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

Kashmir Produces a World Class Mountaineer

The mantle falls on Nasim Akhtar

Kashmiri to lead Everest expedition

Srinagar: Nesim Akhtar, an experienced mountaineer from Kashmir would lead an expedition in 2011 from Northeast to Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak.

Akhtar, who is also a member of the Governing Council of the Indian Mountaineering Federation for the past 10 years would lead the Everest expedition, sources said. Noted mountaineer Colonel Neeraj Rana and senior journalist and experienced mountaineer Pranay Bordoloi will be the deputy leaders.

Kashmir for its mountain peaks like Zabarwan, Harmuk, Kolai and Tratakuti is known as mountaineers’ paradise.

As part of the first pre-Everest expedition, a 30-member team will attempt to scale Kolahai peak in Kashmir after undergoing a training session at the Indian Army-run Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering in Pahalgam.

The final team of 15 members for the main expedition to scale Everest would be chosen from among these participants at the three pre-Everest summits of which two would be undertaken this year and the third in 2010.

The first of the three pre-Everest expeditions will be undertaken by the North East Adventure Foundation ahead of the first Everest expedition from the Northeast in 2011.

Of the 25 participants for the three pre-Everest expeditions, 13 are from Assam and 12 are from other northeastern states.

The team includes 14 young women from the region.

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