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.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

J&K Ranks Fourth From Bottom on the National Literacy Map

Strangely, Kashmir is also the place that spends the most per capita on private schools and colleges. Yet another proof that money cannot buy everything

J&K Ranks Fourth-last on the National Literacy Map

Shevali Raina (Kashmir Times)

Jammu: Despite the education department of Jammu and Kashmir experimenting with a number of specialised literacy and adult education programme to boost up the literacy level in the state, the fact remains the state finds itself among the bottom four states of India

With Jammu and Kashmir at 32nd rank out of the 35 states and union territories, it finds its place among the educationally backward states of the country.

Although, the education sector of the state has been claiming high that during tenth five year plan (2002- 2007), only 1519.60 crores of the total plan outlay of the state was earmarked for the education sector and for the 11th five year plan, only 2160.37 crores of total plan has been earmarked for the development of this vital sector.

Yet this silver lining gets eclipsed by the fact that as per the survey report on Literacy report 2008 conducted by the planning and development department of Directorate of Economics and Statistics, J&K’s position in the field of literacy, as compared to the other states is disappointing. The survey report clearly indicated that J&K lies among the bottom four states of India, that are educationally backward.

Infact in comparison to the neighbouring states, survey report on literacy quotes that Jammu and Kashmir lags far behind. In gender disparity also, Jammu and Kashmir is behind the national level and the level of its adjoining states. In comparison to Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir bagged the lowest point in terms of literacy rate.

On this note, the intellectual fraternity of the state commented that half- hearted implementation of schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, mid-day meal, adult education and so on would not serve the purpose of education unless they are implemented at the grass-root level.

Pointing out that state of Jammu and Kashmir has a peculiar topography; intellectual fraternity of the Jammu and Kashmir commented that it creates hindrance in achieving the desired goal of complete literacy. The network of school is spread sparsely in the far-flung areas and majority of the population living there encounters problems like access to institutions, lack of infrastructure, transport facility etc.

Educationists opine that the education department of the state should frame strong policies and implement them on ground level so that maximum people (specifically living in far-flung areas) can take benefit out of it. They also asserted that awareness among the masses is of much importance. Unless the masses are educated and know about the adversities of illiteracy, they cannot force their children to attend school and gain education.

Professor N.R. Sharma of Jammu University clearly stated that ignorance has been the pivotal reason behind the low-literacy rate in Jammu and Kashmir. “Thinking of the parents living in far-flung villages has not been widened so far.” Sharma said that less awareness among the masses regarding the importance of education has been the main reason of low-literacy rate.

He pointed out that although government has implemented schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, adult education and female education, the scheme will not prove successful until the thinking pattern of the parents living in far-flung areas changes.

Literacy rate sex wise comparison in respect of India, J&K and its adjoining states:


1. All India Level 75 54 65 21

2. J&K 67 43 56 24

3. Punjab 75 63 70 12

4. Himachal Pradesh 85 67 77 18

5. Haryana 79 56 68 23

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