Kusum Kaul a proud Kashmiri is a communication and Media professional of par excellence and has a rich academic background . M.A in Mass communication and Journalism from Kashmir University, Srinagar. B.Sc. in Zoology from Degree College for women, Anantnag, Kashmir University. L.L.B. from Sir L. A. Shah Law College, Ahmedabad, Gujarat University.
Kusum Kaul is Director – Transsphere Technologies Pvt. Ltd, Proprietor – Zest Worldwide Communication, Managing Trustee – Utkarsh Healthcare Foundation India. In an exclusive interview with The News Kashmir, Kusum Kaul talks to Rameez Makhdoomi.
Tell us a bit about your early days ?
Born in Anantnag, Kashmir to Mrs. Rupa Devi Kaul (Bijbehara) and Mr. Rais Brij Krishna Kaul (Anantnag) in severe winter of January. My childhood days were spent in a carefree atmosphere like a tom boy with my cousin brothers, where school was not a burden, homework used to be fun (would do the homework of my cousins too as they were in the same class)
I have cleaned, colored and drawn lines on Mashak (wooden slate), would do my maths and lessons on that. Life was fun as a child, swimming daily with fish under chinars in the fresh serene waters of Nagbal (freshwater springs of Anantnag). I would race with other boys and girls along with the fish under water, trying to catch the long green fish. The heavy canopy of chinars would make the water look dark and also scary sometimes. Jumping from a cliff of the temple, diving into the water would be a daily exercise and fun. Going to Eidgah with others girls on every Eid was a regular feature of childhood as there was no Hindu/Muslim rituals restriction from my family’s sides (conception of Eid being a Muslim festival), till we shifted to Baramulla. Life took a drastic change from a joint family of thirty people to a single family of four, from a Kashmiri medium to English medium school. The transition wasn’t smooth but I settled down in some years in St. Joseph H.S. School, where I was groomed to what I am today. The discipline, modern life, sports, debates and my father’s modern outlook to life made me what I am today: sincere, dedicated, strong, living in the present and disciplined. Academically I was a first class student, trying to understand things rather than trying to score marks, I never learnt how to get marks ,rather I was a sportsperson not interested in getting marks, but was in watching movies.
How was experience of watching Television first time?
The doordarshan 6 p.m. film was a Sunday entertainment treat especially in winters when everything was indoors. I saw a television for the first time on the window of a school on the roadside, I was standing in the crowd of people with other children and watched in amazement, pictures moving, till my father’s uncle bought a television at their home, so going on Sundays to watch a film at their house was a ritual, till my uncle got one at our home.
Who is your role model?
Indira Gandhi has always been my role model. A strong woman of steel, who steered India out of poverty into a modern India. I was always fascinated by Nehru who chartered his daughter’s mental makeup from jail and faraway places through his letters. I have been brought up with my father’s words. “Gandhiji had four sons and Nehru had one daughter, nobody knows Gandhiji’s sons but everyone knows this daughter.” I have been brought up with this state of mind, she was so frail and delicate in looks but had a brain and determination as strong as steel.
What is your take on debacle of Kashmiri civilization?
Kashmir valley was devastated and denigrated by violence . A phrase in Kashmiri “Panen kokr nayee bad ase, Baysendi grre kyaze trave thool.”
This is what happened, our own people worked in the hands of foreign puppeteers. They had nothing to lose, but Kashmir lost everything: its culture, civilization, and social fabric…everything got lost. Thousands of Kashmirs were killed, be it Hindus or Muslims, everybody suffered in their own way, some for the wrong acts of others.
The peace and tranquility of the beautiful Kashmir valley is lost and has given way to fear and uncertainty in life. All suffered, it’ll take centuries to bridge the gap between Kashmiri pundits and Muslims.
What is your take on Kashmiri Pandits return?
Hindus should return to the valley but they aren’t ready. 25 years of suffering have made them feel insecure and unsafe of their return.
How do you feel on mental and personal levels?
What I feel on a mental and personal level “There is not enough pull from the valley and not enough push from the pundits side, we need to work on this push and pull factor, first for mental and then physical factor. Suffering has been immense on mental and physical state, which won’t go away for generations. The physical and mental trauma experienced is quite difficult to overcome. To bridge the gap, giant steps from both the communities need to be taken”.
What can be the way ahead?
With A big heart, a vision that is hundred years ahead, leaders from both the communities need to work together; the British policy of divide and rule has to be done away with.
Tell us a bit about Professional experience?
My Professional experience has been quiet diverse and rich . I have worked
- With Central Production Centre, Delhi Doordarshan, New Delhi.
- With Education Media Research Centre, Gujarat University for educational programs.
- As a visiting faculty in Communication and Skill development to different educational institutes like Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University Patan, United Business College Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidhyapith Ahmedabad.
- As a visiting faculty in Communication and Skill development to K. S. institute of Management Education and Department of Journalism and Mass Communication Gujarat University.
- As a Master Trainer, Resource Person, Visiting Faculty and as a Coordinator for different Youth developmental programmes in communication and skill development across the state of Gujarat with Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, Government of India.
Notable awards you have received ?
I have received many prominent awards:
- STATE YOUTH AWARD from OF GUJARAT, DEPARTMENT OF SPORTS YOUTH AND CULTURAL ACTIVITIES, GOVERNMENT OF GUJARAT-2006.
- SAKHI SHAKTI AWARD as a Women Achiever -2007.
- Friends of Gujarat Award, New Jersey, U.S.A – 2010