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

Something to Cheer About Today While it Still Looks New

Nigeen gets its Club back but will it look the same a year from now?

Restored Nigeen Club inaugurated

Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah inaugurated the restored Nigeen Club here on Wednesday.

The club located at the banks of Nigeen Lake was last year taken up for restoration work by Tourism Department following its vacation by troops after 20 years.

The chief minister stressed the need for upgrading the tourism related facilities to woo more tourists.

Lamenting that several of the clubs which were vibrant in the past have gone into oblivion, Omar said the club culture has to be revitalized, but within the permissible limits of our religion and culture.

He added that there is less hope for revival of old Srinagar Club, but the government will try to see that the property at Chemashahi which is under occupation is restored.

The chief minister said quality tourism infrastructure is must to attract tourists as other states are also competing.

“Besides we have to maintain the quality of our services,” he added.

Earlier, the chief minister inspected the newly created facilities at the club which includes a library, fitness center, sauna bath facility, billiards room besides catering and other facilities.

Minister of Tourism and Culture, Nawang Ringrin Jora said the department is committed for development of tourism in the state.

Director Tourism, Farooq Shah said the department took up the renovation of the club within the shortest possible duration of five months.

He said the club will give boost to tourism related activities in the area.
On the occasion, MLA Hazratbal, Dr Mustafa Kamal expressed hope that the restoration of club will help woo tourists to the area.

Meanwhile, an old club member said it was established by the Britishers. The original wooden building was gutted earlier. The remaining part of the premises remained under occupation of troops till last year.

The present single storey building has a main hall decorated by Katahmband ceiling. The old single roof has been replaced by color coated tin sheets. The lawns of the club have been redone with a fountain greeting the guests at the entrance.

Others who were present at the inaugural ceremony included MLAs Peer Afaq Ahmad and Nasir Sogami, Secretery Tourism, Tanveer Jehan. Besides representatives of KCCI, FCCI, NALCO, Houseboat Owners, Tour and Travel Operators Association and former members of Nigeen Club were also present on the occasion.

(Rising Kashmir)

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