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 27, 2009

South Kashmir is Closer to New Delhi Than Srinagar

Kashmiris adopt the age old mantra ..... Follow the Market!

For youngsters in South Kashmir, Srinagar is alien but…….Dilli Door Nahin

Arifa Gani (Kashmir Times)

Srinagar: For hundreds of youngsters in South Kashmir, Delhi is nearer
and Srinagar not any closer. This is because they have not visited the state’s
summer capital even for once but they go to the union capital every winter with
their other family members by road. The families of these youngsters are apple
and walnut growers and traders. They go to New Delhi every year to sell their
produce. For them accommodation in the union capital is not a problem as the
commission agents there provide it to them.

In some cases the accommodation is free and in other cases the rent for the
accommodation is not usually that high. However, the well off business families
make arrangements on their own for the accommodation.

“I have been visiting Delhi every winter for last four years with my family.
During these years I came to know much about the metropolitan city. I move there alone without any problem,” said Rayees Ahmad, a village youngster in south Kashmir.
He added that he has never visited Srinagar. “I am very keen to see Srinagar but
have not been to that place so far. This is because I never felt the immediate
need to go to Srinagar. My educational institution is located in my area. For
higher studies I may have to go to Srinagar some day,” Rayees said.

Nayeem Ahmad, another youth, said he visited Delhi last year. “My father and
brother were with me. We had to sell our apple in Delhi market. As far as going
to Srinagar is concerned, I have not yet gotten any chance to go there. Who will
not like to go to that beautiful place and see Dal Lake and Mughal gardens? But
my family has apprehension that if I go there alone I may land in some trouble
because of security reasons,” he said. The youngster added that he has made up
his mind to go to Delhi again in coming winter. “It is fun being there. I get a
chance to watch movies in cinema theatres,” he said.

Mohammad Yusuf, a youth, said moving in Delhi for a Kashmiri is not a cake walk.
“Being a Kashmiri outside is itself sufficient to invite trouble. Eyes of police
and security agencies are on the movement and activities of Kashmiris
particularly in Delhi. We have been seeing such situations in Kashmir so we are
used to it and we will not stop going there,” he added.

Naveed had visited Delhi a number of times and was never in Srinagar for a long
time. He visited this place only after he was to get admission in Kashmir
University two years back. “While traveling on the unfamiliar roads in Srinagar
for the first, I almost cursed myself. I felt pity on myself for not visiting
this beautiful city which is part of our Valley. I was not guilty about visiting
Delhi because with that city our bread and butter is related. I have three
orchards at home and we have to go to Delhi every year for the sale of our apples,” he said.

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