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, January 28, 2010

Bangladeshis, not Kashmiris, are Finding Dignity in Capitalism

Can Kashmiris shake their "babu mentality" to go after entrepreneurship wherever it exists? Today it is garbage, tomorrow it may be something else

Unrelenting Bangladeshis Outdo SMC

Srinagar: While Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) lacks waste segregation facility and dumps garbage at its lone landfill site at Achen, it is Bangladeshi migrants who are reaping the benefit.

The industrious migrants not only rid city of tons of waste, much before SMC workers, in the morning, but they also stop usable items ruin that would otherwise end up at the landfill site.

“We always whine that there are no jobs. But see how they make money without any investment,” says a scrap dealer Mushtaq Ahmad, who receives most of the scrap collected by Bangladeshi rag pickers.

These migrants live near Noorjehan Bridge, locally Cement Kadal, and are earning through waste collection from various dumping site within the city.

Equipped with a cycle rickshaw, the migrants could be seen groping in heaps of garbage for cardboard sheets and boxes, transparent polythene sheets, plastic pet bottles, tin cans, glass bottles, iron scraps and nails, besides other things that are recyclable.

Ahmad says, “The Bangladeshis are highly industrious. In different localities, they work endlessly from early morning till late nights to collect waste.”
The segregation process is never a one-man-job. Rather the migrants involve entire family in the job.

“It is actually a family effort. We work on the collected material and segregate it later before we sell it to the scrap dealers in the city,” says a Bangladeshi worker Najmul (name changed on request).

He says that the entire family from children to women takes part in the process of collection and segregation.

“My wife, however, makes candies which she sells to the children in the community,” he says.

Najmul refused to divulge details on how he along with others landed up in the valley; however, he said Bangladeshis are everywhere in Kashmir and India.

“We have been frequenting various cities across India where we are engaged in low wage works that includes waste segregation and final recycling, but since no one segregates garbage here in the valley, the chances of collecting scrap is more,” he says.

Over the years, several families have settled here in the city and are enjoying waste collection throughout Kashmir.

(Rising Kashmir)

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