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, March 6, 2009

Spring Blooms on March 20

Million Tulips Bloom At World's Largest Tulip Garden

Srinagar: About 12 lakh bulbs in more than 60 colours will greet the guests in Siraj Bagh, one of the world's largest tulip garden, situated at the foot of the Zabarwan Hills, being thrown open for public from March 20.

All these tulips will be in bloom in the first week of April, said an official adding, the garden will however, be opened for public from March 20.

From this year, we have decided to make it a round-the-year destination for tourists and locals, visiting the garden, he said.

The garden inaugurated by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in the last week of March 2008was rechristned as Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden.

The tourist season was extended in the Kashmir valley by about a month as tourists start arriving in the valley in the month of May.

The official said the tulip season generally comes to an end in the last week of April.

To make it attractive even when the tulip season is over, we have decided to grow other flowers in the garden. This, he said, will not in any way affect tulips but these flowers will bloom in other seasons also. Lakhs of people--local, students and tourists visited the garden last year. It also attracted Bollywood and a number of scenes of several films were also shot in the garden.

The Asia's largest garden was completed after a workforce of about 400 labourers and gardeners finished the task by working round the clock in three shifts, to give the final touches to the garden, before opening its beautifully-built gate plaza for the visitors.

In all, 60 varieties of early, mid, late and very late blooming tulips will spread a rainbow of red, orange, purple, white, pink, parrot and yellow colours in the garden.

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