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

Turning Scenary Lovers into Book Readers

But will the idea fly?

Kashmir tourist places may soon have library points

Sofi Imtiyaz (Rising Kashmir)

Ganderbal: Valley’s tourist places may soon be equipped with library facilities where domestic and foreign tourists can avail reading and other related facilities. The move follows after the department of libraries and research requested the State’s tourism department for providing of space at various tourist spots.

Few months back, Director Libraries and Research, Kashmir had shot a letter vide no: DL/Adm.Gen/(102)/08/382-83, dated: 18-06-2009 to Deputy Director Tourism for providing the department with space at tourist spots of the valley for opening of the libraries and reading rooms.

In response, Deputy Director Tourism vide communication no: Est/247/1376-81, dated: 03-07-2009 instructed the line staff for identification of space at the tourist spots. “All officers incharge of sub-ordinate Tourist Offices are accordingly informed to provide some space for opening of Libraries and Reading Room Centers,” the letter reads. The letter further states: “You (Director Libraries and Research) are accordingly requested to start opening of Book Points at the said places at an earliest.”

Some of the tourist spots where library points are expected to come up in first phase include Sonamarg, Manasbal, Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Tourist Reception Centre Srinagar, Kokernag, Achabal etc.

Further, Deputy Director Libraries and Research vide letter no: DDLK/Adm-OL/(118)/2001/671-76, dated: 31-07-2009 has conveyed to all district libraries for getting in touch with the officers of the tourist spot concerned in this regard.

“The library points and reading room centers will be equipped with books relating to history, geography, culture, tradition, society of Kashmir valley,” an official from the Library department said.

“It is an effort to attract more tourists so that not only should they enjoy the tourist place but also come to know about the rich culture and history of Kashmir,” said the official.

“We have established a hut at this natural resort and are waiting for the material and books to arrive,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Wullar-Mansabal Development Authority told Rising Kashmir.

The rent of the establishments will be fixed by the Government Rent Assessment Committee of the respective district.

“We are confronted with the problems of the lack of infrastructure, shortage of staff and other concerned things. We need at least one employee at every 14 spots for which we are waiting for the cabinet sanction,” Deputy Director Libraries and Research, Kashmir Bashir Ahmad Khan told Rising Kashmir over phone.

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