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.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

2 Kashmiri Muslims Selected for "Kabir Puraskar 2008"

News to Restore one's Faith That all is not Lost

Kashmiri Muslim rewarded for saving Hindus

New Delhi: Unfortunately when the officially 'united' Jammu and Kashmir has been unofficially 'divided' into 'Hindu-Jammu' and 'Muslim-Kashmir', an act of a Kashmiri Muslim has been recognised officially after 11 years. His act can be an eye-opener for the people responsible for the mayhem J & K people have been facing.

The recognition, which coincided with the festival of Eid seems to be a unique Eid gift from Government of India to Ghulam Ahmed Bhat of Kashmir and Abdul Gani Abdullabhai Qureishi of Vadodra. For their valour and courage the duo has been selected for coveted communal harmony 'Kabir Puraskar 2008.'

The Kabir Puraskar is a national award instituted by the central government in recognition of acts of physical or moral courage displayed by a member of a caste, community or ethnic group in saving the lives and properties of members of another caste, community or ethnic group during caste, community or ethnic violence.

Their courageous & humane acts and the mentality & attitude that drove them to endanger their lives in saving Hindus are the need of the hour particularly for J & K and the country The Bhat's heroic act dates back to March 1997 when militants attacked village Sangranpora, in Budgam district in Jammu and Kashmir, in which seven Pandits were killed.

Bhat reached the spot even before the police and stood guard for whole of the night saving the rest of the family members. On the day following the massacre, Bhatt cremated the deceased persons without caring for his own life. After this also, Bhat's courage and humanity did not die despite facing militants' threat for helping Hindus. He defied the threat and helped their family members in completing legal formalities required for getting the compensation.

Son of Mohd. Akbar Bhat, Ghulam Ahmed is a resident of Hokletri Khan-sahib in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir. Humane values don't diminish, so Bhat has great respect for human values and for maintaining communal harmony in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Another recipient of the award, Abdul Gani Abdullabhai Qureishi showed his humanitarian efforts on May 1, 2006, when Vadodara City witnessed widespread communal riots following demolition of a Dargah near Champaner Darwaja. In the ongoing communal violence, two people had lost their life at the same spot. A large violent mob of Muslims had assembled there and two Hindu families in two vehicles passing through that area got caught in the mob fury.

Qureishi without caring for his safety, displaying exemplary physical courage, entered the mob riding on his scooter. Braving the stones pelted by the mob, Qureishi stood there firmly and valiantly rescued both the vehicles with their Hindu occupants from fury of the mob. Again on 26.5.2007, one Kalpesh Madhusudan Pawar of Vadodara had gone to Reshamwala Khancha in Yakutpura. Kalpesh would have been hacked to death that night by a violent armed mob of Muslim youth.

Qureishi came to know about the plight of this hapless Hindu boy. Without caring for his life, again Qureishi barged into the riotous mob. Bearing blows of lathis on his own body, he rescued Kalpesh, informed the local police station immediately and ensured his safe retrieval and passage to the Police Station.

State Times salutes these exemplary personalities and wishes peace and communal harmony may prevail in India and world.

(State Times, Jammu)

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