“History repeats itself, that’s one of the things that’s wrong with history.” -Clarence Darrow


(Author’s New Year Message to His Children)

1 January 1999

  • Think positively. Life, on the whole, is a wonderful experience. Take every day as a new page in the book of life.
  • Be ambitious. Have goals to learn and experience new things. Keep enriching your life. Do not stagnate.
  • Be safe. Do not take chances where safety is concerned. Err on the side of safety. Regulate your personal habits.
  • Handle yourself with dignity and be respectful of others. However, you can control only your actions and your interactions with others. You cannot, and you should not, expect to change the behavior of others to mirror your style and grace.
  • Do not blame personal shortcomings on others. No one is perfect or has-it-all. Some shortcomings can be overcome while some are inherently impossible to overcome. The right approach is to use your strengths to overwhelm your shortcomings as best as possible.
  • Life is full of compromises. Compromises should not be seen as sacrifices but as successful means of balancing one’s wishes with realities of day-to-day life. Ability to reconcile one’s expectations with what is achievable is among the strongest of human traits. However, never compromise on personal safety.
  • Have core beliefs that remain unalterable whether dealing with oneself, family, relatives, guests or strangers. Treat everyone fairly starting with your own self. Do not exercise multiple standards of humility or hospitality when dealing with others (outside of personal family).
  • Be tolerant of others as much as possible. Some relationships will demand greater tolerance and “benefit of doubt” than others. Prioritize your relationships in the following order: yourself, your spouse, your children, your parents, your siblings, your spouse’s parents and siblings, your friends, and other relatives or well wishers. During moments of angst, recall Mom’s best advice: ‘this too shall pass …’
  • Leave the world a better place than it was before. Think of your legacy and your mark on the society around you or to which you belong. Participate in community activities and volunteer your time to perform public service unrelated to your family needs or profession.
  • Finally, heed the words of your great-grand father, Shri Shridherjoo Badam, who at the age of 84 (on 8 June 1977 in Srinagar – the last time I saw him) gave me the following written “motto” to follow and convey to my progeny:

“Be cheerful, whatever the circumstances,

Be fearless, whatever the conditions,

Be true in thought, word, and deed.”


About Me

Dr. Vijay Sazawal is a policy analyst and a commentator who specializes in local governance and intra-community issues affecting political dynamics within the Kashmir valley. He has written extensively on the current political turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir (commonly referred to as Kashmir), arguing for new and innovative approaches in understanding and resolving the simmering discontent in all communities and regions of the State.


Jammu & Kashmir Map