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, December 19, 2008

The Price of Obsession

An editorial in the Rising Kashmir highlights a continuing problem in Kashmir where an overdozed civil society is unable to wean away from politics to address remaining 90% of daily issues confronting the society


Over-obsessed with politics Kashmir continues to be oblivious of the natural wealth that the valley is endowed with, thereby missing remorseful politics

Kashmir has always been full of politics and Kashmiri stand besieged by the political talk. Some of this talk may be fabulous but mostly it’s fatuity that we engage ourselves with. The immediate adverse fall out of this over obsession with politics has been the neglect of other important areas of collective interest. Our politicians, both Unionist and Resistance, never take their minds off the crude political talk and think of what could be a major issue for the people of Kashmir to rally around. It’s the resources of Kashmir.

Although in the recent times, the talk of resources and economy surfaced up and much politics was done around that issue, but there is still a general apathy towards talking meaningfully about the resources of Kashmir. The recent talk, in a way, was all motivated and driven by politics; for example the Kundal Committee report on how the green gold was plundered in Kashmir or how the water resources of Kashmir are being exploited by various agencies in India to benefit the people living in other states ignoring the Kashmiris, the owners of the wealth.

Rising Kashmir Business Desk has carried a report about how the gypsum reserves remain extremely underutilized in Kashmir. According to the news story there are more than 100 million tones of gypsum reserves in the valley, and from such huge quantity only a miniscule amount of 24, 000 metric tones have been extracted from different mines during the fiscal year of 2007-08.

Misfortune has struck valley in the way that our political and social activism is so narrowly focused on certain hackneyed slogans that all else escapes our sight. The unexplained reluctance on part of our political leadership, social activists, and an upcoming brigade of opinion makers is allowing the unscrupulous elements to lay their hands at our recourses. We only come to know about it when somebody else plundered it. This attitude needs to be changed.

The poverty and the overall suffocation at social level can be fought if we stretch the band of our concerns. It will not only yield economic dividends but will alter the socio-political landscape of our valley. An alert political leadership and a watchful society can engage with this concern in ways that can make the collective struggle of Kashmiri full of content; it will also make it look real. Instead of imagined aspirations a concrete aim can be discovered for this people to strive collectively. The way people have behaved during these elections and the manner in which they have dropped a particular message, makes it all the more necessary that the real life issues are discovered, understood and meaningfully engaged with. Attending the map of resources in Kashmir is one way of making the discourse on Kashmir look more real and connected to life

No comments: