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 6, 2009

Unrealized Expectations

Khayal's heart is in the right place, but it seems that his head is full of ideas still evolving. Otherwise, why would he equate terrorism with "discomfort?"

(Mr. Ghulam Nabi Khayal, 70, was born in Srinagar. He received his schooling and college education in Srinagar, and completed his Masters degree in English. Mr. Khayal is considered a doyen among Kashmiiri journalists, having worked for both Indian and international newspapers like the Statesman, India Today, the Guardian, Voice of America, and others. He is also a topnotch Kashmiri writer having bagged numerous awards at local, national and international levels, including the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in 1975. Mr. Khayal has published 24 books in Kashmiri, Urdu and English languages. He is the owner of a journal, Voice of Kashmir, published weekly from Srinagar.)


Kashmir is one of the few states in this region which has in abundance natural resources pretty enough to make it a self sufficient and prosperous area.

A conservative survey done a few years ago by some private economic researched revealed, that the fully developed sectors of agriculture, horticulture, tourism, floriculture and, more over, tremendous scope of generation of 16,000 Mega watts of hydro-electricity, shall make Kashmir economically surplus and it wouldn’t be in need of any funding from outside.

Unfortunately all these sectors, the back bone our progress and prosperity have not been developed due to an unabated corrupt system which has taken deep roots in our social set up, particularly with the state administration. The successive governments have always been at the doors of New Delhi with a begging bowl without striving honestly for a significant progress also in the sectors which can earn foreign exchange of billions of rupees for Kashmir.

In this context whenever Kashmir is brought into focus on national level, the Central government glorifies its exorbitant financial assistance provided to the State during the last 62 years. No doubt, New Delhi has been very gracious in giving huge sums of money to this State, but no serious or meaningful thought has ever been given to eradicate the root cause which has plunged the State into the darkness of political instability, uncertainty and the devil of insecurity haunting every human soul across the Valley.

Omar Abdullah, who seems to have become a seasoned politician in a very short period of time, well versed with the ground realities, therefore categorically stressed the need, at a rally addressed by prime minister Manmohan Singh in south Kashmir 28 October that a permanent political solution of the Kashmir is essential for the people to get rid form the shadow of the gun. He also asserted that 21 years ago Kashmiri youth didn’t pick up gun for money but for political reasons.
his expression of the bitter truth needs to be appreciated.

One Cannot question the sincerity of both Manmohan Singh and Omar Abdullah as far as their humane intentions for the uplift of the people of Kashmir are concerned, but as Omar said rightly unless the Kashmir problem is not resolved once and for all, these intensions shall necessarily be sidelined and the political upheaval shall always get better of every good and reasonable thinking.

As far as the permanent resolution of the dispute is concerned, there are numerous ifs and buts which make the problem more complicated and also confusing. On one side, prime minister offers olive branch to Pakistan. On the other, the most affected Kashmir Valley observes a total shutdown in protest against his Kashmir visit.

India’s pre condition for reopening of a dialogue is subject to curbing of terrorism in Pakistan which directly or indirectly causes discomfort to India. Pakistan repeats its stand that terrorism should not be bracketed with Indo-Pak talks.

The people of frontier region of Ladakh over here ask for a union territory status, and there are voices raised in Jammu demanding a separate statehood. Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Omar Farooq of the now Ineffective Hurriyat Conference strongly plead for continuance of militancy and constant use of gun in Kashmir, but for Pakistan, Geelani forgets his own diktat when he asks Taliban to shun the gun and violence and strive peacefully to achieve their goal. The Hurriyat claims to be the sole representative body of Kashmir hypocritically brushing aside the political existence of the National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, the Congress, the Ladakh Hill development Council, Jammu, and scores of smaller pro-India groups. So, who represents Kashmir and where is the meeting point?

The APHC now thrives on routine statements given casually by some foreign powers or personalities including a non-entity like Muammar Al-Gaddafi and the Turkish authorities forgetting that they have their own agenda and don’t want to offend a mighty India or cause any embarrassment to their well established diplomatic relationship with New Delhi. On its own, the Hurriyat is groping in dark in its divided house along with those of its “senior” leaders whom not even their neighbours knew till 20 years go. Are they going to be the political leaders of tomorrow’s Kashmir. Impossible. Whatever brunt of agonies and unprecedented miseries the Kashmiri nation has borne during the last four centuries and especially for the past 20 years in particular, it has never compromised with any local nuisance or foreign dominance.

As of now, if an impartial plebiscite is held in Jammu & Kashmir, which seems a far off dream not to come true, the majority of the Kashmiris might opt for an independent status, Jammu and Ladakh shall prefer to remain in India. Pakistan Administered Kashmir (POK) shall like to be independent and Gilgit-Baltistan also going the same way. But who will accept this solution wholeheartedly. It has been proved beyond any doubt that the estranged India and Pakistan who have turned bitterest foes for each other, are surprisingly, most united on one point; to oppose the demand for an independent Kashmir.

On the Indian side, it is futile to reiterate that POK and the people in Gilgit-Baltistan shall choose to accede with India. Pakistan is never going to part with these strategic regions and it is in this background that Islamabad has almost annexed its Northern areas gradually making them into the fifth province of that country. Similarly, Pakistan’s repeatedly shouting on top of its voice that Kashmir is its jugular vein and that Pakistan would remain incomplete without this State, both these claims are political jugglery and nothing else. New Delhi shall also have to demonstrate great amount of flexibility while asserting that Kashmir is an integral part of the Indian union.

The Hurriyat shall have to be recast itself with a batch of effective, educated and dedicated workers, not leaders, to ponder over a solution for Kashmir which shall not cause any sense of victory or defeat to India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris. How long will their meaningless press statements and calls for illogical strikes allure the humiliated people of Kashmir whom they are still treating as dumb driven cattle preventing them from speaking out the truth with threats posed to them from time to time.

Finally, it is the say of the people which prevails; it is their desire which is persistent and it is their desire which lasts much longer than any other disposition of the complex issues. History might forgive perpetrators, but it doesn’t forget them and, as Goethe has said “history digests every thing but at appropriate time it vomits all those things out.”

No comments: