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.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Disgraceful Act

Granted that Tanvir is a party faithful, but in this case he has a valid point

(Mr. Tanvir Sadiq, 31, was born in Srinagar and attended the Burn Hall School. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Information technology and management from Orissa University. He is the youngest Municipal Corporator of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) and was elected from Zadibal Constituency. He has contributed regularly to local newspapers like the Kashmir Times, Kashmir Images, Greater Kashmir, and Kashmir Monitor. He was associated with many programs on Disaster Management of J & K and did a couple of programs on highlighting urban poverty. He is active in State politics and his interests are writing and social work.)

This is Utterly Shameful!

When my father was a legislator and I was in the school, I would frequent the Assembly very often and watch the proceedings. That was the time when you had the cream of intelligence. Most of the members were highly literate, knowledgeable and experienced. Not that everybody was docile. No, there used to be arguments and counter arguments debates were meaningful and it looked that both the opposition and the ruling party had people’s welfare at heart. At times when the heat became unbearable I would hear my dad throwing a barb or ease the tension with his customary humor. The House would burst into a loud laughter and again it would be business as usual-organized, disciplined and orderly. Members would honour the Chair, quote a rule to emphasize their point or make a peaceful walkout.

I remember a member once raising an issue and quietly taking his seat when told by the Speaker that it was sub-judice. What shocked me was Mehbooba demanding a discussion on Shopian incident when the issue is already pending before the Hon. High Court. Surely, a person of her standing who has been an MP, a legislator several times, leader of the Congress Legislature Party and her own PDP now, should have known that it was highly inappropriate and against the Rules of Procedure to demand a discussion that our highest court is seized of. Even Beg seems to have failed her on this front! I as a citizen have this right to ask, if a non state actor picks up a gun and shoots how are you any different if you dislodge the Speaker’s address system and hurl it at his head! Is it the frustration that you have been dumped by Delhi and now by the people in the recent parliamentary elections and you are desperate to retrieve some of your lost ground? It may not be very long when you will be sans People, sans Democratic and sans Party.

It was in utter disbelief to watch the proceedings of the State Assembly. Yesterday, when Mehbooba Mufti was shown approaching the Speaker menacingly and hurling the microphones and whatever she could lay her hands on. If that was ghastly today’s incident looked too juvenile. Altering Azad’s expression “a non political entity more a product of circumstances than any political acumen”- Muzaffar Hussain Beg once again flaunting a piece of paper and accusing the Chief Minister of being a part of the infamous sex scandal! Remember he had similarly accused Rather of land grab earlier, and when challenged, tendered a written apology and gone public claiming that he had been misled. With Chidambaran categorically stating that Omer’s name does not figure in the list of accused, Beg might have to beg a pardon again and eat yet another humble pie! Some people might call Omer’s reaction an emotional outburst when he announced his resignation. I think he has set a healthy precedent that few public men within or outside the state will ever emulate. It is something that has become extinct in our political system. We have politicians who will even bargain even their faith for grabbing power.

Most opposition leaders or any one among the lot would literally sell their souls for a chance at the CM's seat. Could we even imagine any previous CM resigning? Has any sitting CM ever resigned in Kashmir? The opposition has succeeded in burning-out the only CM who could make a difference in our strife-torn state, and the youth will never forgive them.

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