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.

Friday, November 13, 2009

In Afghanistan it was Taliban, in Kashmir it is the State Government

Will the Buddha Statue in Sanko (Zanskar) go the Bamiyaan way?

Tallest Buddha sculpture at Sanko crying for attention

Irfan Naveed (Kashmir Images)

Srinagar: The tallest statues of Buddha at Bamiyan in the Hazara province of Afghanistan have been lost forever, but Jammu and Kashmir can still pride itself for having a really tall statue of Buddha carved out of a rock in Sanko in Zanskar sub-division of Ladakh region.

It is a crowned Buddha which has been carved from a high rock. It measures 25ft in length and symbolizes the ancient Buddhist art of Kashmir.

Experts say that the 7th century AD statue has been the tallest Buddha sculpture of Kashmir and may be the only of its kind found in the entire South Asia region.
“It is interesting to note that the early sculptures of Buddha found in Kashmir are very much influenced by the local art,” experts say, adding “the sculpture found at Sanko is one such sculpture which bears a strong Kashmir influence.”

The Buddha in this sculpture has been shown wearing three peaked crown which is adorned with beads of stone jewellery. This tradition was earlier cultivated in the sculpture art of the Valley, Says Iqbal Ahmed, an expert.

“These traditions later on influenced the sculpture of other countries particularly at places wherever Kashmiri craftsmen went.

However, as has been the unfortunate story of most of other archeological sites and artifacts, the Buddha’s sculpture at Sanko too is in utter neglect and experts warn that if steps for its conservation are not taken at an earliest “we too may lose this highest sculpture of Ladakh, and with it the world would lose a remnant of the type of Buddha statues we have already lost in 2001 in Bamiyaan.”

It may be mentioned here that in March 2001, the Taliban, who that time ruled Afghanistan, destroyed the two massive Buddha statues in Bamiyan with dynamite despite strong condemnation by the world and even Muslim countries.

The statues were destroyed on 8th and 9th of March, 2001 and ironically the demolition saw the beginning of Taliban fall in Afghanistan.

This crime against culture was committed while all the world's voices were raised to prevent it. The Taliban paid no attention to the unprecedented international protests, nor of the conflicting views expressed by the highest religious authorities of Islam.

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