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.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Saving the Big Lake - Can the Governor Succeed Where Others Have Failed?

There are no short-cuts, only a holistic approach will do

Vohra calls for mass movement to save Dal

Khidmat News Network

Srinagar: Sharing the concern of the civil society on the shrinking of the Dal Lake, Governor, N N Vohra, today called for a mass movement for conserving the Kashmir's pride heritage.

Interacting with the leading Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) of Srinagar here this evening, the Governor reiterated his resolve to do, whatever was required to be done, for restoring the pristine glory of the Dal.

Vohra felt nostalgic about the blue waters of the lake that had mesmerized generations of tourists till a few decades ago, and reminded the people of Kashmir to ponder over the wrongs committed over the years that have left this glorious water body to a virtual village pond. He felt that the Governmental measures alone would not be enough to save the lake and made a passionate appeal to the NGOs, social organisations, students, environmentalists and all others who may be concerned to shoulder the bounden duty of restoring the glory of the lake. The

Governor also referred to his recent meetings and visit to the lake for reviewing the measures being taken up for its conservation. He said that the Dal Development Project envisages a holistic approach for addressing the grey areas, which have been responsible for the present condition of the lake. He said that a massive campaign has been launched to ensure round-the-year manual de-weeding and hoped that the civil society will also do its bit by creating the requisite awareness for arresting the continuing pollution and joining the conservation drive.

Vohra called upon the NGOs to play their crucial role in eradicating social evils, safeguarding the environment, creating awareness about the need to effectively preserve the fragile eco system of the Valley. He also observed that these organizations could do a yeomen's job for improving literacy, especially among females, and helping in the empowerment of women and under-privileged sections of the society. Being the stake holders in the development of the State, they must redouble their efforts in building a harmonious society based on social justice, love and communal amity.

The NGOs urged the Governor for taking effective measures for improving the quality of education, as this sector had suffered immensely during the recent situation. They requested for organizing coaching and tutioning of the students by organizing extra classes.

Earlier, a delegation of fruit growers from Rafiabad led by Mohammed Dilawar Mir, former Minister, also called on the Governor and sought immediate implementation of the Market Intervention Scheme, to ensure better marketing of the Kashmir fruit. The delegation also apprised the Governor about various problems of the Rafiabad area including, inter alia, proper tendering of all the Rural Development Works and review of the selections made under the Integrated Child Development Scheme.

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