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.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Amid Tourism talk, it is strange that the Kashmir University has no courses on the subject

Students aspiring career in tourism lament absence of tourism in KU courses

Arif Bashir (Kashmir Images)

Srinagar, Apr 07: With the valley of Kashmir being flagged as the ‘most favored’ tourist destination, the Kashmir University and most of its affiliated colleges are yet to realize the need for having formal professional courses for tourism studies.

Tourism, which has been touted as the backbone of the state economy does not seem to be a favorable idea with the University of Kashmir – at least the absence of a regular course in tourism in the campus speaks loud about this missing dimension. Needless to say those aspiring for a career in tourism are equally cross with the varsity about it.

Although tourism is taught as a subject in some colleges here, however, the absence of a post-graduate or even a diploma course in tourism in the University of Kashmir discourages the students interested in higher studies in tourism. These students have to make a beeline to other universities outside the state, which comes with its own set of costs and problems.

“Kashmir being an ideal tourist destination must have special study courses aimed at sharpening and shaping positive attitude towards tourism and its applicability. But unfortunately it does not work this way,” says Amir, a fresh graduate who is interested to pursue tourism studies but lands in the Department of Law for obvious reasons.

Most of the students argue that the potential of the valley with regard to tourism is still not being utilized and maximum portion of it is yet unexplored owing to the lack of professional handling of the subject and the innovative method of maximizing its scope.

Interestingly, the Vice-chancellor of the University of Kashmir, who is out of the station, when contacted, had no comments about it and directed this reporter to talk to the Registrar of the University, who too couldn’t be contacted. “Tourism can only flourish when a culture is developed, a culture can be developed by building positive attitude towards it, which is not possible without professionals and trained manpower,” says Ishfaq, a student of Media Education Research Centre, University of Kashmir.

While the authorities in the J&K Tourism Department, Kashmir strongly uphold the idea of inducting trained professionals in Kashmir tourism, much remains to be done by the University of Kashmir in order to fill this gap by training tourism professional through formal education in the field.

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