Paradise in Agony

By: Usama Naeem Toor

If you have ever been to Banff, Alberta or British Columbia's Yoho National Park, you'd only claim that the serenity and tranquillity overwhelms one into believing that they have reached Paradise. In such an atmosphere, you'd never want, neither expect, chaos and mayhem. However, in a similar setting but a different location, South Asia's Heaven, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), is under siege right now. J&K, about which the Great Mughal Emperor Jahangir confessed that "If there is paradise on the face of the earth, it is here.." (Page Number 15 of the document, not the pdf, First Paragraph, Last 4 lines.), is currently facing severe tribulations, for 42 days now (2). The world, unfortunately, remains distant from it.


The subject of J&K has been a contentious one between both India and Pakistan since their independence in 1947. Being a disputed territory, mostly under Indian administration, J&K was protected by the Article 370 and 35A which granted it a "special status" within India and prevented a demographic shift of J&K (Line 2 - 5,Page 14, Paragraph 2 and line 3-10). The rationale being that if the UN-mandated referendum were ever conducted, it would be solely the Kashmiri population deciding the matter. However, with the rise of Hindu-Nationalism in India, and rising tensions against Pakistan, the BJP, India's governing party, scraped both Articles on 5th August 2019(5). The scrapping was swiftly followed by the arrest of the Kashmiri political leadership, and Kashmir was placed under a severe curfew, rendering no-flow of information into or out of Kashmir (6). 


The provisions of Article 370 permitted the State of Jammu and Kashmir to be an autonomous state within India, having its own parliament, laws and even a flag (Page 1, Paragraph 1, Line 3-5). However, the scrapping now means that they are under Indian central government's control, indirectly confirming that J&K is not a disputed territory, as its residents would characterise it, but rather a state within India. On the other hand, the scrapping of Article 35A, which designated as to who could claim to be a resident of J&K, and allowing only those people employment, landowning and settlement in J&K, also invoke serious consequences. (Page 14, Paragraph 2 and line 3-10) With the scrapping, vast amounts of Indians are now sanctioned to settle in J&K, which, as feared, might trigger a demographical change (7). 


Unfortunately, for the Kashmiris, the world has and will remain indifferent to the atrocities being committed. India, being a huge market, has the support of major powers within the United Nations (8), with the United States declaring it as India's "internal decision" (9). Worse, the Muslim-majority Kashmiri population is not even supported by the Muslim Nations, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) awarding India's Prime Minister UAE's most prestigious honour in the aftermath of this terrible act (10). Pakistan, with few of its supporters, only remains in the battlefield to contend for the Kashmiri people(11). However, in the face of such overwhelming support for India, it seems a rather futile endeavour. Ultimately, it appears that the salvation for South Asia's Paradise, and also of its dwellers, remains a far-fetched prospect, for now. 


Usama Naeem Toor is a student of Economics and Business at Simon Fraser University. Born and raised in Pakistan, Usama’s main interest is understanding the central intricacies of the socio-economic situation of Pakistan, and to find its solutions. However, Usama possesses an interest in a wide range of subjects including World History, Islamic Philosophy and Jurisprudence, and current affairs. In his free time, Usama likes to read books, play videogames and sports such as Football, Cricket and Table Tennis, and hang out with friends.



  1. Numani, M. A. (2013). The Ecological History of Kashmir Under Emperor Nur-Ud-Din Muhammad Jahangir (1605-1627) (Doctoral dissertation, Aligarh Muslim University).
  2. Reuters. (2019, 16th September). Day 42 of Kashmir shutdown: Restore normal life to Valley, India's top court tells Delhi. Retrieved from
  3. Wani, A., & Noorani, A. (2014). Article 370: A constitutional history of Jammu and Kashmir. Race and Class, 56(2), 93-95.
  4. Rai, M. (2018). The Indian Constituent Assembly and the Making of Hindus and Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir. Asian Affairs, 49(2), 205-221.
  5. Article 370: What happened with Kashmir and why it matters. (2019, 6th August). Retrieved from
  6. Desk, I. T. W. (2019, 5th August). Kashmir turmoil: Restrictions imposed in Srinagar, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti put under house arrest. Retrieved from
  7. Indians are Looking for Property Agents in J&K after Govt Scrapped Article 370. (2019, 6th August). Retrieved from
  8. 'Sovereign decision': Russian envoy backs India on Kashmir move. (2019, 28th August). Retrieved from
  9. Dutta, P. K. (2019, 26th August). Kashmir: Donald Trump and US govt speak different languages. Retrieved from
  10. Al Jazeera. (2019, 24th August). India's Narendra Modi gets top UAE honour amid Kashmir crisis. Retrieved from
  11. Thakkar, C. (2019, 15th September). Why Pakistan Needs a New Strategy for the Pending Political Gulf Crisis. Retrieved from

Reflection on the event ”Islam and the Big Questions” hosted by MAC Youth Vancouver and SFU MSA

By: Hamza Malik


War Zones

By : Rabia Siddiqui

I lie 
In the field 
Ready to die 
Not out of weakness
But to defend my own 

In the depths of the night 
My wounds bleed with my eyes 
Praying for peace 
As the bombs fly

Striding tall to hide the weak
Armour, guns, weapons and all
Walking with my heart so small

Suppressed are those feeling that deem me sane 
For this is not a place for those 
Sadness and sorrow
Weakness and wounds 
Not the time for those 

Walking miles in dusty boots 
With stains of blood
From those we knew

My heart will forever ache for those 
The ones who’s innocent lives were taken 
Blood spilled over 
Hate, fear, injustice and no truth 


Rabia Siddiqui is a first year student at UBC and an aspiring architect.


By: Ahmed Khan


Death is something that everyone agrees will happen to them. There will come a day where you will be buried by your loved ones and you will soon be forgotten. I guarantee you that day will come. When death arises to a loved one, questions begin to linger within our minds. What’s going to happen to them? Why did I ever disrespect them? Why would this happen to them? What exactly am I here for? What is the purpose of my existence? These questions require serious contemplation and force us to reevaluate ourselves.

It says in the Quran, “Competition in worldly affairs diverts you. Until you visit the graves (Quran 102:1-2). It is only once death hits us, that we are found contemplating the meaning of our existence. Death is what gives us a reality check that indeed all of us are here for a finite period of time and what matters to us now is how we used that finite period of time and what we did with it.

When you lose a loved one, it is common to experience depression and sadness to some extent. For some, this may be serious and for others its seen as a temporary state. When coping with this loss, it’s easy for one to lose their mind and go insane. “I’m never going to see or even hear them again. How am I supposed to move on from someone who played a vital role in my life?”. I myself began to seriously contemplate these questions.

I thank God for instilling a sense of faith in my life. For my family and others who deal with death, our faith is what keeps us going. Our faith is what brings us peace and contentment during these times. We fall back onto verses from our scripture to answer the questions that linger. “O you soul who is at peace. Return to your Lord, with Him being pleased with you. Come and enter my servant. Come enter my paradise (89:27-30)”. These verses were constantly recited by myself and my family which brought peace to us knowing our beloved is with our Lord and with Him being pleased with her. These soon became our favorite verses.

Without our faith, my family would have gone crazy reflecting on our loss and serious mental health issues would have arisen for us. My faith is something I cherish tightly because its something I can rely on whenever I am tested with hardships and tribulations. My faith is what keeps me going.


Ahmed Khan is currently the President of the SFU Muslim Students Association. He is a History Student but takes electives on everything. Ahmed loves reading in his spare time about Philosophy, Islam and contemporary issues. He is active within the community and hopes that his work inspires others to better themselves.