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, October 15, 2009

The Besieged Hangul

Nature's Gift, Man's Folly

Experts Need to Come Together for Conserving Wildlife, Ecology: Governor

Abrar Lone (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: The three-day International Conference on “Conservation of Hangul and Endangered Deer Species” concluded here on Monday, 12 October 2009, with the Governor, N. N. Vohra, Chief Guest at the valedictory session.

The Conference was organized by the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir (SKUAST-K) in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, and the State Wildlife Protection Department.

The Governor, who is also the Chancellor of the University, addressing the valedictory session, said that Jammu and Kashmir has a fragile environment and gave a clarion call to the environmentalists, conservationists and experts to come together for preserving, conserving and sustaining the environment, ecology, fauna and flora and water bodies in the State. He expressed serious concern over the growing shrinkage of glaciers, forest cover and water bodies and near extinction of many wildlife species and stressed that if this trend is not reversed the very survival of mankind could be in danger.

Referring to Hangul, the Governor observed that heavy human biotic interference led to decrease in its numbers and now Hangul is among the critically endangered species, like Markhor, Himalayan Bear, and Musk Deer. He called for taking all possible measures for its protection, conservation and propagation. He said that along with the statutory and punitive provisions, greater awareness needs to be created among the people at large in regard to Hangul conservation.

The Governor said that Jammu and Kashmir has been gifted by nature with enchanting natural beauty and hoped that at least some of the participants in the Conference would visit some of the tourist spots in and around Srinagar.

The Governor, on the occasion, released a publication brought out by the SKUAST titled “Endangered Wetlands of Kashmir Valley”.

The Vice Chancellor, SKUAST-K, Prof. Anwar Alam, said that 150 scientists from within and outside the country had deliberated upon the subject during the past three days. He called for people’s participation to conserve Hangul and put forth several suggestions for the purpose and said that carrying capacity of Hangul habitats should be improved by taking various scientific measures.

The Vice Chancellor said that the recommendations presented by the Chairmen of various technical sessions will be brought out in the form of a compendium.

Earlier, in his welcome address, the Director, Resident Instruction/Dean Post-Graduate Studies, SKUAST-K, Prof. Syed Sajjad Hussain, gave a resume of the deliberations of the Conference.

The Organizing Secretary of the Conference, Dr. Khursheed Ahmad presented vote of thanks.

The Chairmen of the five technical sessions of the Conference presented the recommendations of the respective sessions on the occasion.

The experts recommended that for the conservation of Hangul, a separate disease diagnosis centre, post mortem lab and other necessities need to be established handled by trained veterinarians.

President Association of Indian Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians and principal scientist wildlife, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Prof. B.M Arora while talking to Rising Kashmir on the sidelines of the function said that breeding, captive management, cloning and health care can result in a vibrant population of reproductively healthy animals with a better sex and female fawn ratio. “Animal specialists should be included in the rescue team of the wildlife department so that the animals could be protected,” he added. The experts blamed the encroachment of humans a major cause for the extinction of wildlife.

The Director, WWF Central Asian Program, Dr. Olga Pereladova meanwhile recommended for according priority to health management of wild animals. “Similarly, identification of separate pastures besides providing a special protection in ecological corridors is also important,” he said.

Prominent among those present at the valedictory function were the Commissioner/Secretary Forests, Shantmanu, participants of the Conference from within and outside the country, faculty members of the SKUAST, scholars, students and senior officers.

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