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 18, 2009

The Menace of Drug Addition in Kashmir

Iftikar says that it takes the whole community to eradicate the menace of drug addiction

(Mr. Iftikar Rashid Wani, 30, was born in Bandipora. An avid chess player, he completed his in Environmental Studies from the Guru Ghasidas University in Chattisgarh, and his M.Ed. from the University of Kashmir. He also completed a one year Diploma from the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL). Mr. Wani is a teacher in the J&K Department of Education based in Bandipora Ward No. 4. He participated in 4th National Science Teachers Conference organized by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, at Dehradun in 2007. In 2008, he participated in the 4th J&K Science Conference held at the University of Kashmir in 2008. In his leisure time, he enjoys reading, writing, and of course, playing chess.)

Sweet Suicide

The situation in J&K has victimized the younger generation to such an extent that a considerable portion seeks refuge in sedatives turning drug addicts. In psychological terminology drug addiction is a habit which directly affects the brain and nervous system, rendering a person unfit for the society. In our Valley it is mostly due to the stress and lawlessness that youth take to drugs. This should be an eye-opener to everyone that Kashmir division alone has 70,000 drug addicts, including 4000 women according to a United Nation International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) sponsored survey. It is unfortunate that educational institutions have become the hub of such activities. Drug peddlers run their operations in educational institutions by poisoning the thoughts of student community.

Drug abuse is the use of illicit drug or misuse of legitimate drug resulting in physical or psychological harm. It includes smoking ganja, taking heroin or cocaine or LSD, injecting morphine, drinking alcohol and so on. The abuse becomes addiction, and sooner or later the person totally become dependent on such things to sustain his or her life. It is a fact that such drugs relieve a person of his tensions, depressions and other such problems for some time but in the long run it acts as a sweat poison which slowly destroys a person, both socially and emotionally. Students use the drugs to improve the studying abilities, enhancing memory power, sharpening religious insight, deepening self understanding and solving personal problems, without caring for the consequences and thus becoming the hardcore drug addicts. As per the recent survey 65-70% student community in Kashmir are drug addicts which include 26% female students. Indeed the local media have highlighted many times the incidents where the females were involved in dangerous practices of addiction.

Currently nail polish, ink remover, shoe polish and dozens of such are used as the alternative addiction by such student community. According to a well known psychiatrist of Valley, around 35% of boys of very prestigious schools from 8th standard to 12th standard use these substances daily. In majority of the cases, accounting 45.5%, such students take it because of psychological reasons, 15.2% because of physiological reasons, 10.9% because of social reasons and 28.4 because of other reasons.

Besides educational institutions some billiards, snooker points and other youth hang outs are now the common places for drug addiction. Such a trend if not addressed well in time is dangerous for our society .This problem may become beyond proportions to control. Isn’t it an irony that the drug de-addiction centers started a year ago with great pomp and show have turned defunct for want of follow up actions and proper infrastructure? Government of Jammu and Kashmir needs to formulate drug de-addiction policy to curb the growing menace of drug addiction.

Remember where there is unemployment, depression, anxiety, household disputes, and bad company there will be drug addiction. The excessive outdoor indulgence of house wives and general tendency on part of educated women to get a job has hampered the harmony of family structure of Kashmir. The modern woman is no longer confined to her domestic duties, with the result the internal discipline of the family has disrupted. Due to this a child is overpowered by the evils of frustration, hatred, jealousy and dejection. Thus the lack of care and affection on part of parents results into detachment from family and ultimately lead children to the world of drugs.

The government of Jammu and Kashmir may be trying its best to curb the problem by various means and methods but still a lot of work is to be done. At the same time people and government agencies should accelerate their efforts by targeting the students at their bases. For this educational institutions form the biggest organized sector that can play a significant role to impart such type of education and training to the student community which can help to curb this menace from the society. The college and university authorities should wake from deep slumber and prepare a proper mechanism to check this menace which emanates from hostels and other boarding places. A change in the attitude of doctors and pharmacists selling and prescribing drugs can go a long way in controlling the abuses of drugs. Doctors must check the efficacy of the drugs they prescribe regularly while pharmacists should refuse the drugs without proper prescription.

Unless we get our act together we will not be able to eradicate the drug abuse from our society.

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