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.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Services Cricket Team's Behavior was Most Unsportsmanlike

Yusuf, being both a sports coach and a sports lover, is doubly hurt and his raw emotion is showing

(Mr. Mohammad Yusuf, 56, was born in the Dalgate area of Srinagar. He attended Government Schools in Drugjan, Sonawar, and Batwara, all in Srinagar, and completed his college studies at the Sri Partap College, Srinagar. Following his graduation, he briefly attended the University of Kashmir, and in 1980, joined the Physical Education Department of the University of Kashmir. Mr. Yusuf teaches aquatics and adventure sports (swimming, mountaineering, snow and water skiing, rafting, parasailing, skating, kayaking, canoeing, etc.) and has won many local sports trophies. He has led many exploration expeditions in Kashmir, and is the Treasurer of the Winter Sports Association of Jammu and Kashmir, General Secretary of J&K Aero Sports Association and the J&K Ski & Mountaineering Association, Secretary of Srinagar Winter Sports Association, and Vice President of the J&K Yoga Association. In his leisure time, Mr. Yusuf engages in social work, gardening and writing.)

Ranji Trophy Row - Nothing but Prejudice

This is in reference to news regarding refusal by Services Cricket Team to play Ranji Trophy match in Srinagar. It is most unfortunate that the Services Cricket team did not play the match in Srinagar. The entire sports fraternity of J&K was shocked and thus condemns this act. Every sportsperson of the state was stunned on learning that the team did not turn up at S.K. Cricket Stadium.

They should have informed the organizers and BCCI about their withdrawal early in view of threat perception so avoid huge financial loss to the JKCA. We fail to understand what made the Services Team to stay back. They were not perhaps prepared to play the match and thus made the lame excuse of security arrangements. Pertinently the state hosted a number of sporting events at national and international levels in Kashmir valley this year which include Global Derby and National Snow Rugby Championships at Gulmarg in winter, International Rafting Championship at Sonamarg by Tourism Department , National School Games (Cricket) by Youth Services Department, National Police Water Sports Meet by J&K Police, All India Inter-varsity Kayaking and Canoeing Championship by Kashmir University, Greater Kashmir Golf Championship, Ambassadors’ Golf Championship and many other major events.

Surprisingly the North Zone Inter-University Football (Men) Tournament is in progress at Kashmir University Campus these days in which twenty two teams of different Universities of north India are participating. All the participants of these prestigious championships were roaming freely and without any fear or threat. None of the participants was given security cover. The S.K. Cricket Stadium is fully sensitized and is always highly guarded by Para military forces. It is located in high security zone. On its north is the Ram Munshi Bagh Police Station is situated. On the southern and western sides, all the important Ministers of J&K State reside in their Bungalows. On the eastern side the Amar Singh Club makes a garrison of Para military forces. The S.K Cricket Stadium is near Badami Bagh Cantonment (Army Headquarters), thereby leaving least chances of security lapses.

We highly appreciate the Indian Police teams who boldly came forward and took part in Police Water Sports Meet here in summer. The refusal of Services team has sent a bad message and hurt the sentiments of local sports fraternity in general and Cricketers in particular. It was nothing but the expression of hatred against Kashmiri people. The report given by Union Defence Ministry could not convince any Kashmiri. We appreciate the BCCI for banning the team for rest of the Ranji Trophy matches. They should have in fact given them more severe punishment so that no such dramas are repeated in future. The step taken by Dr. Farooq Abdullah, President of JKCA against Services Team is laudable. His expression of anger was touching. The JKCA must stick to its decision and not accept any explanation from Services Sports Control Board. The State Government must also impose ban to Services Team to play any match in Srinagar vicinity in future. The displeasure expressed by Union Home Minister is highly appreciating. The JKCA must desist from asking Services Cricket Team to tender apology. Every Kashmiri is emotionally hurt. So no compromise please.

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