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    • Sanjeev Munshi

      Challenges for KP Cultural Survival and How We Can Respond

      Year 2023 marks the 34th year of our community’s Seventh Exodus from the land of our forefathers. Our first exile started in 1389 when Sultan Sikander Shahmiri (1353-1413), notorious as Butshikan (the breaker of idols) ascended the throne of Kashmir...
      • Mithlesh Dhar

        Answer on What is it like to live in Jammu?

        Jammu is a city in the Jammu and Kashmir UT in India. It is one of the few places where you will find several temples and also scenic beauty. Although Kashmir has always been one of the attractions of Jammu and Kashmir region, still...
          Mithlesh Dhar
          Jammu is a city in the Jammu and Kashmir UT in India. It is one of the few places where you will find several temples and also scenic beauty. Although Kashmir has always been one of the attractions of Jammu and Kashmir region, still...

          Jammu is a city in the Jammu and Kashmir UT in India.

          It is one of the few places where you will find several temples and also scenic beauty. Although Kashmir has always been one of the attractions of Jammu and Kashmir region, still there are several places in Jammu that are scenic and beautiful.

          People from different parts of India come to Jammu specifically for Mata Vaishno Devi, which makes it one of the popular religious tourist destinations, and they usually also visit places like Patnitop Nathatop, which are at a bit higher altitude because of which tourists are also able to see snow.

          As most of the southern regions of India don't see much snow and cold during winters, people from southern regions come to Jammu and Kashmir region to spend their vacation time in this part of India.

          Is there any terrorism in Jammu?
          Several people who want to visit Jammu and Kashmir, usually ask me if there is any terrorism in Jammu as such. To every one of you who wants to visit Jammu, there is no terrorism in Jammu City and other adjoining cities or districts, and usually, the place is more secure than any other border state in India.

          Still, terrorism is a global issue and borders are close, there may be some infiltration but most of the time it is a safe place for any tourist.

          You can even be standing on a bus or train station at around 3 or 4 AM and no one will touch you. Even the language is similar to Punjabi, and most people like to speak Hindi as well if there is someone from another part of India to guide them. But it is always a better idea to have some local contacts wherever you go.

          The purpose of writing the above paragraph was to let you know that Jammu is as safe as any place in India, and you should not be afraid to visit. I have several of my relatives and friends from other states that visit the Jammu region every year to visit Mata Vaishno Devi Temple and explore other parts of Jammu as well.

          What all places are there to visit in Jammu?
          Most of the time people that visit Jammu and Kashmir, go for Mata Vaishno Devi Temple, but there are several different places that you can explore in the Jammu region. Below is a list of places where you can visit in Jammu:

          1. Shiv Khodi
          2. Siyad Baba Waterfall
          3. Swarg Ashram in Talwara
          4. Patnitop
          5. Nathatop
          6. Aap Shambhu Temple
          7. Raghunath Temple
          8. Bagh-E-Bahu
          9. Bahu Fort
          10. Aquarium at Bagh-E-Bahu
          11. Hanuman Temple at Rehari
          12. Jaggar Kotli
          13. Sulla Park
          14. Mansar Lake
          15. Hill Sides around Kotbalwal
          16. Salal Dam Project
          17. City Market

          There are several other places also that I will be adding to the above list, and most of the places are nearby Jammu. Although these might not be exactly in Jammu but places like Reasi and other districts.

          Still, most people are unaware of these places and always end up in well-known places, which are always crowded. 

          It is also good to have a local person with you that can take you to these places, and you can also do shopping in the City Market. I will try to mention areas where you can shop for awesome items and clothes.

          From my childhood we used to go to the same market for buying our clothes may be school or party wear. Also, you will be able to find several dry fruit shops nearby the Raghunath Temple that you can explore.

          So, what is it like to live in Jammu?
          Jammu is a beautiful place, and maybe because of the need for more development it looks a bit old, but for people like me that have grown up in areas of Jammu and surrounding cities, it is one of the best places to be in.

          During summer, Jammu is really hot, so it is always better to go there after August or September when the weather starts becoming a bit cool.

          I love the weather in Jammu after August, we are able to see the chillness of winds like nowhere in India and are also able to enjoy those small lanes and roads where I used to walk to go for tuition.

          You will also love the simplicity of the town and will be able to enjoy the weather as well.

          Having said that living in Jammu is like living in the past and in Nostalgia when we had our independent houses that we used to explore in our childhood. Also, walking in the morning at Jammu is a great experience. You usually don't see the same monotonous streets. You see several ups and downs on the roads because of which you are able to exercise your legs in a better way.

          Also, the facilities in Jammu are good, like any other city, although there used to be electricity cuts when I was a kid. We used to have electricity for 4 hours and then there used to be a cut for 2 hours. I think the infrastructure has improved, still, there are some times when electricity cuts happen, so most of us have invertor at our homes.

          Voltage fluctuations are normal, so we usually have huge voltage stabilizers at our home and our fridges and ACs also have stabilizers attached to them.

          The education system in Jammu is also good, and most of the schools and colleges are having good faculties that helped us in becoming what we are today, still, improvements can be made, and I am not sure if the same is being followed after I completed my 10+2.

          Talking about food, initially, it was only about panipuri that was famous, but these days I am able to see several restaurants and dhabas also opened and do sell momos and spring rolls.

          Jammu also is famous for Kandur Wans, which are typical Kashmiri Bakery Outlets, that are famous among Kashmiri Pandits. You should definitely try the breads that are baked in those outlets.

          As a normal life of Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu, we used to take our bags and used to buy Bread two times a day. For breakfast and for evening tea as well. I used to love Katlam and Telwor during evening tea.

          There are different types of bread that are being sold in those outlets like;

          1. Kulcha
          2. Telwor
          3. Katlam
          4. Choch
          5. Gird
          6. Khatai
          7. Lavas
          8. Bagirkhani
          9. Tak Tich
          10. Roth

          These were some of the bread that I remember right now. I will try to add some more as soon as I remember them. Khatain out of those was the favorite of several kids as those were sweet cookies like, but big in size.

          So if you are living in Jammu, you will also love to relish these breads at least 2 times a day.

          It also depends on which area of Jammu are you residing in because if you are more towards Janipr, Durga Nagar, Muthi, and Bantalab, then you will have more Kashmiri Pandits, having said that you will also be able to find more shops that cater to our community.

          When you go more toward Bantalab, Akhnoor, or Kot Balwal, then you will find more open lands and areas with lush green surroundings. It is more like being in a countryside area.

          Most houses are huge with private gardens which are usually used by kids to play sports. This is mostly because the apartment system is not that famous in those parts of Jammu and new apartments have just started coming. Also, because there is less exposure to industries like IT or Cosmetics, therefore for employment most of the youth of Jammu is now moving towards others.

          I also started my career in Chandigarh then moved to Pune for higher studies and now settled in Hyderabad.

          But I usually think of gaining good experience and moving back to Jammu to live a more leisure life. Although hard work is more in terms of electricity and water, still living in a place like Jammu has its own perks.

          You feel more connected to nature and also the culture that surrounds you. You feel as if the whole city is your neighborhood, because Jammu city is not that big, still if you have a nack for exploring surrounding areas, then it is one of the most unexplored areas in India.

          If you own a large farmhouse in Jammu, you can easily make good money through the tourism industry especially in the winter season, because during winter Jammu is one of the best places to explore.

          As Jammu is comparatively a small city, therefore, most of the people you see are always there. You will be able to recognize everyone in the city once you start living there and everyone will know that you exist. It's not like a big metro city where you will not see your friend the next day you travel. You are bound to bump into each other in Jammu no matter what, and this is amazing because you start having trust in the people you see on a daily basis, and this in turn creates a more humble relation with each other.

          When you go to tuition, or school, and then college, you end up seeing everyone every day and you are also traveling in the same buses every single day. Those buses or matadors are always taking their time for a few more passengers and you can even ask the driver to wait as your friend is coming from his home, and they will wait indeed.

          It's not like other cities, where time is a constriant. We know that we will have to take some time in advance because the transport especially the intracity buses or matadors move as per their own convenience. Although you can ask the driver or conductor to drive fast if you are getting really late and they usually oblige as well.

          Sometimes back when I used to travel to tuition and school, we even used to stand on the back of buses on the railings because the busses used to be full inside and there was no other space to stand. So, we used to climb on the stairs at the back of the matador or bus and wait there until the bus stops because we cannot shout and tell the conductor or driver to stop the bus.

          But I believe now it is illegal to do so, as there would have been some accidents also, still, it was a fun part as we were young and it was not considered taboo in Jammu City. This was how it was considered to travel in Jammu City as Normal. Let alone the thought of having seat belts in busses or ACs.

          When buses used to get stuck in heavy traffic, especially in Janipur Chowk, it was suffocating for me as well. If there was someone from another state, they would faint in those busses because they were cramped with so many people that each one of us had only one leg space to stand.

          Travelers were pushed onto buses and the conductor used to climb on the door and kept everyone inside. There were no stops as such and the conductor used to whistle to indicate the driver to stop.

          It was kind of effective as well because they were really good in understanding those signals and used to stop correctly anywhere they found space. They would even come to your house as long as it was on main road. :D

          Last time I visited Jammu it was still the same, but there were some infrastructure upgrades happening and the roads were more connected to each other. Although there was enough work to be done, but the upgrade of the city was on a pace. 

          I bet most of the people who lived in Jammu would be able to connect with the information that is in this blog and maybe able to share similar experiences.

          Jammu is one of the best places to live in India and you should definitely visit this place, but I will recommend you guys to visit it after August or September because before that it is just too hot to deal with the sun.

          You can really have a great retro relish in this city of temples and also be able to gain experiences that many of the travelers are not able to do during their trip to Jammu and Kashmir. 

          Last but not the least, don't forget to eat Chole Kulche or Kaladi Kulche in Jammu City (Old City) at the Sardar Ji's shop. I will add the address soon. :)

          • Mithlesh Dhar

            Answer on What degrees should one pursue after 12th class? | What graduation degree should I choose after 10+2?

            Choosing a career is a life-long decision, and if you are not clear about which field to choose, it may result in poor career choices, leading to less efficiency at work. For several years, my followers have requested me to advise about choosing...
              Mithlesh Dhar
              Choosing a career is a life-long decision, and if you are not clear about which field to choose, it may result in poor career choices, leading to less efficiency at work. For several years, my followers have requested me to advise about choosing...

              Choosing a career is a life-long decision, and if you are not clear about which field to choose, it may result in poor career choices, leading to less efficiency at work.

              For several years, my followers have requested me to advise about choosing a career and if they can switch careers after working in a particular field. Today I am going to discuss the same to help you guide into choosing the best careers and also to ensure that you earn good money through the job as well.

              Professional and Academic Degrees
              First, try to understand that there are two types of degrees;

              1. A professional Degree is a type of graduation degree that can help you make money directly after passing the institute. It makes you industry ready from the first day you step out of your institute.

                For example, Hotel Management, 5 or 3 Years LLB, or Doctor in Medicine, etc.

                Now, as you go through programs like these, you find that you are provided the tools to learn the skills that can help you in running your own business or work with someone who may require the skill sets that are taught in these professional degrees. 

                The money earned might not be on a bigger side initially, but once you can expand your skillsets and client base, you can make money on a larger scale and that is all because you have gained skill sets that industry ready and easily saleable as those skill sets are requirement of the day.

                A Hotel Management Graduate can start his or her business or can work in a hotel as soon as he or she completes his or her education. Similarly, an Advocate can take cases as soon as he gets his or her license to practice Law from the Bar Council of India, and then they can work with good lawyers to gain experience or open their law firm.

                Also, a Doctor can work to gain some experience under a good professional and then he or she can also start their clinic that will help them make money for their life.

                I am not saying that every single person that completes these degrees can start their businesses, but most of them have the option to do so. That's why we have titles that go along with each one of the occupations. For example, a cook that has done his or her education at Hotel Management Institute and works in big hotels is titled a "Chef". Similarly, a lawyer is titled an "Advocate", and a doctor has the title "Dr.".

                Also, one needs to understand that all these professional courses do not give an immediate huge amount of money, but one has to work hard to make their brand, and only after that one can churn out huge amounts of money (in the longer run). 

                One should only pursue these professional courses if you are passionate about the same. This is because these are demanding careers and if you are not passionate about the field, then you are destined to fail alongside. I had done my Hotel Management, and although I was not that much passionate about departments in hotels, still I was a good student and was able to gain experience in the Tandoor section as a Chef
              2. Academic Degrees on the other hand do not give you the capability to start your career directly. You need to show your competence and work hard on yourself before you can end up having a good job opportunity. For example, Engineering is a very broad term that was used by several people in our community and most of the students after 12th used to go for Engineering.

                Having said that, most of them have to undergo MBA programs to land a good job after completing their engineering. Even government jobs are not enough to provide every one of them employment in their domain.

                Not only do they need to be good in their subjects, but in academic degrees, one also needs to be good at scoring projects and delivering those on time. If you are a computer engineer for example, or if you are learning coding or programming from a college, then you won't be able to get a good-paying job just because you have learned something. You will have to undergo different projects and develop applications to showcase your ability to your potential employers.

                Also, you end up working for companies throughout your life if you don't have enough ability to start your own digital business. But if you can get a good job, in that case, you can earn good amounts of money from the initial stage as well, because tech companies pay handsomely.

                Similarly, if you are undergoing BSc. or BTech. then you need to undergo internships or complete some projects to showcase your worth, and most people end up doing MBA or some Post Graduate Diploma to get good jobs. One brighter option is to go for Masters and then Doctorate programs, as these give you a good hold on your subject and you are also able to secure good jobs in the Teaching line.

              So, which career should you choose?
              From the above explanation, you may be thinking that Professional Degrees are better than Academic ones, which might be true to some extent.

              This is because you end up having a good grasp of skills that are actually required in the industry. But one thing is clear you end up earning lower salaries than Academic Degrees in the initial days. After you have gained experience then it doesn't matters if you have a professional or academic degree. Then you earn a good salary or money in both types of degrees.

              So while you are pursuing your 12th, you should try to figure out with your parents, which subjects you are good at and what are you interested in. But don't just go for a language like English, Hindi, or Sanskrit, just because you are good at it, because being good at something is different, and being passionate about something is different altogether.

              Below are some guidelines to help you decide which degrees to choose as per your passion:

              1. If you are good in PCM and are passionate about being an engineer, or if you like to work on computers and do coding to develop mobile applications or websites, or if you have an innovative idea and are constantly working on your projects, then go for an academic degree and computer engineering is good.

                Go for Civil Engineering if you are passionate to work for government jobs or if you want to work in road and infrastructure development. I have seen students taking Civil Engineering just because their parents wanted them to do engineering without thinking about prospects.

                Similarly, go for Mechanical Engineering or BSc, if you are passionate about building things or doing Research and want to become a Scientist. It hurts to see people doing BSc, and then going for MBA because there is usually no connection between the two. If you want to become a Scientist and want to do research then going for BSc, MSc, and Ph.D. should be your priority.
              2. If you like to cook food and you are good at it, you can think of going for Hotel Management. Hotel Management is not a course that you should go for if you are not good financially because it is demanding during the course as well. LLB 3 Years or 5 Years maybe a 1 lakh rupees course in some of the universities, but Hotel Management institutes take at least 3 to 4 Lakh rupees for the whole 3-year course after 12th.

                I have been witness to the same, where we could have done a simple graduation for 1 lakh rupees, hotel management cost us a whooping 6 Lakh rupees, and if you are not that passionate about cooking or serving people, then you will not be able to survive in this industry for long.
              3. Go for LLB 5 Years or 3 Years if you are interested in law or legal applications. Many students are unaware of the benefits of becoming a lawyer, and we should always help our kids to understand the weightage of the "Advocate" title. This is because as a citizen of India, we have to abide by the rules and regulations of the Indian Constitution, and also follow the law of the land. 

                Therefore it is always better to motivate your kids to go for law and legal studies as it will make them better aware of the laws of the country and they can also make money out of it. 

                Even if your kid is passionate about computers or blogging or vlogging on YouTube, encourage them to pursue law as they will be able to apply that knowledge in the content that they post on their website or YouTube channels. This in turn will help them in building their brand and they will also be able to find clients much more easily.
              4. Go for Doctor in Medicine if you are interested in Biology and are also good at the same. Being passionate about becoming a doctor and being good at it are both required in this case. This is because you cannot risk someone's life. One of my sisters wanted to become a doctor so badly, but unfortunately wasn't able to clear the entrance exam.

                Most of you can also go for private institutes if you have good money and time, but being passionate about the same is also important in this case. I was not that much passionate about pursuing Doctor of Medicine and hence I chose something else.
              5. Go for Analytics if you are good with Computers and Statistics. This is again important to understand because Analytics will also be an academic course. You can go for a doctorate in this field and then you can do wonders in this field because this field requires you to be good with statistics, and coding at the same time.

                I have been in this field for quite some time now, and have observed that the more you understand a subject, the more you can apply analytics to that field. Therefore, it is a constant work of studying and learning new technologies.

                Although a computer programer or coder is more sought after, but an Analyst is something that cannot be replaced, because you can ask a coder to develop an application or website but you need an analyst to understand the need and come up with unique solutions in the first place. 

                Having said that it also depends on the time you want to spend to learn new technologies because as a Data Analtics Expert you are expected to know most of the new dashboard making tools, and to implement Machine Learning and Big Data Sets into systems to gather insights that can help management to make critical decisions.
              6. Going for BBA is also good, if you are not able to decide which field to choose, which is absolutely fine because BBA teaches you essence of Business and how you can set up your own business to make money. But most of the times, it requires us to go through MBA to understand the overall application.

                Having said that it is always better to combine BCom with LLB after 10+2 because there you learn both some commerce and law at the same time and you can also go for an honors.

                Only going for BBA will pitch you up for a general industry audience because most of the companies hire Sales People or HR People from BBA or MBA colleges. Depending upon the reputation of college and the hard work or knowledge you have your salary is determined.

                I basically believe you should go for MBA or PGDM from a good college with good placement record, and also try to have dual specialization. For example, I had my course in PGDM HR and Analytics, that helped me in exploring best of both the world and integrating my professional expertise from HR and Analytics.

                As I was passionate about computers and wanted to pursue my career in HR, HR Analytics made more sense.
              7. Go for BPharma or BTech Cosmetology if you are interested in manufacturing of Medicines and Cosmetic products. But it is always better to be good at Chemistry in this case and apply for positions in Research and Development. This is because Research and Development helps you to be in control of the work that you do and you are always developing new formulations that have a greater impact across the world.

                Therefore, if you are good in Chemistry and Biology and also passionate about innovation, go for these fields, but try to steer yourself towards research and development or else you will always end up in sales department of big brands.

              Can we change our field after Graduation or Post Graduation
              Yes, you can always change your field after Graduation or Post Graduation.

              I had done BSc. Hospitality and Catering Technology and after working for 2 years as a Tandoor Chef, I went for PGDM HR Analytics after consulting from my parents and right now I am working with organizations in Data Analytics dealing will all kind of analytical requirements like Finance, HR or Sales.

              You need to understand what you are passionate about. If you love developing websites, just go for it even if it is not related to your field. You will always find a way to connect all your experiences together as life rolls on.

              It's just a matter of being passionate and ready to take risk.

              Most of the people are not comfortable in taking risk. It's not only about being a business man that you have to take risk, but as an employee also you will have to take risk now or then and these are the risks that will help you grow.

              You will have to take decisions about being in your stream or changing it. You will have to explore new avenues. Currently HR is something that I like to work in and also provide consultation on HR, Analytics and Legal fronts to my clients, but it was not initially like that.

              I was also confused as to take this step and change my field from Hotel to corporates, but once you have taken a ticket, the the bus will take you to your journey. You just need to ensure that you sit tight on the bus or else you will again divert from your course or direction.

              Try to complete things. If you want to change, then do it properly by educating yourself about the course and taking proper courses. Then work in the field for few years to explore your trajectory. Not doing this and if you keep on searching for a new field after ever few months, then you will end up not reaching anywhere.

              Spend some time in newly chosen career and focus on your tasks at the moment. Dont rush into conclusions or what people say, and you will definitely succeed.

              All The Best!


              • Mikhail Agapov

                Mikhail Agapov

                MoscowНе ходи в другой монастырь со своими правилами (Don’t go to another monastery with your own rules)

                • Svetlya Anukudinova

                  Svetlya Anukudinova

                  RussiaI am enthusiastic about working in research field.