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.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kashmir is Steeped in Hindu Culture

Hindus may have left the valley (for the time being) but the valley resonates with their culture

1500-Year Old Hindu Godess Idol Found in Bijbehara

Bijbihara: A rare stone sculpture (idol) of Hindu goddess of wealth, Laxmi, believed to be over 1500 years old, was evacuated few days back from the village Waghama (Anantnag district) on the right bank of river Vitasta - near Bijbehara, according to deputy director of Archives, Archeology and Museums, Peerzada Muhammad Ashraf.

Ashraf said the farmers stumbled upon the idol when they were digging a field in Waghama, Bijbehara. “They took the idol with them but some villagers tipped the local police who recovered the idol and handed it over to us after legal formalities,” Ashraf said, adding, the experts are studying the idol.

Experts have identified the sculpture as that of Goddess Laxmi, dating back to 5th Century AD. The sculpture measures 7 inches high and 4.5 inches wide and is seen as the most impressive find of the year. “It is a rare idol that depicts the goddess riding a lion while a crocodile rests at her feet,” said an expert wishing anonymity. Another expert said the sculpture depicting Goddess Laxmi on a lotus throne with lion motifs on its either sides is a complete figure with impressive artistic details.

Experts say there has been great influence of Greek culture in areas in and around Bijbehara. Noted historian, Muhammad Yousuf Taing, said that Mehra Kul, a Hindu King, in 4th century AD had donated a huge chunk of land in Bijbehara to Brahmins of Gandhara, Afganistan.

“It is pertinent to mention that a big temple devoted to Vishnu existed till 19th century in Bijbehara. Bijbehra should be declared as a heritage zone with a museum to preserve its rich artifacts given its tremendous historical significance,” various experts said, who criticized the Archeology Survey of India (ASI) which shifted its operations to Jammu under the militancy began in early 1990.

“Our archeological wealth is in ruins due to the neglect by the ASI. Government must take steps to handover the archeological sites to State Archeology department,” said a noted expert.

No comments: