Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jammu Province Scores With World Class Smart Girls; Valley Parents and Students, Please Take Notice!

Shivani Sud and Naqsh Haider show what it means to be "world class" in intellect and dedication. Both have roots in the Jammu Province

Junior Nobel for Jammu girl, Shivani Sud in US

A girl of Indian origin created history after she won the prestigious talent contest in US, for her project on cancer titled ‘Junior Nobel’. She developed a model to identify stage ll colon cancer patients and the most effective drug for treatment.

AN INDIAN-American high school student went on winning the top prize at a prestigious science talent search contest, beating 1,600 students, for her project on cancer entitled ‘Junior Nobel’ in US.

Shivani Sud, a 17-year-old girl from Jammu and the daughter of Dr. Anu Aggarwal, was declared the grand prizewinner of 2008, for developing a model to identify stage II colon cancer patients who are at a higher risk for recurrence. She will also get $100.000 scholarship.

Past winners of the competition have received over 100 of the world’s most coveted science and math honors including six Nobel prizes. According to the organisers of the annual Intel Science Talent Search, the model created by Sud, a senior at Jordan High School in Durham, North Carolina also focused on identifying what may be the most effective drug for treatment for those with a high risk of recurring tumors.

Such a system would allow doctors to save the most aggressive or toxic therapy for those who need it the most, said Dr. Andrew. M. Yeager, Chairman of the judging panel and a professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

Sud said that she was partly motivated by personal experience “One of my immediate family member had a benign brain tumor. It left a big emotional imprint on me”, said the daughter if Ish and Anu Sud. Among the 40 finalists were seven Indian-American students including four girls.

Along with her research work, Sud represents students at school board meetings and serves as a Durham Rescue Mission volunteer. She also performs classical and modern Indian dance. She said she wants to have a career in research and hopes to attend Princeton University or Harvard University someday, but for now she has more immediate matters to attend, “I have a lot of homework to catch up on”.

Muzaffarabad girl wins international contest


Muzaffarabad, Mar 20: A young Kashmiri girl from the earthquake affected capital of Pakistan administered Kashmir has clinched the top position in an international drawing competition held last year under the aegis of a UK-based charity.

Naqsh Haider, an 8th grade student of a semi-government school here, will be travelling to the United Kingdom in the third week of April on the invitation of ‘Save the Children’ to represent Pakistan at an impressive ceremony, her family said here on Thursday.

Save the Children, which is rendering appreciable services in the quake affected areas of Pakistani Kashmir, had organized the international drawing competition based on ‘What I like best about my school’ in collaboration with Campaign for Drawing in Sept 2007.

The event was participated by around 2000 children from Pakistan and three West African countries - Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and the Sierra Leon. Judging of the Big Draw Event 2007 was conducted on Jan 24 whereby Naqsh Haider (14) from Pakistan came out on top, followed by Kore Rokia (13) from Côte d’Ivoire and Richard Sallee Tellewoyan (17) from Liberia.

The winners were invited, along with an accompanying adult, to participate in a one-day workshop with famous British artist Ben Johnson in his West London studio on April 22, according to Mubashar Nabi, a senior official of the charity in Muzaffarabad. The event, he said, would bring together children and young people from his organisation’s programmes in the four countries as well as the UK to share their experiences through art and learn from each other as well as the artist.

Apart from attending the workshop, the participants were most likely to visit a school and attend supporting advocacy on the theme of education and peace which, he said, was the Save the Children Rewrite the Future Alliance campaign for 2008.

Another focus of this tour, Nabi said, was to understand the issues affecting children’s right to education in conflict ridden countries and raise awareness of these at his organisation’s head office.

When contacted by Greater Kashmir, Naqsh said she felt great for securing the top position among hundreds of competitors from different regions. “Equally, I feel proud for being able to glorify my city, my state and my country (Pakistan) at an international event,” added the euphoric teenager. She said she would benefit herself from the workshop and interaction with children from different cultures.

Naqsh is born to renowned cardiologist Dr Waqar Haider and PaK finance department’s additional secretary Dr Shehla Waqar who said they were elated by the achievement of their daughter. The family has its roots in the other Kashmir. Dr Haider’s father belonged to the Kishtwar area in Jammu province. He was serving as a judge in Mirpur when the Himalayan region in 1947.

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