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, April 23, 2009

Food habits in Kashmir are Consistent With Global Trend Towards Indulgence

Dr. Dabla, head of the Department of Sociology, University of Kashmir, examines dietary habits among Kashmiris

Changing Food Habits in Kashmir

Dr. B A Dabla

The traditional Kashmiri society was till the recent past characterized with extreme poverty and miserable life conditions. But, while at the initiation of the twentieth century, a broader and deeper process of social transformation started affecting the material conditions of the masses; here the post-1947 period experienced a radical change in all fields of life, especially economic, political, demographic, social, cultural, ethnic and linguistic.

There is a lot of empirical evidence to support the fact that a significant degree of social change has occurred in the traditional life style, particularly in the consumption pattern/s among the inhabitants of the Kashmir valley. In actuality, it also reflects in the emergence of new consumer trends in the valley. These new trends of consumerism reflected specifically in the fields of food habits, dress patterns, entertainment items, household goods, toiletries, and so on.

In the preceding situational context, we carried out a survey with the objective of knowing-enquiring about nature and pattern of consumption of food items and food habits among the general people living in the valley of Kashmiri at present. This survey was conducted among 750 randomly-selected respondents (representing their households) living in different mohallas and newly-established colonies in and around the city of Srinagar. This sample was highly representative and gave representation to all economic, educational, demographic and other relevant sociological categories. This research work was carried out in the field by 35 trained Research Investigators through the questionnaires which composed of about fifteen fixed-choice and open-ended questions. The relevant information and data was collected, aggregated, tabulated and explained and the conclusions drawn scientifically. The entire scientific fieldwork was carried out by the third-semester strudents of M.A Sociology, Kashmir University under the supervision of the writer.

The main findings of the survey are as follows:

 The survey revealed a near-total majority of 99.33 percent respondents consumed plain rice twice every day. At the same time, dominant majority of 81.24% respondents consumed different vegetables with rice daily. The survey also revealed that a huge majority of 95.09 percent respondents drink the salt (Kashmiri) tea daily (twice a day, morning and afternoon). The survey found that the sweet delicacies like Kehwa, Halwa and Fereeni was consumed by majority of respondents occasionally in the respective proportions of 86.00 percent and 88.01 percent.

 The survey conveyed that while a huge majority of 77.22 percent take Lipton tea daily many times a day), a majority of 77.007 percent respondents drink Lassi daily. It was found that 66.93 percent respondents consumed chicken weekly and 65.46 percent respondents consumed meat weekly. At the same time, 64.13 percent respondents eat Biryani occasionally, Stick meat and kanti were used by 69.06 percent respondents ate biryani occasionally. Stick meat and kanti were used by 69.06 percent and 72.04 per cent occasionally and respectively. While the Pulao was taken by 77.04 percent respondents occasionally, fried rice was taken by 60.00 percent respondents occasionally. Butter was used by 61.64 percent respondents daily.

 It has been found that from the past decade, 76.06 percent respondents started using the mineral water, especially on special occasions like marriage. Among 60.13 percent respondents, salad has become a necessary component of good food among Kashmiris. Fruits are also taken regularly by 64.06 percent respondents. During the winter season, 67.08 percent respondents took Haresa several times. Along with different varieties of sweets, the chewing gums were taken regularly especially by younger respondents as reported by 59.02 percent.

Now it is clear from the above statement that the Kashmiris at large have adopted many new consumer items related to food habits, which stands extremely opposite or parallel to the traditional nature and pattern of food habits in Kashmir. It follows that while in the traditional situation, the inhabitants in Kashmir could hardly get even two time simple meals (i.e. haak-batte) and a cup of black tea, they now consume most of the foods and other related items in the changing situation.

(Rising Kashmir)

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