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.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kashmiri Politicians, Promises Undelivered

Khayal brings a new sense of objectivity in assessing the Kashmiri political landscape

(Mr. Ghulam Nabi Khayal, 70, was born in Srinagar. He received his schooling and college education in Srinagar, and completed his Masters degree in English. Mr. Khayal is considered a doyen among Kashmiiri journalists, having worked for both Indian and international newspapers like the Statesman, India Today, the Guardian, Voice of America, and others. He is also a topnotch Kashmiri writer having bagged numerous awards at local, national and international levels, including the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in 1975. Mr. Khayal has published 24 books in Kashmiri, Urdu and English languages. He is the owner of a journal, Voice of Kashmir, published weekly from Srinagar.)

Big Farooq, Little Omar: APHC apart, Your Time Starts Now

Time for pelting stones on others while staying in glass houses, should now be over. Though it has once again been all in once family, but recent Assembly and Parliamentary elections have been held also in this State and a local government has been formed with the active support of the electorate which used its franchise without any coercion or misuse of state power as has been the regular practice in this ill fated state for a number of years.

No one can deny this fact that Boycott calls given frantically by factions of the Hurriyat Conference (APHC) have not been heeded by the people who have been undergoing unparallel and colossal problems faced by them during the last 20 years. The APHC must be feeling rather cornered and humiliated and having been thrown in frozen ice boxes of an obsolete politicking not to be accepted as a hard reality of the contemporary world in the realistic perspective of the current situation.

The wavered functioning of the fragmented Hurriyat particularly during the last one year has been like wobbling in an imbalanced boat. The people’s spontaneous and massive uprising over Amarnath controversy in Kashmir was consigned to the cold storage of nothingness by the APHC for, its voices of dissent coming within could not lead the common man to a path of sustainable peaceful movement not aimed at creating of lawlessness and adhering to stone pelting like bizarre acts usually indulged in by street urchins.

The Assembly elections also brought the APHC into the cobweb like fold of uncertain mind and action with the result that electorate out rightly rejected its mere slogan mongering. The voters were quite conscious that Hurriyat was not going to heal their wounds and that Azadi was still a far distant dream so they preferred much needed solution to their day to day problems.

During the Lok Sabha poll, APHC was again found wanting in its political far sight, maturity and time-bound strategy for the people and in particular for its blind followers. The conglomerate again failed to fill up the void. First, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq refuted any boycott plea saying that elections were no issue for them or the people, Suddenly, he took a U-turn, probably out of a grave threat coming from across the western border, and was thus forced to contradict his own politicking, taking people for a ride that they might have forgotten his anti-boycott appeal made only a few days ago.

Expectedly, there was no boycott and people did what they thought was in their own interest and not that of the Hurriyat. For a while, APHC thrived on artificially created bubbling events like Pampore chalo, Muzaffarabad chalo or Eid Gah chalo and then unmindfully slept over things as if all that, they had on their agenda for the last 16 years, had been accomplished most honourably and successfully. The sorrowful outcome of this ill conceived political maneuvering is very much before our eyes that more than 65 Kashmiri Muslim youths were shot dead by the Indian forces, Kashmir’s already shattered economy was further crippled and an ugly phase of uncertainty engulfed the scenario because of unjustified and senseless calls for strikes and protestations across the Valley.

For adding chaos and humiliation to the disturbing situation and for indirectly causing more state suppression on the people, credit must indeed go to all factions of the Hurriyat and other secessionist organisations and groups, all put together. Of late, Syed Ali Geelani has come out with yet another interesting proposition that people in Kashmir go for torch light protests. He has urged people, especially the youth, to organise torchlight rallies between the evening and night prayers. How nice it would have been on the part of Geelani had he, instead, provided candles for those tens of thousands of citizens who are facing the curse of most erratic power supply?

Mirwaiz has also warned the Central government to initiate dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue within two months time. Otherwise, otherwise what? Let Mirwaiz himself answer this question. For the time being, we reserve our comments and wish him all success. And the present state government: The so called 100-days of state chief minister Omar Abdullah were lionised with a hype by the government’s propaganda band wagon of the information department, news section of Doordarshan and the National Conference “more loyal than the king” enthusiastic activists. They however miserably failed to spell out any of the achievements of the government even if it was to boil down to ensuring regular supply of electricity to the consumers or timely repairing of the most dilapidated roads all over the Valley and in the capital city of Srinagar in particular. Omar is seen busy with inaugurating functions, delivering speeches, laying of foundation stones and delivering speeches with oratory and attending unending but fruitless official meetings where the traditionally corrupt administrative high ups mislead him on various matters ascertaining that all is well when factually, all is seriously infected by the deadly virus of inefficiency and dishonesty practiced by one and all in the bureaucracy right from an small employee up to the level of commissioners and ministers.

It is probably in store for the hapless Kashmiris that those who talk very loud of good governance are by themselves proving the worst of the lot. The bitter reality is there very much that the existence of the present government is not felt in a solid way even like a feather touch beyond the four walls of civil secretariat but its invisible achievements are eulogised by traditional sycophants and opportunist political vested interests impudently. Now that big Farooq has been provided also a berth in the Union ministry, and the little Omar is a crowned king of the state, the father-son duo may not forget that their promised, made ten thousand times during their electioneering, have not been rubbed off from the minds of the electorate. They shall have to perform and deliver to the satisfaction of a common Kashmiri who has been lured to reported fulfillment of all his aspirations he deserves to be presented in practice.

If the NC government thought that they will continue serving their own interests and the party loyalists as usual, their days might come to an unsavoury end much before the scheduled period of time.

No comments: