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.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Kashmiri Poets Ignored at Home are Recognized Elsewhere

Failure to appreciate its literary stars exposes weakness in Kashmir's civil society

Ignored by natives, Kashmiri poets feature in International Anthology

Srinagar: Language for a New Century — Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond, a recent anthology of eastern poetry published by a renowned international publisher W.W. Norton & Co, for the first time includes poems by many Kashmiri poets.

According to reports, the anthology was launched in a series of celebrations in many US cities including New York and Hartford. The anthology celebrates the artistic and cultural forces flourishing today in the East, bringing together an unprecedented selection of works by over 400 unique voices-political and apolitical, monastic and erotic, established and emerging. The anthology includes poems by Kashmiri poets Amin Kamil, Rehman Rahi and Rafiq Raaz. The selection was provided by Muneebur Rahman who edits a Kashmiri literary magazine Neab from Boston.

“It’s for the first time that Kashmiri poets are featured in an international anthology,” says Muneeb. “The anthology includes poems from about 60 nationalities, wildly divergent cultures and voices.”

The collection is edited by three promising American poets: Palestinian poet Nathalie Handal who was educated in London and Paris and lives in New York; native New Yorker Tina Chang who grew up, in part, in Taiwan; and Connecticut resident Ravi Shankar who was born and raised in India. The 734-page anthology includes 35 poets from India. “I had originally recommended more Kashmiri poets but due to limited space I had to drop some,” explains Muneeb. “I regret Dinanath Nadim’s ‘Candy and Absinth’ was dropped from the selection at a later stage during a review by a professor at the Kashmir University.”

The anthology features Rahman Rahi’s poem “Redemption,” translated by Shafi Shauq, Amin Kamil’s ghazal “In Water,” and Rafiq Raaz’s poem “Seven Sparks,” both translated by Muneebur Rahman.

(Report from the Daily Etalaat)

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