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 1, 2009

Not to Worry, Kashmir is no Gaza

After securing the elite spot of highest per capita VAT in the country, Kashmir adds to its laurels by consuming gold jewelry worth 800 crores annually

Kashmir imports Rs 20 crore gold packaging material for gold

Rashid Paul (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: Packaging material worth Rs 20 crores for gold items is imported annually into Kashmir from different Indian cities despite availability of locally made paper machie craft items.

There are some 5000 gold shops across Kashmir region and each shop on an average purchases packaging material worth Rs 40,000 annually said Showkat Hussain a noted gem and jewelry dealer. “Valley consumes gold items worth Rs 800 crores annually and is dependent on the covering stuff as well,” he told Rising Kashmir.

The owner of M/ S G M Gojwari Gem and Jewelries said ‘I introduced paper machie rectangular and cubicle encasings but customers were not inclined to this innovation. “It was disheartening to see that customers disdained locally made paper machie boxes and preferred glossy Chinese, Bombay and Delhi made packaging material.”

We are fast loosing our sense of belonging and commitment to our culture and crafts said Dr Tariq Ahmed, an economist. “The dependency syndrome has pervaded in to our psyche. We prefer outside products than locally made ones,” Tariq complained. If paper machie boxes and carry bags for jewelry items are encouraged Kashmir can save flight of capital worth cores of rupees. Acceptance for local products will also generate employment and revive our traditional crafts, the economist said.

Pushing local packaging stuff is up to gold dealers association. If they wish they can prevent outside wrappings and promote local manufactures. But they are least concerned about the well being of the Kashmiri society, said a gold merchant who wished not to be named.

When Rising Kashmir asked Bashir Ahmed Rather, the general secretary of the All Kashmir Gold Dealers and Workers Association to comment he said “It is Sunday. I have some social engagements we shall talk on the issue on the next working day.”

Owner of the Zeenat Ornaments from Karan Nagar area said if paper machie packaging is available at prices not exceeding the prevailing encasings then the former is a good idea. Paper machie has aesthetic value and will promote local art, he added.

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