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, September 16, 2008

Kashmiri Capitalism at its Best

A true capitalist has no ideology other than to extract financial gain from his clients

Bravo ‘beggars’

With immense faith in hospitality of Srinagarites particularly during the blessed month of Ramadhan, many so-called beggars from far-flung areas of Kashmir have started to throng the city. Undeterred by the violence across the city, these’ beggars’ have taken over almost every Masjid and shrine.

As non-local beggars had to shift their Darbar outside the state following the turmoil, the locals beggars are having a free run. You name the place, they are there and in every situation. And they are not alone. They are accompanied by all the ‘products’ rather children of all sizes and ages, some with tangled and other with oiled hair. And they consider the newborn babies as an asset rather a passport to hassle free begging.

They are quick enough to give you a chase. If you are caught walking with a girl be it your colleague or relative, they consider it as golden opportunity to earn quick bucks. They with shower the couple you with all praises and even pray for bright future of their children. “Khuda Aap KI Jodhi Salamat Rakhay,” they frequent chant like humming of a bee to the much embarrassment of the unfortunate ‘couple’.

Recently when people were fighting pitched battles with troopers in old city, an aged woman, braving the tear gas shells, approached the angry youth saying ‘please give me money.’ However after failing in her mission, she raised her voice and started to taunt the troopers praying for their defeat. Pointing towards the CRPF troopers laced with batons, she said ‘Almighty Allah will save from these brutes if you pay me alms.’ Finally, the old women succeeded with her Public Relations skills and managed to get enough coins for a big feast.

These self-styled beggars were also found roaming freely during the recent curfew. And they didn’t even spare the troopers. “May God protect you,” a beggar told a trooper. Elated to hear prayers for his safety after tasting the heavy doses of Azadi slogans and helplessly watching Ragda Ragda dance recently, the trooper was quick enough to pay the price. And the beggar emerged as a winner rather an objective beggar.

(Greater Kashmir)

No comments: