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, May 10, 2008

Kashmir's "Hartal Culture": It is ordinary citizens who end up losing in every way

The recent 2-day strike by employees cost Rs 30 crores to the state exchequer

Srinagar: The 2-day strike by the state government employees has cost a whopping Rs 30 crore to the state exchequer, local economists say.

According to noted economist, Prof Nissar Ali the J&K has the total government employee strength of around 3.17 lakh out of which 3 lakh belong to non-gazette cadre. “If we put average earnings of Rs 500 per day to an employee, for the two days the earnings of 3 lakh employee work out to be Rs 30 crore,” Prof Ali said.

To put on record around 50 employees were injured and hundreds detained by police while employees tried to gherao the civil secretariat on Monday, first day of durbar move in Srinagar after six-months. All the government offices, apart from essential services, in other districts including Islamabad, Pulwama, Shopian, Budgam, Varmul and Kupwara remained closed. Many trade and other employees’ unions had given support to the two-day strike call by Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC). All the government offices, including hospitals and educational institutions were affected due to the strike.

Who is responsible for the loss? It does not matter as everyone loses.

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