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, June 25, 2009

Battle Over Pashmina

It is a doggy dog world out there

Indo-Pak Battle Over Pashmina

New Delhi: A new thread was added to the Indo-Pak tussle over a patent for Pashmina. At loggerheads for a while over a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for the prized wool, Pakistan said it is “open to a joint GI tag”, shared by both sides of Kashmir. India said this is possible only if Pakistan’s Pashmina is the same quality for which it has sought a patent.

If Pashmina gets the patent — Kashmir Pashmina — it will join the league of Darjeeling tea, Alphonso mango, Assam orthodox tea and Muga silk. New Delhi’s efforts to give Pashmina the tag hit a hurdle with two Pakistani trade lobbies contesting its claim.

President of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Pakistan-administered-Kashmir, Zulfikar Abbasi, told HT: “Pashmina is common Kashmiri heritage. A patent for Srinagar Valley would be unfair just like a patent only for Pakistan. We are open to a joint GI status.”

On whether India would consider a joint patent, Srinagar’s Craft Development Institute Director MS Farooqi said: “A joint GI is possible only if it is proven that Pakistani Pashmina is the same wool as our. The finest Pashmina is found only in the Srinagar Valley.”

(Hindustan Times/Greater Kashmir)

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