Rise in Kashmir

The period of 10 months that I spent with and within the Rising Kashmir newspaper was beautiful. “With” because I worked in the organisation and “within” because I received a lot of love from its players. I wish, I had a choice to continue with you for lifelong. Though the love that I received is sufficed for lifelong.

Last week, Daily Rising Kashmir celebrated its completion of 8th year of its publication. I remember, I was in the 9thclass when the paper hit the market on March 10, 2008 with its enticing design and fabulous reportage under highly skilled guidance of Shujaat Bukhari sir—top journalist from the Valley, who previously worked with The Hindu as Kashmir correspondent.  When I resigned in November, 2015, I can’t forget how helpful and loving the he  was to me. Those inspiring lines still echoes in my mind. I wish every journalism student could work under such a mentor for atleast once in his/her lifetime.

Next was, Suhail sir, with whom I had a relationship since before the newspaper. He was my editor and also my teacher in the university. He was the best in both forms. I credit my hard news reporting skills to Suhail sir’s lectures in the university, where he laboured more than we did. I miss his guidance a lot.

Gowhar sir began inspiring me the day he edited my first feature story about “drug de-addiction”. It was amazing when he trimmed that from 3000 words to 1200 words within half an hour.  Later, he became my mentor in journalism field and I benchmark my ideology with him.

Faisul sir was brilliant at ideation. I still wonder how quickly he could think of better ideas about simple things than anyone else and would insist reporters to do a story on that.

I owe a lot to Nazir sir too. He was more like a big brother to me rather than my page editor and would always give me freedom to work on my own.

Coming to colleague circle of reporters; I surely miss dry jokes of Manzoor baya, love of Saleem baya, sisterhood of Sumaiya, smile of Haika and Omar, who were interns that time.

I wish all the best to this highest institute of “fair” journalism in the valley.



I own my money

This was a chaotic and confusion-filled week for the salaried classes. It began making its presence felt the moment Arun Jaitley announced his third Union Budget last week.
The employee provident fund (EPF) is the backbone of a private employee, but the government announced it wanted to trim this retirement support by imposing a tax on it during withdrawal. The resultant hue and cry created dangerous ripples in the employee community creating such an impact that Jaitley had to rollback the retrospective proposal in Parliament on Tuesday. Retirement time is a very crucial period for an old person where his lifelong hopes hinge on the corpus earned through his three-decade or so professional life. In smaller cities or rural areas like my town, most retired people withdraw EPF and start a small business from where they can earn enough money. Even though the government’s intention of helping a retired man to overcome old-age hardships is real, the method implied to achieve it is not correct. The problem with annuity is that the money is blocked for life, the returns are lower than the other financial instruments and the payout from annuity is taxed. I wonder why the government forgot about the value of liquidity in an old retired life, where medical emergencies are frequent. One of the arguments of the government was to level EPF with the national pension scheme (NPS), but it appears that the finance minister has overlooked failure of the NPS. The National Pension Scheme has failed to get the number of subscribers it expected because it does not generate as high post-tax returns as the EPF.
Nevertheless, the government has succumbed to pressure from every nook and corner and has finally reversed the decision after facing a backlash from the salaried classes. During the last one week, I could not but help think, “God help us retrieving our hard-earned money, where black money gets easily absorbed and public money gets effortlessly grabbed by biggies like Vijay Mallya”.