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

The Garden of Wealth

Kashmir's history comes alive with an archaeological find

Ancient Sculpture of Goddess Lakshmi Found

Ehsan Fazili (Tribune News Service)

Srinagar: A magnificent stone sculpture of Goddess Gaja Lakshmi has been discovered from an ancient spring at Nagabal Lesser village in the Kokernag area of south Kashmir.

An official spokesman said here today that the sculpture “is brilliantly carved in limestone (slightly brownish in colour) measuring nine inches in height and five inches in width. The deity is seated on a lotus throne, placed in between two lions. The main sculpture is enclosed in a stone frame and the top of which projects in the shape of elephant motifs, towards the head of the deity.”

He said, “However, the right top of the right side of the sculpture is missing. The deity is holding a lotus stuck in her right hand, cornucopia in her left hand and shown with a smiling face and wearing a very impressive dress. The deity is also shown wearing a necklace with a typical crown mostly seen in Kashmiri sculptures. The drapery covering the lower body of the sculpture does not pass through its shoulders, but passes beneath the chest of the deity within a series of folds and falls.”

“The carving and costumes of the sculpture is a pure reflection of Gandhara Art, and speaks high of the skilled craftsmanship of the ancient art of Kashmir,” the spokesman added.

He said, “The preliminary study of the sculpture dates the artifact between the sixth and seventh centuries AD and places it very near to the sculptures previously found at Bijbehara, Anantnag, Kashmir. This is the only kind of artifact found from the Lesser Kokernag area of south Kashmir so far and the presence of pottery in and around the village reveals that there had been some ancient settlements that requires further examination.”

“The State Archives Department appreciates the efforts of the police, particularly Kokernag police station, for the recovery of the artifact that shall be shortly on display in the SPS Museum, Srinagar, for the general public,” he said.

The department has appealed to the general public that whenever any treasure trove comes to their knowledge they should inform the department to ensure the safety and preservation of the cultural treasures of the state for the posterity.

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