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, September 21, 2009

Natural Springs of Zainpura

Iqbal provides a historical perspective of Zainpura village situated on the Anantnag-Shopian road and about 11 kilometers from Bijbehara

(Mr. Iqbal Ahmad, 48, was born in Parigam Chek, Kulgam. He is a graduate with Diploma in Numismatics, Archaeology and Heritage. He is an archaeologist, writer, and a cultural historian. He is employed by the Jammu and Kashmir State Government. Mr. Iqbal Ahmad has published 12 reference books on Kashmir archaeology and heritage.)

Preserve Natural Springs

This is an old Kashmiri proverb which is often spoken in south Kashmir, it means that sources of one place, instead of its own people are being utilized by others. In fact about 360 springs of fresh water are recorded in varies traditions to had been rising from the village Zainpura-Pulwama, and instead of irrigating the lands of its own village have been irrigating the lands of Safnagar which is below Zaiapora. As such all the water flows to the lower villages. The village lands are flourished on plateaus and uplands while the springs rise from their feet’s. Despite of its number of rising springs, the village’s lands had to face water shortages and the fresh waters of its springs used to irrigate the lands of Safanagar (a village below Zainpura). In this context the old saying mentioned above, suits well to these springs.

Zainpura, a famous village of south Kashmir is also known for its various qualities of apple and flower plants. The village had got a good mention in historical annuals too. It is situated on the Anantnag-Shopian road about 11 km from the historical town of Bijbehara towards its western direction. The village is said to had been founded by Zain-ul-Abidine a famous Sultan of Kashmir on his own name in early 15th Century AD. He had laid several gardens and constructed few beautiful houses with in his gardens. The Sultan not only visited the villa but also stayed for several years in this village. He is believed to have also built a royal place in Zainpura. Sultan Hussain Shah Chak (1562-69) who was succeeded by Ali Shah in 1569 AD is said to had left Srinagar and spent his lost exile day at Zainapura, the Sultan later breathed his lost in the village.

Despite of their historical events attached with this village the place was never explored. Although the village at some times incidentally exposed few antiquities of its glorious past. The Shahli Wooder (one of the plateaus so named) still possesses the traces of the Bad Shah canal, which the Sultan constructed here. He used earthen pipes at required spots of the canal, few years back during a digging near Zainsuith (the name of the canal built by Badshah) a beautiful stone sculpture made its appearance. It was identified Dashavtara (a Siva incarnation) the sculpture was brought to Srinagar ad housed in Sri Pratab Singh Museum. The sculpture is dated to 9th Century AD which clearly speaks of artistic activities of Zainpura period to Badshah'’ period.

`There are few sites of the village still pronounced by their earlier names, on the plateau of Shahli Wooder a spot is known by the earlier name of Razdani, revealed a local Master Ji, he said, `it is widely believed here that the spot might had been earlier occupied by royal houses of Sultan Badshah.’ The Sultan also believed to have built a big house for Sheikh Shamad-ud-Din Baghdadi (RA) a famous spiritual saint of his times. Of the old glorious constructions, the shrine of this saint is well preserved here.

No remnants of any other ancient structure or site are visible on the ground surface of any wooder, however, a Mughal period graveyard in neglected condition is seen in the feet’s of Shahli Wooder one of the grave’s inscription reads Zilhaj 1120 which correspondence to the reign of Muhammad Muzam Qutub-ud-Din. The inscription on the other side reads Ya Gaffar Guffura in Arabic.

The village of its historical and water resource significance needs proper exploration and archaeological survey so that the more traces of Zain-ul-Abidine’s period are brought to light and 360 springs as recorded in various traditions to had been once rising here are searched. These days only few springs are seen rising from the village lands, which included the war nag and most famous Nilnag. These springs where well preserved till Pandiths lived here, claim few locals , they say that these pandiths used to take care of these springs , howevere , with the migration of pandiths, the springs of the village also got neglected. Most neglected has become the Nilnag. During my visit to this spring I could also see the Nilnag was in utter neglect.

It has become a waste dumping pond where I saw the branches and stems of Chinars occuping its floor and banks. One is unable to understand that on one side crores of rupees are being yearly spent on tube well and lift irrigation schemes to provided irrigation and drinking water facilities to the people, but on the other hand the water sources bestowed by nature to this glorious valley are not taken care of. It is not at Zainapora , that one can see the kashmeri springs in neglected condition ,it is every where that village springs are not taken care of. We should preserve all the springs included that of village Zaninpora. Let these springs, then continue to irrigate the lands of Safnagar village.

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