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.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Next Disaster News: Melting Glaciers

Mixing Economic Meltdown With Glacier Meltdown in Kashmir Spells an Uncertain Future

Valley headed for major water crisis as glaciers receding speed

Shabir Ibn Yusuf (Kashmir Times)

SRINAGAR: Valley may face severe water crisis in coming summer, as the glaciers have receded at an alarming rate, if the officials of Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) and experts are to be believed.

The cause is stated to be a lower snowfall, above normal temperature and early melting of snow in the mountains, besides deforestation and human interference.
Glaciers of south Kashmir ensure food security for the Valley, while the glaciers or snowfall in north Kashmir, and mostly feed the Pakistan-Administered -Kashmir, besides the border areas.

Experts maintain that an end to deforestation, stopping the nomads and their flocks and regulating the annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine could deliver results.

The major glaciers in the Valley, Kolahoi located at a height of 17899 feet above sea level in Anantnag that supplies water to the Valley round the year, has suffered a great deal. The affected glaciers are at Sheesh Nag, Thajwas, Amarnath and Zanskar in Ladakh, among others.

A senior official of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), requested anonymity, said that they are shocked at the ever-shrinking size of the glaciers. "Some measures have to be taken to reforest the area and modify human activities in these regions to save the glaciers," he said adding that "Otherwise situation would turn grim day by day."

The official said that the Kolahoi, situated above Aru in Pahalgam area of South Kashmir, the main source of the river Lidder, has receded by "two to three kilometres in the past three to four years. "It is a matter of grave concern, as drying up of the Lidder will make things difficult for the people of south Kashmir," he said.

Here it needs a mention that Lidder is one of the major tributaries of the river Jhelum that originates from a spring in Verinag of Anantnag district on the edges of the gateway of the Valley.

Experts say that the climate has changed because of the increasing interference of humans and many small glaciers have simply disappeared. An expert said, "There is dire need of putting an end to deforestation, stopping the nomads and their flocks and regulating the annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine which could deliver results."

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