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.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

People alone can eradicate corruption from society: Prof Punjabi

Congratulations are in order for the VC of the University of Kashmir for taking the case against corruption culture to the people and to the Blog journalist Nida who won the Second Prize

(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.)

Civil Society Debate on Corruption

Srinagar: The vice chancellor of Kashmir University Prof Riyaz Punjabi Saturday said that people alone could eradicate corruption from the society, if they decide to do so. Prof Punjabi who was speaking during 5th Annual IIPA Cup Inter-College/Deptt. Debate at Gandhi Bhawan said, “Eradication of corruption is achievable.”

The VC was happy with the success of the debate and said that society is not devoid of people who can articulate views. VC sounded highly optimistic after hearing the repertoire, which presented a resume of the daylong proceedings of the debate. He appealed the audience to play their role in this direction.

The daylong topic “It is the will of the people that can curb the menace of corruption in the society” was organized by Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), J&K Regional Branch, in collaboration with the Department of Students welfare (DSW), Kashmir University and sponsored by state vigilance organization. 35 students from various affiliated colleges of the University and postgraduate departments participated in the debate. The speakers highlighted the role of the society and the Govt in fight against the corruption and bringing accountability and transparency in government working.

Those who spoke in favor of the motion gave examples from history and impressed on the civil society to use the provisions of Right To Information Act to ensure enforcement of accountability and redressal of grievances faced by general public. Those who spoke against the motion felt the people are helpless in fight against corruption. “The menace cannot be eradicated unless the transparency is enforced at the top,” they said that the delay in trial of corruption cases in the courts also encourages corruption. The speakers also attributed corruption to unequal distribution of wealth and mismanagement of finances in the country.

Islamia College lifted the IIPA Cup-2008. Mariya Rafeeqi of Government Degree College Nawakal won first prize (Rs. 2000), second prize (Rs 1500) went to Nida of MERC Department, KU while as the third (Rs 1000) was won by Abdul Basit of Islamia College. The two consolation prizes (Rs.500 each) were bagged by Nowsheen of Linguistics Department, KU and Naveed Iqbal, of Government College for Woman M A Road.

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