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, February 27, 2009

Preserving our Culture

The Kashmir University, with the help of Indian experts including one of Kashmiri origin, is preserving rare manuscripts electronically

KU to Digitize Local Newspapers, Rare Books

Srinagar: The University of Kashmir will soon digitize all local newspapers besides the old and rare books available in its Allama Iqbal Library.

The decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by the varsity vice-chancellor, Prof Riyaz Punjabi. last week.

The members decided to conserve, preserve and subsequently digitize the newspaper and books, and later convert them as e-books¸ which would be available on the internet. They also decided to acquire and digitize Sanksrit, Persian and Arabic manuscripts.

In his presidential address, Prof Punjabi applauded the role played by the library staff in getting it at par with reputed national and international libraries.

The Library Committee Meeting was attended by deans of all the university faculties, heads of various teaching departments and the registrar, Prof S Fayyaz Ahmad. Two eminent scientists Prof T.A.V Murthy, Ex- Director INFLIBNET and Dr. H. K Koul , Director , DELNET, New Delhi, were also part of the meeting.

Prof Murthy and Dr Koul asserted that the Allama Iqbal library plays an important role in developing model literary culture in the state of Jammu and Kashmir by means of having the modern technology and infrastructure in place.

Dr Muthy offered to donate all his personal collection of books and other material to the library. The decision was applauded and accepted by the members.

The members also called for networking of all college libraries in the state particularly in the valley by upbringing their services and staff with adequate infrastructure and training.

The University Librarian, Reyaz Rufai, highlighted achievements and progress made by the library in providing access to the knowledge resources within the university by using modern technological means and expertise of staff.

Meanwhile, the library and its staff was impressed upon, to work more assiduously and efficiently in close proximity with civil society and play key role in transforming social set up.

(Kashmir Observer)

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