in 2008 and what your expectations are for 2009.

Wishes for 2009
Irrespective of what transpired, our analysis of 2008 and every other past year could be summed up by a Mirza Ghalib’s couplet, given below along with my translation attempt:-
Hazaaron Khwahishain Aisi Ki har Khwahish Pe Dam Nikle
Bahut Nikle Mere Arman, Lekin Phir Bhi Kam Nikle
Thousands of such desires, each one to die for
Many such desires were realized, yet not enough

As for William Shakespeare, "I have immortal longings in me", so for us. We all have a wish list for the new-year 2009 and while some of the realized ones would bring utter joy, some unrealized ones could hurt. This will not deter us from making our best efforts, as we are reminded of another couplet;
Girte hain ShahSawar Hee Maidan-E-Jung mein
Woh Tifl Kya Giren Jo Gutnon Ke Bal Chalte Hain
Those only fall that ride into the battlefield
How can those specks fall that crawl on their knees

We wish you well in your efforts towards realizing your individual 2009 goals. At the same time, we request you to keep Shehjar as a collective goal and help the magazine to even better serve its readership. We have come this far purely on effort, with our own funds, due to your readership and the complete involvement of our writers and editors. As the magazine grows, its needs are growing and we request you to sign up as advertisers, sponsors and donors, to help create an operational budget for infrastructure, maintenance and publishing. We also need your association as writers, correspondents, section-editors and in other voluntary positions. Please let us know at how you could contribute.

They can hold all the elections they want and give out all the doles that are asked of them but some Kashmiris will never be satisfied. Millions of years from now, when the entire galaxy is one and an inter-galactic federation is being created, these Kashmiris will desperately seek the attention of the entire universe for a 40x40 square miles space, which they claim as belonging only to them.

On a more poignant note, below are a couple of stanzas from a poem by Maharaj Kaul, who regularly publishes in Shehjar.

Childhood streamed with delightful ease;
Everything was connected, everything was afire.
There was no beginning and there was no end.
Playing on the seashore of time, every moment was precious –
Yet every moment was dispensable.
I want to feel the unsmooth, soft earth below my feet,
See the uncluttered horizon in full width,
Be an element of my community,
Know my neighbors’ first names,
And visit my grandparents’ graves.

It is said that people who want to share their religious or political views with you almost never want you to share yours with them. Not so at Shehjar, where we ask you to send us your views and opinions to

Youth and Shehjar
There comes a time when you should stop making a fuss about others. That time is when the “others” turn 8, according to my son who incidentally will turn 8 in a couple of months.

This is not to fuss over, but Shehjar does need our kids and young adults to get involved in a big way. We believe that you are the ones who will run the show and make our future. I hope that I am able to explain how Shehjar needs you in the following lines:
You possessors of happy hearts, loving and merry souls
Radiate a shine from blessings of the Omni
And as the moon, lighted by the sun, shines on a forest path,
You so softly light our link to the next road

So, all kids, young adults, our youth, please come on board. You can also start by telling us about what you hold as the most important issues for you and the world in 2009. The email address to contact is

Making Friends in the New year
The one thing that unites all of us, regardless of gender, ethnic background, religion, age, social or economic status is that deep down inside, we all want get-togethers and parties. So, many good friendships are made during dinner parties. Armed with this bit of wisdom, absolutely enjoy yourselves and make many new friends.

After you have enjoyed the nice, spicy food, with the fire-hot chutneys, please, also spare a thought and some donations for those that need your help. On a side note, please pardon me for sharing this but someone did remark that our fiery concoctions are the reason for us Indians' fondness for using several gushes of water along with toilet paper.

Regarding your New Years’ Evening Party, I am reminded of the famous, inspirational song by Lee Ann Womack that has words that go; “Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance - And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance… - I hope you dance.” Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

Final Words
Please consider that every day has the potential for an amazing achievement and every day is best for beginning the process. You have your list of wishes for 2009 and many wishes can come true with the right effort.

Having said that, we send you our wish, that your own good wishes may come true. And even as you gain material and personal successes, may you have a purposeful life that is lived above all gains and losses, successes and failures.

With many thanks for our times together so far
And for the times together to come

On Behalf of the Shehjar Editorial Board
Arun Koul
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