Kashmir’s Finest: In Memory of Qazi Mamoon

In the mid-2000s, as the internet boom began to trickle into the Kashmir Valley, a young boy from Burn Hall School forged a new world around it. Playing with dial-up internet, coding, and creating a blog named “Qazi Mamoon dot com,” he wove together a digital tapestry that spanned everything from technology to memes rooted in Kashmiri culture. Inspired by his blog, I embarked on my journey of writing a blog.

This is how I first connected with Mamoon through the internet. He became my inaugural online friend and mentor, while most teens in the 2000s were busy with instant messengers and photo uploads on social networks. Mamoon, however, was immersed in the uncharted waters of the internet. By 2009, as I was still grappling with this new digital realm, Mamoon was already part of the first Barcamp—an event that brought together Kashmir’s most talented developers and IT experts. He also ventured into YouTube, becoming one of Kashmir’s earliest YouTubers.

Our paths converged offline when we found ourselves at the same university—the International Islamic University of Malaysia. Qazi Mamoon, a computer engineer even before joining the university, possessed knowledge beyond the classroom. His green jacket concealed not only warmth but also a constant supply of jokes and sage advice. Usually, it was the former.

Within the small Kashmiri community on campus, Mamoon shone brightly. His compassion and willingness to assist others were matched only by his infectious smile, capable of illuminating any room. He mastered Malay, speaking as if he hailed from its streets. And when it came to food, he fearlessly embraced the spiciest Malay cuisine, passionately advocating for its flavours. I succumbed to his persuasion once, and from then on, my taste buds danced to the rhythm of Malay spices throughout my university days.

In one playful instance, he marked a location on Google Maps with the whimsical notion that if he built a tower tall enough, equipped with a telescope that defied the conventional laws of light, he could glimpse Masjid Al-Aqsa directly above Masjid Al-Farooq in his locality of Hyderpora.

During another escapade, Mamoon delved into weather observations. He discovered a SYNOP code generated by the weather station in Srinagar. His wit sparkled when he realized that the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) identifier for our local station was 420-27—a number that resonated with many of our people.

An eccentric genius, Mamoon’s achievements extended far beyond academia. By the time he completed his PhD in engineering and earned recognition as the best student in software systems, he had already contributed to international journals. His intellectual legacy includes six patents, including a US patent titled “System And Method For Mobile Node Service Communication.”

Yet, behind this gentle genius lay a lifelong struggle with cystic fibrosis—an incurable condition. Mamoon knew he was living on borrowed time, but he remained ahead of his era. Like the quintessential Dr. Qazi Mamoon, he relentlessly pursued happiness, infusing joy into every room he entered. His joie de vivre never wavered, even as he battled the odds silently. Few could fathom the challenges he faced; he excelled at masking them with grace and resilience.

A few years ago, he deleted Kashmir’s biggest online music library. I asked him why he did that, he responded that he wanted to get closer to the Almighty. I didn’t know that he had foreseen something I didn’t know.

Mamoon passed away at the young age of 34 on Thursday during the blessed month of Ramadan, after battling with the illness all his life more so in the last two years. 

In him, Kashmir lost one of its brightest geniuses, scientists and an advocate for societal reform. In him, I lost a dear friend.

He has made his journey to a better world, where he will find comfort with his siblings who passed before him.

Qazi Mamoon 1989-2024.


P.S: During his burial, I found the grave of Qazi Musa Shaheed at Malkha Srinagar. He was martyred by Yaqub Shah Chak after refusing allegiance to his rule. Even in his death, Mamoon had another thing to teach me. 

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