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, November 5, 2009

Pain and Anguish

Rashid adds his voice to those worried about Kashmir's worsening environment

We and Our Environment

Syed Adfar Rashid Shah (Watlar, Ganderbal)

One fine morning, I was on my way to Research Centre, on the way I came across a rally of school children shouting environment friendly slogans. I observed all the children were happy and overwhelmed to participate in the rally. Their concern was personified from their banners and their slogans. They were worried about their environment. They were anger but failed to express their anguish. They were annoyed not with themselves but with adults and grown ups who have turned indifferent and callous towards the environment.

They were resentful towards the authorities and law regulating agencies which only framed only laws but never care for their implementation. They were anger with media which they believe isn’t working properly and not forcing the government to practice what they preach. They are anguished with so called civil society which always holds seminars and symposiums but never work to put in practice the findings of those seminars.

Recently our Srinagar Municipal imposed the ban of the use, sales and manufacture of the polythene. The agencies were active in enforcing the ban and within weeks it was declared polythene free zone. For few days the corporation was proactive seizing the polythene bags from markets and shopkeepers.

But now wherever we turn our eyes polythene is seen. The declaration that the polythene is banned has fallen on ground. Every vendor, shopkeepers are using polythene bags. Even in marriage ceremony the use of the polythene hasn’t been stopped. The question is where from this polythene comes. If corporation is to be believed they have formed market regulating agencies and market checking squads then how come the polythene is used. Where have these squads gone and importantly what are they doing.

Everyone is worried about the sad plight of Dal and other water bodies but neither government nor the civil society is doing anything.

We present papers at national and international conferences and scream from the top of our lungs about the deteriorating condition of our environment yet no ice seems to break. We have Wular, Anchar and Nigeen lakes and numerous other resources but all are facing the threat due to illegal constructions and encroachments. We are to be hold responsible and accountable for the degradation of our environment. We have a role in forest depletion, pollution, and global warming and climatic change.

Our state is in sorry state of affairs. If something won’t be done, our environment and surrounding will be lost forever. Bans wont do us good unless people aren’t are sensitized about the environment nothing is going help us.

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