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.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Kashmir University Students Succumb to Evils of Modern Life

Jehangir reports on a survey conducted by the Hindustan National Social Society (HNSS) shows illicit drug use by Kashmiri women is reaching alarming proportions. However, it is doing something about it.

(Mr. Jehangir Rashid, 34, was born in Nowshera, Srinagar. He completed his school education from Green Land High School in Hawal, Srinagar, and his college degree from the Department of Distance Education, University of Kashmir. He earned his Master's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Kashmir. He is currently employed as a Chief Correspondent in the Daily Etalaat, and worked as a special correspondent for the Kashmir Times. Jehangir won the Sanjoy Ghose Humanitarian Award for Writing for his reporting on the 2005 earthquake. He enjoys listening to old melodies and watching old movies and cricket matches.)

KU campus safe haven for drug addicts, says survey

Jehangir Rashid

Srinagar, April 13: Given the vastness and hugeness of its campus, University of Kashmir has turned to be a safe haven for the drug addicts and more so for the female drug addicts, according to a survey carried out by the HNSS De-addiction and Rehabilitation Centre, Khanyar here.

Dr Ghulam Nabi Wani, founder HNSS, said that the girls receiving their education at the university hide themselves behind the bushes and shrubs and take drugs being supplied to them.“As the campus of Kashmir University is very vast, many a things taking place in respect of drug addiction go unnoticed. It has been seen that the girls who are drug addicts would receive the drugs from the peddlers and then take the same while sitting behind the bushes as well as shrubs,” he said.

“We have carried out a survey on the female drug addicts in the Kashmir valley and it has come to the forefront that thousands of graduate and post-graduate girls are involved with the drug addiction,” said Dr Wani.

“Usually a kid would come in a car and he would supply the drugs to the girl students. These girls would receive the drugs as if they have acquired some eatable and then take the same at an isolated place. This is an alarming situation and there is a need to check it. In case this does not happen then I am afraid to say the situation would turn out to be disastrous and nobody can control it,” said Dr Wani.

The HNSS has carried out the survey under the United Nations (UN) Drug Control Programme and they have taken the help of the psychologists in order to know the extent as well as nature of the female drug users.

Based on this survey it has come to light that 3,000-4,000 females are involved in drug addiction across the Kashmir valley.The situation is alarming as the girls receiving higher education at the university or college level have fallen in the dragnet of drug addiction. Professionals including some of the medicos feeling frustrated after unable to get a job take to drugs so as to relieve the tension through which they are passing, the survey says.

“Drug addiction among females has turned out to be a fashion and those who do not follow the suit are termed as backward. The significant feature associated with the female drug addiction is that the sale point gets changed and nobody believes that the females are involved in the drug addiction. Same is happening with the University campus and up to this moment of time there has been no change in the situation,” said the HNSS founder.

He said that glue has turned out to be the favourite among the females. He said that cough syrups, proxyvon tablets and neuro-toxic drugs are also used by the female drug users. “It has been discovered by HNSS that glue is the most favoured drug being used by the female drug users. Usually when a girl goes to a stationery shop to get a glue stick, the same is provided without any suspicion by the shop owner. The girl uses the glue as a drug and the same has turned out to be a disturbing trend in the Kashmiri society and it has to be arrested at the earliest,” Dr Wani added.

The HNSS De-addiction and Rehabilitation Centre, Khanyar, has started a campaign to treat women addicts. The month long programme would culminate on May 9. Dr Ghulam Nabi Wani claims that he had already received five telephone calls from females or their parents in response to the programme.

“There has been a positive response to the programme and we expectation more female patients will seek help. This is a beginning and we believe that somebody has to start a campaign to eradicate the menace of drug addiction from Kashmir valley,” said Dr Wani.

On being asked the number of female drug addicts in the valley and the mode of treatment , Dr Wani said, “Under the parameters laid by Government of India we keep these addicts for a month and during this time proper counseling is done. Hundreds of girls as well as women are taking to drugs in the Srinagar city.

Claiming that the menace has pervaded almost all strata of the society, he said, “Just yesterday, I received a call from a female medico from the main city and she wants to register herself for treatment.” Citing “moral degradation’ and depression as the main reasons for surge in drug addiction among females, Dr wani said that well educated females had fallen prey to the menace of drug addiction.“It is a reality that girls are getting highly qualified and some are told by their parents to stay at home and some don’t get a job. As a girl sits idle after getting high education, she feels depressed and taking to drugs seems to be her lone option. They start with tablets and cough syrups, and later turn out to be serious drug addicts,” said Dr Wani.

Dr. Wani said they have treated five cases of female drug addiction at the centre so far. He added that these girls belonged to the age group of 17-27 years.“All these girls belonged to the well educated families of the Srinagar city and all of them came from the well-off families. One among them was working at a call centre, while as two were post graduates with two others being graduates,” he said.

Dr Wani said that since the girls taking to drugs are in close contact with their friends, it is highly possible that they would encourage their friends and peers to take drugs.

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