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

Preserving Kashmir's Heritage by Preserving its Monuments

Governor Vohra is on the Right Track

Heritage Monuments: Vohra asks for urgent steps to preserve glorious past

Srinagar: Governor N.N Vohra has indicated the urgent need for the enactment of a suitable framework for preserving and conserving heritage monuments in the state.

“The rich vernacular architecture has to be preserved for posterity to know about their glorious past, besides attracting a large number of tourists, both domestic as well as foreign,” the Governor observed yesterday while being briefed on the rich treasure of such buildings.
Vohra stressed the need for identifying heritage monuments and magnificent old buildings and observed that, in the first instance, effective time-bound steps would need to be taken for their conservation and preservation of the surroundings.

He was informed that, presently, there was no law for listing or protecting heritage buildings.
The Governor called for the formulation of a master plan in this regard and indicated that implementation of the conservation programme must be carried out within a specified time frame.

He sought the preparation of a calendar of all such activities and the same being monitored on a fortnightly basis.

Vohra suggested creation of a monumental corridor for incoming tourists with the facilities of guides and planned package tours. He also called for creating awareness among the people about the upkeep of the buildings having historical value.

“Such monuments may not be used as dwelling units by them presently; however, those who own such buildings must be made conscious of being the owners of the heritage bequeathed from their ancestors,” he added.

The Governor was given a detailed briefing on monumental buildings surveyed by the Jammu and Kashmir Chapter of INTACH and some of the conservation works undertaken during the past few years.

These include the Ali masjid in Srinagar and the ancient Shiva temple in Manasbal. He was also informed about the status of the first phase of conservation work on the Mubarak Mandi complex in Jammu taken up at a cost of Rs 4. 37 crore.

Vohra was also briefed about the futuristic plans of conserving various forts, buildings and monumental structures across the State and he desired to visit some of these in the coming days, along with all concerned officers.

(The Tribune)

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