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

Resurrecting a Colonial Garden

Resident’s Garden to bloom again

New attraction includes Kehwa Khana, fountains, benches

Srinagar: The State Floricultural Department is aggressively revamping the ‘Resident’s Garden’ now Emporium Garden at New Zero Bridge established by Britishers some 100 years back.

The 1.82 crore rupees project, according to officials of department, is aimed at renovating some of the garden structures besides securing safety of a wide range of rare and vibrant plants.

“There are many plant varieties that are unique. Even some varieties are foreign which are present in this garden,” Director Floriculture, G Sarwar Naqash told Rising Kashmir.

Spread at 10 acres, the garden established in 1905 was a part of the then British Resident’s dwelling when it was laid first. And the plant species in the garden were introduced by Britishers from time which saw many plantings succeeding in getting acclimatized to the weather and soil.

Naqash said, “The purpose is not only to maintain the old plants here but to propagate them further." The official said that the department intends to plant exclusive varieties within the 10-acre-garden to make it unique and different from the routine gardens present here.

“It is an ambitious overhaul. We also intend to repair some of the heritage gates and adjoining structures that lead to this garden. We also aim to set up a mini museum where a Kahwa Khana would always serve the visitors,” he added.

Apart from attracting non-local tourists the garden is expected to draw locals as well who could come upon several never-seen-before foreign plants.

The varieties include Ginkgo Biloba—a Chinese plant variety, Laurus Nobilis (Tej Pata)—that only grows in plains, species of Taxodium besides various other foreign plant varieties.

Two new fountains with lighting and a podium will also come up as a new feature in the garden.

(Rising Kashmir)

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