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.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Greater Kashmir Agrees That Separatist Leadership is out of Touch With Consequences of Unending Strikes

The editorial in the Greater Kashmir takes off from where the Rising Kashmir editorial left off

Rethink needed

Kashmiris are once again at the cross roads of history. Once again they have been pushed to a situation from which they don’t know how to wriggle out. No where in the world have resistance movements resulted in the amount and the kind of self-infliction as we have suffered during the last twenty years.

If we have a cursory look at the Palestinian resistance movement even as they have their own share of divided leadership with a divided territory and divergence in control, the people there have learned to live without resorting to collective self-infliction like unending strikes. If we go by our recent history during the last two decades we have had more time whiling away in homes than doing any productive work at our work places. With repeated strikes we have done an incalculable harm to the work culture in private as well as in public offices and then we blame others for our self-destruction.

It is ironical that our young children faced with uncertainty of future plan their sleep only after verifying if there was a call for a shutdown next day. During these years we have produced dullards unable to compete in competitive exams and we blame others for our poor representation in elite services although there may be many more reasons and factors contributing to it than this one alone.

Our production of various crops, cereals, vegetables and other eatables has quantitatively and qualitatively reduced increasing our dependence on imports. Our new generation is not at all ready to take up jobs which involve any kind of hard labour and that is why we are now seeing people from distant lands replacing our local labour in every conceivable area. We have aliens doing jobs from our domestic chores to field jobs.

No body should wonder then if we have aliens doing us mouth-feeding in near future should we continue with present kind of shut downs. It is unfortunate that we don’t learn from either our past mistakes or from the follies of others. We are not able to have any other kind of way or means to register our protest or to build pressure to get our demands met. There are hundreds of ways to register protest or agitating issues. In a place where you have helpless rulers who rely more on police and armed forces than on people for their power or continuation of their writ, resorting to unending strikes is useless and meaningless.

Our leadership must understand the import of their decisions on the society which they represent. We have lost a full work season last year in the wake of the land row and this year we are on the way to losing another season that could otherwise contribute to our sustenance. Moreover the question that disturbs us all is that why is it happening at a time when Kashmir is in full swing. That breaks the back of our economy. The timings makes is more lethal.

Our leadership needs to understand that economic deprivation is going to produce us more renegades and criminals. They need to go in to the reasons for the increase in criminal activities like burglaries, robberies, thefts and murders. There are several instances where our unemployed youth were found involved in crimes like car lifting, burglaries, robberies and even murders for money. This is the sum result of the collective self-infliction we have been resorting to over the years coupled with machinations at official levels that aim at destroying us economically and ethically.

It is the economic deprivation that keeps us weak and forces our youth to take to activities that are grossly inconsistent with our cultural ethos. The programmes beamed by various channels are reflective of the degradation that has set in our society and one of the main reasons is economic. We need to understand that the strikes are more beneficial to the government than to the people as it has to spend less on security, save every penny that otherwise could go in to creating infrastructure or its maintenance. Strikes provide it alibis for its non-performance.

We need to have rethink on our strategies and have mutual consultations as is ordained by our faith.

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