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, July 23, 2009

Bankruptcy of Leadership

Feroz looks at the "maximum leader" and finds some glaring shortcomings

(Mr. Feroz Ahmad Paray, 23, was born in Kalampora in Pulwama District. He completed his B.Sc. degree (pre-medical stream) from the Government College in Pulwama, and is currently pursuing post graduation in Business Economics from Wigan & Leigh College in Srinagar. His personal interests vary from writing poems and playing cricket to net surfing and shopping. His favorite author is Khalil Gibran.)

Our Leaders Lack Vision and Commitment

“I can’t say whether things will get better if we change; What can I say is they must change if they are to get better.” (G.C.Liechtenberg)

If we look at the lives of our Kashmiri leaders, we find one quality of aimlessness common in all. This unique quality has changed the whole scenario of our motherland. At the same time, if we look at lives of saints and gurus we find one quality that was critical to their success. The quality that set them apart was a commitment to their life’s goals. The secret to success is to stick to your goal through rain or shine. This is true whether we wish to attain a spiritual goal or a worldly achievement.

Everyone knows the situation in our motherland now is adverse. Kashmir has always been in news but the only difference is that earlier it was in news for its stunning beauty but now it is news for violence. Some invested parties are reaping the benefits through this crisis. Surely they are not peace lovers. They don’t care for their homeland, which sometimes was known as the paradise. It is true that every crisis brings in its wake a clutch of opportunities. Great minds think of new ideas while the mediocre get bogged down in discussing the crisis. Sure, eventually the meek may inherit the earth but it is unlikely that the mediocre will rule it.

Our leaders know that it is not possible to soar with eagles when one is obliged to work with turkeys. They lack the necessary elements. They lack the pure commitment. Whether Hurriyat M or G, no one likes to channelize their energy in order to get some fruitful results. The people of Kashmir are facing these difficulties. Is it because they lack the practical knowledge or because of their mental abilities? Surely, No. the only thing Kashmiris are stuck in is their old “chalta-hai” mentality. People of Kashmir have done wonders with this chalta hai attitude. Now what is required is we need to become one whose vision is equanimous. The whole of Kashmir seems angry and frustrated and the reason being best known to all of us. Continuous hartals and bandhs along with undeclared curfews has made the life like a hell to live in. some hartals are absolutely genuine (double rape and murder of pregnant Nelofar and innocent Aasiya of Shopian) while others are merely wastage of time and nothing else. According to Ali Shah Geelani, hartal is the best weapon of Kashmiris. Make these hartals so strong that the walls of the India get moved, Geelani added. Geelani Sahab, don’t you know India has already got frustrated with the situation in Kashmir.

Last week, I was traveling from Dehradun to Srinagar, when some gentlemen were discussing Kashmir and its so called leader Geelani. They were also discussing hartals and in the meantime said one of them, “It has now became mandatory to get the date from Geelani Sahib for the marriages rather than from the Kashmiri cook (waaza). Mr. Geelani, my friend’s marriage is on 29th July. I want to know what the date-sheet of that day is. Along with my friend, am very much confused, as my friend is an orphan but poor lady.

Mr. Geelani, you have done the wonder which no one can dare to do. My motherland is known for its hard laborers and a nation of saint-patience. Allama Iqbal has said, “This nation of Kashmir is fertile and the people living here are genius”. And from the centuries, my homeland has performed intelligently at every step and in every nook and corner of the world. In earlier days, when there were no schools, no colleges, people still prefer to go to Punjab to get their matric grade and some were enjoying the Kashmiri poetry here. Wahab Khar, Rasool Mir or Azad were born from the streets but you have brought the revolution. Our children are free from the tension of going to their schools. The other day, I went to my nephew’s bedroom. I wake him up by saying today is the school day. He replied, “Aaj ragda-ragda nahi hai. Aaj hartal nahi hai”. Such is the mentality of the new generation. Our elder generation is free from the burden of making their future.

Would Geelani Sahib have born during the Mughal period; the story would have been totally different. We would have adopted the strategy of bandhs/hartals; it would have forced them to fly away from Kashmir. Jalaludin Akbar’s fertile brain wouldn’t have worked before this wonderful strategy. Afghan governor Chirag Baig introduced his tyranny by cutting the nose of one of the Kashmiris. Would Geelani have been in that age, there would have been hartals and bandhs, the nose of Chirag Baig would have cut itself. Dogras wouldn’t have done the mistake of buying the Kashmir. After all, what would have been the fun of buying the hartali Kashmiris?

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