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, July 4, 2009

First Climate Changes, Next Official Apathy, Together a New Disaster

A heritage site has been turned into a garbage dump

Heritage springs dry up in Pattan

Pattan: Centuries old springs in Pattan town have dried up and become reservoirs for stinking and stagnant rain water and garbage due to negligence by the state government, local residents said.

Popularly called as Sikh Naag and Musalman Naag, the two springs in historical Pattan town have dried up after decades of neglect. The stone monuments over these springs are also in a derelict state, locals said.

The centuries old stone monument built around the source of Sikh Naag is submerged under stagnant, algae covered rainwater littered with plastic bottles and other wastes. The Municipal Committee Pattan has turned the premises of the spring into a garbage dumping site.

“Those who must be preserving monuments are in deep slumber and nature has started to take revenge by stopping water,” said Salim Farooq Wani.

Seventy year old Muhammad Ismail recalls old times when Hindus would perform Puja in one of the springs and use the other for ablution. He said the water from springs was also used for irrigating paddy fields.

People believe Rural Development Department’s “renovation work” on the springs a few years ago proved the proverbial last nail in coffin. Former Member Parliament Abdur Rashid Shaheen had allocated Rs 12 lakhs for repairs of the springs from his constituency development fund, but the locals said the department had no expertise to work on heritage sites.

The residents have requested the Archeological Survey of India for maintenance of these springs. “Pattan town has been capital of Kashmir in 9th century. Presence of two temples under control of ASI shows its importance. The springs have always been neglected,” the letter from Citizens’ Welfare Council Pattan to the Director General of ASI reads.

(Greater Kashmir)

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