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.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Walnut Industry gets News to Cheer About

Kashmiri walnuts records bumper growth

Srinagar: In spite of the bad weather during its flowering season, the walnut industry has recorded a bumper yield this year.

According to official records, this year the annual production is likely to cross last year's total production of 146,000 metric tonnes.

"The walnuts of the Kashmir have the distinction of being best in the world and there is good demand of the walnuts in the American markets," said G M Khaki chief Horticulture office.
Cultivated over an area of 75,000 hectares, the crop adds more than 220 crores to the economy of the valley

"This year the production has been good. This will boost the trade of walnuts. We also export walnuts among other fruits from Kashmir valley and the business has been very encouraging," said Abdul Rashid parray, a walnut trader from Kulgam district.

Widely known for their superior quality and taste, Kashmiri walnuts have high demand not only in the markets in Jammu and Kashmir but also in other Countries as well.

Ghulam Rasool, another fruit dealer talking to this newspaper said that as the walnuts have been included in the cross-LoC trade, it will certainly boost the morale of the walnut growers.

"Besides selling the dry fruits in the Indian markets, we have a good demand of our produce in other Central Asian countries. If the trade is restored through the Srinagar –Muzaffarabad road then it would help us to market our produce to Iran, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan," Parray said.

Walnuts are a high-energy food, rich in oil, vitamins and minerals. This fruit happens to be a popular ingredient in baked foods. As a dry fruit, it is in great demand particularly during the autumn and winter seasons.

"No just the Indian markets but the Walnuts of Kashmir have a huge potential in the world markets," Bashir Ahmad a local trader said, adding " The export of walnuts can bring good foreign exchange to the states economy ,"

Among the tourists visiting the Kashmir valley, no shopping list is complete without walnuts to relish during the holidays and also to carry home.

The walnuts unlike other fruits of the valley have greater shelf life and can last for more than one year.

No comments: