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, June 24, 2008

The Unparadise

Nida Shiekh takes a critical look at a place like no other

(Ms. Nida Rafiq Shiekh, 22, was born in Srinagar. She passed her Matriculation from the Presentation Convent High School and completed her 12th grade from the Mallinson Girls High School, both with distinction. She recently graduated from the Women's College, Srinagar, and is enrolled in the Media Education Centre (MERC) of the University of Kashmir pursuing a Master's degree in mass communication. She is a free lance writer who likes writing about the Kashmir issue and other topics like communal violence that have torn apart the Kashmiri society with tragic consequences. She loves writing and reading, and hopes to become a serious journalist and a documentary film maker some day.)

Welcome to Kashmir…….The Rule Free Zone

> East or west JK Police is the best……..

The general perception of the people in India is that the police is always late and all Hindi films support this fact but, our police is one step ahead. They are never late because they just don’t bother to come and even if they do then it’s of no use because they are such capable people that they don’t bother to solve small cases such as little Mehrans case. Another thing is that the uniform is an important part of a police officers life. Here in Kashmir also all police officers revere their uniforms but, a very strange thing that I recently observed was that I saw a police officer on duty wearing his complete uniform but he just didn’t bother to put on his socks. It is not true for everybody but for some.

> Dogs dogs everywhere.

Wherever you go, they are there to welcome you. These poor creatures are not be blamed for enjoying freedom. It’s those who unleash them against humans. Sstrange Kashmir University too is not a dog free zone. Beware they are making their presense felt in the campus too.

> The work culture in Kashmir is completely different.

It’s a proven fact now. If God forbid any common man has any work in any of the government offices in Kashmir then just be prepared and practice walking and standing before hand because all the people who work in these offices know very well the rules of the game “office office” and they want to have a healthy society in Kashmir so, they make sure that you go through a lot of physical exertion so that you are physically fit. Now isn’t it different?

> Power of Kashmir is cheap.

The power that is the hydroelectricity produced by the natural resources of Kashmir is cheap for everybody except the Kashmiris.

> Kashmir has the highest number of official holidays.

Out of the total 365 days in a year, 250 have been declared as holidays. The only difference is that we don’t have a perfect calendar to say which dates exactly these holidays will fall on. Just wait for any event to happen in any corner of the world and we in Kashmir celebrate that day as a Hartal.

> Kashmir lost by just one place to stand first.

It’s sad that Kashmir lost just by one place and stood second in being the best in petty corruption. But, the way the people are working hard we will soon beat all records and stand first. Bravo!

> Uncles are much needed in Kashmir.

If you are unemployed or you want any of your work done in Kashmir, all you need is an uncle in that office and your job will be done. So, have as many uncles as you can.

> Kashmiri culture preserved.

All the past governments including the present one have done their best in preserving our traditional roads. Roads of Kashmir have been declared as our cultural heritages. The government doesn’t want to damage this heritage which our ancestors have given us. They are preserving their width so that they don’t disrespect our ancestors who left this world with the present status of roads.

> Path breaking channel.

Kashir channel is a channel with a difference and have taken a pledge to be as outdated as possible even in the 21st century. It wants to have the same content and same programmes till the end of times. They have the record viewership of 50 Kashmiris all whom work in that channel.

> Kashmiri people are very rare.

Hangul and Kashmiris were the two endangered species of Kashmir. But, being endangered for the last eighteen years they are now declared as rare species. So, let’s protect them from extinction.

> Kashmiri language is safely passed onto the next generation.

All Kashmiri people love their language and have indeed successfully carried it to their next generations such that all the Kashmiri children in the age group of 4-8 know at least two words of the language. More that two words are not allowed because then their mothers will not be able to face our so called modern society.

> Environment in Kashmir is safe.

Except for the pollution of air, water, soil and noise, Kashmir is free from pollution. So what if Dal, Nigeen, Manasbal and Wular are dying. Anchar is already dead. When these rivers will die we will have more land to show the world that we are a fast developing state. The word sustainable development is not in our dictionary.

> Coffee shops in Kashmir.

From a cultural standpoint, coffeehouses largely serve as centers of social interaction: the coffeehouse provides social members with a place to congregate, talk, write, read, entertain one another, or pass the time, whether individually or in small groups. But, in Kashmir everything except these things is done in these so called coffee houses.

> Smoking is not banned in public places.

You must be wondering when did the rules change but they haven’t changed. It’s just that they were never implemented here in Kashmir. Here one can smoke anywhere anytime, be it in public transport or public places.

There are a lot other things that we can write about but for now my pen stops here. Until next time keep thinking……….

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