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.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wanted: Jobs

Shakeel-ur-Rehman discusses rampant joblessness in an area flaunting wealth

(Syed Shakeel-ul-Rehman, 32, was born in Qazipora, Tangmarg. He did his schooling at the Government Middle School in Katipora and at the Government Higher Secondary School in Chandilora, both in the Tangmarg Tehsil. He graduated in Social Work from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), being the first Kashmiri student to graduate with that major. He subsequently did his post graduate diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from the same University. He has taken specialized courses in computer hardware and software technology. He worked as a columnist and correspondent for the Greater Kashmir daily newspaper until 2005 and is currently the Opinion Editor of the Kashmir Images daily newspaper. He also anchors Doordharshan Kendra Srinagar's live phone-in show called, "Hello DD" since April 2005. Mr. Shakeel-ur-Rehman holds the distinction of having interviewed prominent personalities in all major fields and walks of life, probably more than any other Kashmiri journalist.)

Wanted Jobs

Given the situation in the job market out here, most of the Kashmiri youth are forced by circumstances to take up occupations which are rarely up to their satisfaction. It is no secret that unemployment in a place leads to wasting of valuable human resource.

The problem with our system is that it is flawed. Our educational institutions unfortunately still follow the pattern devised by Lord Macualay which was intended to produce clerks. This system has become obsolete and needs an urgent overhaul. While the government should take up the overhauling job, the youth on their part should enroll in some classes imparting professional knowledge or work part time to gain experience.

Unemployment is a grave curse. If we look at the situation in Kashmir, the problem of joblessness would look bleaker than otherwise projected. The problem of unemployment has in a way aggravated over the years. The valuable human resource is not being put to proper use. This is pure wasting of the youthful energy.
The non utilization of human resource capital that we have available in our state has resulted in adversity, poverty, slow rate of economic growth and a general restlessness in the society. According to one analysis by the year 2010 over 60 per cent of the unemployed will come from the educated class. So far the majority of the unemployed labour force has been educated or semi literate that is absorbed mainly by the public sector enterprises or in agriculture.

Unless the government changes its strategy, the educated unemployed would be the single largest causality of the new millennium. Admittedly, one of the basic factors for the growing joblessness in the state is the unchecked growth in population. The teeming population means more mouths to feed and more hands to seek jobs. So apart from addressing the problem of growing population, the powers that be also need to address the attendant problem of joblessness.

Another important way of addressing the growing joblessness is to drastically overhaul the existing system of education. As a matter of fact today’s educational system has lost its relevance because it fails to conform to the requirements in the present scenario. New teaching techniques have to be introduced with emphasis on practical training. Through such training, students would gain an in depth knowledge of the subject and would also gain confidence once they venture into the job market.
Apart from acquiring practical skills, the youth should try to start business ventures of their own. Setting up one’s own business would help solve unemployment problem in Kashmir in a big way. But for this to actually materialize, our banks will have to come forward. In the past couple of years what we have seen is that most of our lending institutions didn’t come forward with proper lending facility. If this aspect of the problem is also addressed besides other responsible factors, Kashmir’s jobless would surely find some work.

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